The Shield

"...let the whole town see my crown."

- Silver

Out in time for Christmas, my present to everyone - a sack of heavy tunes and not a lump of coal in sight! Glad to be able to get this one uploaded before a few days of lie-ins, nice food, and putting the day job out of my mind. Wrap up warm, turn the volume up, and check it...


Illegal ft. Erick Sermon : We Getz Buzy

Get well Erick Sermon! The Funk Lord smashes it on this 93 low-slung headnodder, with the beat centred around that basic but undeniable bassline and then dropping in to contribute a quick verse at the end. The headliners though are the then-child MCs Jamal and Mr Malik, who go at pretty much every underage MC who was out at the time! They'd have ripped Soulja Boy a new one, that's for sure. Killer tune from their "The Untold Truth" album which is worth hearing for the excellent 90s production if nothing else!

[M-Boogie] Buckshot : The Real (Instrumental)

One of those singles you buy on spec on the strength of the personnel but which never seems to see the light of day once it gets home! Thought I'd include it here because for every tune someone thinks average, there's someone who thinks it's amazing and has probably been looking for it for ages :) For me, solid, not spectacular, but fit the space here nicely.

J-Zone : Root For The Villain (excerpt)

Just a short clip from the exclusive cassette audiobook of the brilliant J-Zone book; read it this month and enjoyed every page. Recommended - get yours here or here!

Jay-Z & Kanye West : New Day

I definitely think "Watch The Throne" was overrated (here's what my "Watch The Throne EP" would have had on it), but this was one of the tracks I think deserved the praise. Of course, that means it has zero chance of being a single. RZA, Kanye and Mike Dean craft a reflective track which perfectly fits the theme of two men speaking to their unborn sons. Great heartfelt, grown-man lyrics - love it. This is the kind of track your "Young/Yung <whoever>" rappers could never write.

Special Teamz ft Devin The Dude : Long Time Comin

After hearing the similarity in the first two beats between this and "New Day," there was no way I wasn't playing it this episode! Special Teamz is the combination of Edo G, Slaine & Jaysaun, a Boston supergroup if you will. All of them are no-frills on the mic and they pass the hook duties over to the underrated Houston legend Devin The Dude - can't help but smile when you hear his voice! This is from their 2007 album "Stereotypez" which is worth a listen if you see it around! Production by Xplicit, who slipped under my radar a little but has some decent credits. Hell, he did a beat for Large Pro!

Cesar Comanche ft. Eternia : Up And Down

One of the original Justus League MCs, Cesar is just one of those low-key, consistent guys who you know is never going to drop foolishness on the mic. Positive, uplifting lyrics alongside Eternia on this 2005 12", and 9th Wonder is on production with his signature style. Vinyl collectors should look at getting this partly for this track but also for the ill B-side "Jacob's Ladder," produced by Nicolay - very nice.

Analog Brothers : Perms, Baldheads, Afros, & Dreds

Not in any way connected to the fact I watched and loved Chris Rock's "Good Hair" this month! The Analog Brothers were a one-album combination of Ice-T, Kool Keith, Marc Live, Black Silver and Pimp Rex - and that "Pimp To Eat" album is one you want to get if you like the crazy Octagon-style flow, pimp talk, futuristic references and keyboard bass! There were other tracks that grabbed me first but when the lightbulb went on with this one it became the absolute favourite.

Oddisee : Curl

DMV native Oddisee is someone I became familiar with via his work with guys like Kev Brown, but I only found the album this came from ("Oddisee West Coast Beats") while browsing Bandcamp looking for beats! The whole album is dripping with West Coast funk flavour, Zapp samples and all, and for only a minimum price of $1, I'd consider it an essential purchase - probably will sound better in the summer though :)

Stevie Wonder : Have A Talk With God

What can you say? It's Stevie Wonder, the legend! Love the keyboard flavour on this, taken from the massive "Songs In The Key Of Life" album. That album is testament to taking your time to get things just right; it was supposed to come out much earlier than it did but it was held up basically until Stevie felt it was done. If it had met the deadline, would it still be a classic?

Geto Boys ft. 3-2 : Straight Gangstaism

Big shout to Selina of Jelly Empire for sorting me out with a copy of this; I just couldn't get hold of a copy in the UK fast enough to ensure I could include it this month! This is from that weird period where Scarface left the Geto Boys, and was replaced by Big Mike. With him taking the first two verses and 3-2 taking the closer, many people wouldn't immediately recognise this as a Geto Boys tune at all unless they knew it! Not sure exactly who produced it, but a look on Discogs suggests a combination of Mike Dean, Bido, NO Joe and Tony Randle. Dope anyway.

Pusha T : My God

The beat is from Hit-Boy, who was also responsible for one of my most hated songs of the last year at least - "...Paris" from Watch The Throne. Hated it. Credit where it's due though, he brings it heavy on this track with that military-style drumline and when the church organs crackle into life it's a wrap. On the mic is the younger half of Clipse, who may not be in line for NAACP Image Awards anytime soon but has rhymes for days and days. Recent track this one, only released this year as Pusha's first solo piece - heard it when it came out and then on the "Fear Of God II : Let Us Pray" mixtape; definitely the standout on there.

Leftfield ft. Nicole Willis : Swords

I was one of those people who didn't like the "Rhythm & Stealth" LP as much as "Leftism," but this track here was a phenomenal standout. Leftfield have been in trouble more than once for the volume of their live shows, so in tribute crank this one all the way up! PS - interesting video concept too...

[Buckwild] O.C. : Burn Me Slow (Inst)

DITC action here on the lead track from the "Still Diggin' Composition EP," nice piano beat from Buckwild - unfortunately you miss out on O.C's lyrics here, but all the more reason to go and find a copy...

Co$$ : Kill 'Em All

I first got up on Co$$ after hearing him on "Pay The Co$$" on Exile's "Dirty Science" album, which was one of my favourite cuts on that project. Since then I've been following him via his Facebook Page and when I saw he had done a digital release of his "Instrument Of Emotion" album, I grabbed myself a copy for a bargain $3! Coming out of Leimert Park, Los Angeles (same area as Dom Kennedy, to name one), he's part of the new wave of Cali MCs emerging in recent years - keep an eye on him.

Rise : Do You Know Him?

I know very little about Rise other than the fact that he's certainly benefited from getting DJ Spinna beats in the past and he does so again here - cheeky lyrics on the braggadocio tip, definitely entertaining. I'd recommend picking this up but I'd never seen it before until I chanced on it on a record-shopping trip to London - there may not be many copies of this 12" floating around!

Asaviour ft. Kyza & Yungun : Money In The Bank (Remix)

Undeniably classic British 12"! I think of this as being "recent" (well, ish) but it's a 2004 track - always up for playing it though! Asaviour's a Yorkshire-born MC who came through Manchester and finally relocated to London, working with guys like Manchester's own Microdisiacs along the way. Here he throws down with Terra Firma's Kyza and the always-welcome Yungun on a heavy Jehst beat, with DJ IQ bringing the cuts. Sampling "Top Billin'" will never get old. 

[Memo] Rasco : Gunz Still Hot (Remix Instrumental)

Just a nice headnodder, it doesn't hide from what is is! The vocal version has a Boston connection with Edo G and Reks both guesting alongside San Francisco's Rasco. B-side dopeness on the flip of the "Thin Line" single.

Eazy-E ft. Atbann Klann, Buckwheat, & Menajahwta : Merry Muthafuckin' Xmas

I hate most Christmas songs. This time of year though, there's no escaping them - every shop, on TV, on the radio, they keep coming back like some kind of chronic illness. At a time like this, there's no option but to reach for a Christmas song that offends everyone else. Only the late Eazy-E could give you a song like this! The final track on the "5150 : Home 4 Tha Sick," Eazy and friends give you a medley of filthy festive lyrics. Oh, and Atbann Klann? They must have suffered an allergic reaction and became...

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!

Direct download: Episode_31.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00pm EST


"When I walk through I set off all sprinkler systems..."

- Trife

Two and a half years of episodes in the can now! Grateful to still have an audience after all this time :) This month I've got a few left-field unexpected picks, some stuff you won't know (yes, you), and some old favourites including a track by the late, great Heavy D who passed on November 8th.

In other news...

Catch me at the Badman Ting Charity Fundraiser on December 9th - it's mostly a D&B affair but in the back room I'll be doing a Hip-Hop set alongside some great DJs, and also donating a print of one of my photos as a prize for the tombola - please give generously :)

Shout out to Watch Deez - as I say on the voiceover, his new "Dream With Open Eyes" tape is a nice relaxing collection - have a listen here!


Ghostface Killah & Trife : Fire

Big favourite from the "Put It On The Line" LP. The opening voice sample sets it off and the escalating guitar sample works brilliantly underneath the lyrics. Not much else to say about this one, except I've been waiting ages to get it in at the start of an episode and other things kept taking its place - not this time though!

[Alchemist] Poverty : Life Sucks (Instrumental)

One of those random 12"s I picked up because it was cheap and the production credit looked interesting! It didn't jump me out of my seat, but on the vocal version Poverty definitely does his thing - you just have to be in the right mood for it! I didn't know much about him at all, but he hails from Portland, ME and had a hard time - living on the streets and in shelters - before getting his break. The beat is from Alchemist, who is a master of the dark style and so hits the mark here when it comes to matching the theme.

J-Zone : Bling Around The Collar (Fake Gold Chain)

For me, one of the biggest, most entertaining personalities in Hip-Hop - but don't get confused by the humour, the lyrical skill and musical quality is always on point. He goes biographical on this one with a classic tale about coming out in fake jewellery back in the days, on top of a crazy piece of sample work; there's just no-one who makes beats like him. This is taken from the "$ick Of Bein' Rich" album, another quality Zone release. I just realised this was a 2003 record, which is crazy as I still bump it like it came out last week!

Wreckonize : Who's The Man?

From Miami, and with some bass, but not Miami Bass, comes the energetic Wreckonize. While looking up background info, I found out he was actually born in London but has been in the US since childhood, so any trace of a British accent is long gone! DJ Spinna on the production for this one - I shouldn't have to say any more, your ears will tell you all you need to know.

Heavy D & The Boyz : Who's The Man?

Same title, different tune - probably my favourite from the late, great Heavy D, an early 90s jeep-rattler of a track. The man from Mount Vernon flows with confidence with that unmistakeable voice, and Tony Dofat provides the production to go along with it. Like the next track in selection, I remember this one from the days in Leeds listening to the guys on pirate radio playing the quality stuff - was glad to get a vinyl of it a while back. RIP Dwight Myers.

Black Moon : Who Got The Props? (MW Smooth Mix)

Brooklyyyyyyn! The original version of this track was one of the most "what the hell was THAT?!" tunes from my teenage years when the man P-Wiz first played it on Supreme Radio in Leeds, and when I eventually found out the title I bought it the second the import 12" became available. Even though my funds were limited, and at £7.49 it was damn near the cost of an album, it was a must-own and remains so. The B-side was "F*** It Up" but the final B-side track was this remix, taking the same underlying sample but switching the drums. Evil Dee did the original and he (along with the rest of the group) actually hate this remix, which was done by Mike Weiss (owner of Nervous Records) and Schlomo. The original is definitely better to my ears but I don't mind this version, and it made for a much better blend here.

Camp Lo : Future

Tucked away at the tail end of what I think is the seriously underrated "Stone And Rob : Caught On Tape" release - I can't think of anything that sounds quite like it! The Bronx boys give you the usual slangy, back-and-forth vocal stylings, and the Apple Juice Kid is on the beat. Check how they channel Curtis Mayfield on the hook too...

Hans Zimmer : Bakara

Bit left-field in comparison to the tracks preceding it, but it blended so well I had to use it :) Hans Zimmer is one of the world's foremost film score composers, with more than 100 to his credit - from "As Good As It Gets" to "The Thin Red Line" and plenty more, as well as games like "CoD : Modern Warfare 2" and "Crysis 2." This particular track is from the "Black Hawk Down" score, and makes a good background to games of "Goldeneye" :) Nice album, not necessarily an essential purchase but if you see it for a good price and like instrumental stuff, pick it up.

The Intruders : Cowboys To Girls

One of the many records I have liberated from my parents' collection over the years :) The Intruders were an influential four-man soul group out of Philadelphia who had hits working with Gamble & Huff - in fact, they were the first group to do so, yet they are rarely mentioned! This particular track was a 1968 release which went as high as #6 on the US pop charts; only a snippet here but it shouldn't be hard to find a copy of the whole thing.

Big Noyd : Shoot 'Em Up (Bang Bang), Pt.1

Here we come to the flip of the above track - kind of bumps along with the way it's put together, and weaves the key bits of the vocal into the track with Noyd leaving space for them to come through. As with the second version, you can find this on the "Only The Strong" LP - not a "must own" but a solid enough album.

The Deele : Shoot 'Em Up Movies

Yes, serious cheese! Let me just say now that the phrase "all at once" is used inappropriately and far too many times in this song - must have been having an off-day on the lyrics! The Deele came out of Cincinnati in the 80s, and produced two breakout production and songwriting stars in L.A. Reid and Babyface (who also had a solo career as an artist). This tune is from their third album, though I got it on a "Best Of" compilation, and it was a big hit for them - been sampled a few times as well. A bit on the soft side for me but not without a certain charm!

Big Noyd ft. Mobb Deep : Shoot 'Em Up (Bang Bang), Pt.2

Definitely my preferred version of this track - brilliant sample flip and has just the right kind of pace and feel for me with the stabs and all the added handclaps; I think the vocal samples in this version work a little better than in the first one too. Nasty!

Air Adam : Key Ring

So-titled because of the little keyboard sound I put in there. This beat isn't properly mixed or anything, but just provides a little bridge from which I can blend into the next track...

Elzhi : Hands Up

Somehow managed to overlook this track on the "The Preface" album the first time round, then I heard it on shuffle in the gym and it smacked me in the face! My word, this is that real hardness. An all-Detroit affair, Black Milk on production gives you the ominous thumping, droning beat while Elzhi kicks some quality storytelling from the point of view of the low-end armed robber - top-notch writing. Don't get confused and think he's glorifying it doesn't end well!

730 : 13th Commandment

Love that sample that the track's based around! I picked this up in London if I remember correctly, just on the strength of seeing that Lord Tariq was involved; from looking around it seems that 730 is the combination of Lord Tariz, Peter Gunz, and Cory Gunz (son of Peter). Despite that, it's a long way from "Deja Vu!" Lord Tariq's opening verse is the lyrical high point here, the flow is crazy. The only thing is that I wish they hadn't bothered with those horns in the hook - slightly on the corny side for my taste...

Beatnuts : Out Of State Case (Instrumental)

Got this on the "Hydrabeats 5"  vinyl, just a collection of instrumentals I picked up many moons ago. This is a 1997 release on Hydra Entertainment, 12 tracks of Beatnuts-produced instrumentals - definitely worth having for mixtapes if you're a Hip-Hop DJ.

Onra : Send Me Your Love

A selection from Onra's 80s-flavoured "Long Distance" LP - a glittery but soulful MPC1000-programmed beat. If you like the sound of this at all, I'd definitely recommend getting yourself a copy of the album! I've been revisiting it lately and it's a really nice release.

Ras Kass : Won't Catch Me Runnin' (Moet Mix)

This was the first version of this track I heard, and I definitely prefer it to the original; a sample I won't reveal here stands alone as the intro before the drums come in to meet it, then continues in normal and filtered form throughout. Bird, the producer, who I must say I've not heard of elsewhere, definitely cooks up a beautiful track. Lyrically, this is early Ras, before even the debut "Soul On Ice" album, bringing out that kind of alternative West Coast flavour in the vein of (approximate) contemporaries like the Hieroglyphics camp - just really dope. I'd only ever heard this on MP3 before I came across a copy earlier this month in Vinyl Exchange - snatched it up quick, worried about the price later :)

Akinyele : In The World

Such a favourite of mine from this era (1996 release), I feel like I'm putting too many treats on here but it goes along so well with the previous two tracks! A very underrated MC out of Queens, you might know him better from his verse on the legendary Main Source track "Live At The BBQ" or the hit "Put It In Your Mouth" (which truth be told, I never liked much). As it happens, this was one of the B-side tracks on the "Put It In Your Mouth" EP and just shines. Production is by DJ Enuff and Jiv Pos - what's mental is that I have the record they sampled, I've sampled it myself, and I *still* didn't recognise it straight away - they made it work, definitely!

DJ Quik : Let You Havit

Damn, why don't you just say how you feel? Seriously though, Compton's own DJ Quik goes in with vigour on this 1995 track from the "Safe + Sound" album, mainly aimed at then-longtime rival MC Eiht of Compton's Most Wanted (note: Quik says on this track that he's wack. He's not.) They were definitely going at each other back then but these days I've read it's all smoothed out. All the same, this is a serious track, catches you straight away with those tough, smacking drums and then turning into a P-Funk, G-Funk keyboard extravaganza, right into the extended outro. If you don't have this one, get your West Coast collection up to par :)

[Just Blaze] Beanie Sigel : Beanie (Mack Bitch) (Instrumental)

Another record with a really tough beat driving it, but a sharper, more angular keyboard vibe and the occasional bit of piano for the low end. Completely different side of Philly to the Intruders track! Just Blaze was killing it on this, one of five tracks he produced on Beanie's second album "The Reason" - from which the very first post on this blog took its name!

London Symphony Orchestra : John Henry

Beautiful piece of music. I first heard this on the opening sequence of Spike Lee's brilliant "He Got Game" - the music and the images together are actually very moving if you have a deep connection to the game. While Public Enemy provide all the songs for the film (definitely worth buying their soundtrack), the orchestral score comes from the London Symphony Orchestra playing the music of the American composer Aaron Copland. This particular piece tells the story of the folklore figure John Henry, a Black steel-driver on the railroads who according to the story raced a steam-powered hammer bought by the railway owner to replace all the human workers, with the agreement that if he beat the machine that his co-workers would keep their jobs; he wins, but the effort kills him in the end. I'm no expert, but I think the music really communicates the story well - might not be everyone's cup of tea but I think it's tremendous.

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!

Direct download: Episode_30.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:30pm EST

The Collage Dropout

"I am sworn to life, I am bound to death"

- Professor X

* (but never the college dropout)

Thought I'd take the opportunity to show a little something I did this month :o) As it happens, three of the acts on this photo collage are included in this month's selection. Which ones, you ask? Well, read the show notes for the detail!

RIP Dr Geraldine Connor...


Bass-O-Matic : Fascinating Rhythm

Starting things off with a big UK chart hit from 1990 which I've never stopped listening to! Based on the same Soul Searchers "Ashley's Roachclip" sample as Eric B & Rakim's "Paid In Full," it's packed with flavour in a way I don't think a lot of modern chart music can match. I didn't realise until recently that the producer on this track was William Orbit, better known to most as the production brain behind Madonna's 1998 "Ray Of Light" album - big move from him there!

Eric B & Rakim : Paid In Full (Drums only)

Thought it'd be a nice blend to come into this track, sharing as it does the drum sample from the opener. If you don't recognise this straight away, just head out and get a copy of the 1987 "Paid In Full" album, and cleanse yourself :) PS I the only person who liked "Chinese Arithmetic?"

X-Clan : In The Ways Of The Scales

Maybe the best use ever of the Tom Tom Club "Genius Of Love" sample, tucked away as the last track on the indisputably classic "To The East, Blackwards" LP. Even if X-Clan weren't the best group of the Afrocentric era of Hip-Hop, they could definitely put in a strong claim for being the funkiest! Made up of the late Professor X (son of Sonny Carson), the late Sugar Shaft on the wheels and Brother J (handling most of the mic time), they had a combination of consciousness and danceability which is yet to be matched. The album, their first, drips with so much quality it's just ridiculous - a "must own."

New Flesh ft. Blackitude : Stick & Move

UK UK! Bassline action on this killer from the "Understanding" album produced by legendary UK graf writer Part 2 (York stand up!); I once heard he picked up some of his first production pointers many moons ago from DJ Greenpeace, who was also a great influence on my record buying as a teen! New Flesh (originally New Flesh For Old) were definitely unafraid to be original from the moment they came out, and in my opinion managed to do "futuristic" sounding tracks before there was any such thing as "future beats." This track is one of their more dancefloor-ready pieces, but check the albums to get an idea of the full scope of their sound - "Equilibrium" is the place to start, with that being the beginning...if you like the more technical, abstract sound, it'll be right up your alley.

Ice Cube : My Summer Vacation

Underrated to a ridiculous degree. For me this is one of the standouts of Ice Cube's sophomore "Death Certificate" album; the production (by DJ Pooh, Bobcat, & Rashad) is just ridiculously dope and Cube takes the mobbed-out, gangsta-funkin' track to spin a tale of a gang who leave LA to do business elsewhere...and things just go downhill from there. The topic of this song is serious - Ice Cube was rhyming about the spread of the LA gangs to other parts of the country when it was by many accounts barely getting underway. From what I've read, there were many reasons - from copycats, to members being sent out of the city by their families in an attempt to get them out of the firing line; as I say, that's what I've read and heard - you'd have to check with an expert though.

Foreign Legion : Voodoo Star

Changing the mood on this track, though it quite handily capitalises on the "my life is f**ked" ending of the track before (I'm saying that like I didn't choose the order!) Can't remember when I picked this one up but it was cheap as I remember and sometimes it's worth taking a chance on a tune. Not a huge fan of the semi-sung hook but in truth it does fit, and overall it's a strong package - funny rhymes from Prozack and Marc Stretch, good production, and a few cuts for good measure (from DJ Design, who also did the beat).

Gang Starr : Take A Rest (Instrumental)

I rarely pull out my white-label copy of the "Step In The Arena" instrumentals but flicked onto it while doing the selection and found that this track blended lovely with the preceding one so in it went :o) Hard to believe when listening to this beat (or any other on the same album) that DJ Premier once said he didn't have full confidence in the science of his production until "DWYCK" - I wish I could find the article where I read that!

Jasiri X : Occupy (We The 99)

Jasiri is his real name, and he's a member of the Nation Of Islam so the X is real too! A committed activist who also gets busy on the mic, Jasiri X has been behind such topical tracks as "What If The Tea Party Was Black?" and "Enough Is Enough." There aren't many young MCs right now hitting the issues of the day like him but he takes it all on and on this track, he gets into the grievances behind the Occupy movement. The strength comes not just from the lyrics but from the knowledge that it's not just posturing - he has the track record of speaking on social justice issues that lets you know it's not a cynical move. On top of all that, check the video - filmed at Occupy Wall Street and Occupy Pittsburgh.

Bumpy Knuckles : Pit In The Basement

Rugged tune that sounds like it should be the soundtrack for boxing training! Taken from the "Leaks, Vol.2" collection, it's just classic aggro Bumpy in fight mode. Definitely get both of the free "Leaks" mixtapes, turn them up, and try not to punch anyone in the face :o)

Grand Agent : Mingling Goes To Church (Shitake Monkey Remix)

I had this record (the "Fish Outta Water Remixes") hanging around for ages before I really had a proper listen, and when I first heard this track on there I couldn't believe how badly I'd slept on it! Over the years it's had a good number of outings in the record bag and really moves a big sound system. The well-travelled Philadelphia-native GA gets busy on the mic here regulating the garbage in the game, and the New York production crew Shitake Monkey absolutely smack it on the beat. Still haven't sussed out how the track got its title though...

Nine : Lyin' King

Underrated, and mostly unknown by people I know, this is a great 90s cut. Nine sets his stall out on the fakeness he doesn't like, and if the shoe fits, get a matching bag! Nine is probably best known for "Whutcha Want?" from the "Nine Livez" album (or, if you go back further, as 9mm on Funkmaster Flex's "Six Million Ways To Die") but this is from his second album "Cloud Nine." His go-to producer Rob Lewis is on the track - it's the little breakdown and the voice sample that I think really make the beat.

Hexsagon : How Can I Love You (Instrumental)

DJ A-Up put me up on Hexsagon originally, and after checking out some of his stuff on Bandcamp I grabbed a download purchase of the "Beat Flip Tuesdays, Volume 1" tape (I can't help it, it's always a tape to me!). A great talent coming out of Arizona, keep an ear out for this man!

Curren$y & The Alchemist : Smoke Break

So very dope (no pun intended). I think I first heard this on the DJ Lee Majors "Bitches Leave" mix (word to Clarence Boddicker) and then got myself a copy a while later. It feels like a semi-interlude, but there's enough going on to make you realise it's a full track - just short and sweet. Coming out of New Orleans and originally part of The 504 Boyz on No Limit Records, as well as having stints on Cash Money and Young Money, it's interesting to see how Curren$y has kind of remade himself and opened up an audience who never would have checked for him before. The star here for me though is Alchemist on the beat - it's hard but dreamy, with drums to die for. Definitely my favourite from the "Covert Coup" EP.

NYOIL : I Tried

NYOIL came out blasting on his first track under that name, the pull-no-punches "Y'all Should Get Lynched," done on zero budget but grabbing a huge reaction. That track was just the warning shot for the full "Hood Treason" album, where NYOIL spits his manifesto over an international selection of beats. This was an early favourite for me despite the someone out-of-place hook, and I think the sentiment is something a lot of people can empathise with; to me, the beat even sounds like someone carrying or dragging a heavy load! Obligatory trivia : NYOIL was originally Kool Kim of the UMCs - quite a style change!

Massive Attack ft. Liz Frazer : Teardrop

Fantastic, classis track - by all accounts, went through a lot of work putting it together but it must have felt worth it in the end when the result sounds like this. Taken from the "Mezzanine" album, Massive Attack's third, Liz Frazer of The Cocteau Twins is on the vocals but what I didn't know until I was researching this episode was that Madonna was originally in the frame to sing on this instead! That's two Madonna mentions in the show notes now...

Dom Kennedy : Menace Beach

Heard this first on the Combat Jack Show in one of the musical breaks but had to to some Googling to actually find what it was called and who had recorded it. From Leimert Park, Los Angeles, he's got a track here which at least in the production style reminds me of something NWA might have rhymed over back in the day, pre-"Straight Outta Compton" even! Great cut from the free "Future Street / Drug Sounds" mixtape.

Danny Drive Thru : Violence Makes

If you missed this man on episode 19, head back and hear some of his thoughts on production and hear some more of his stuff! A dedicated and talented producer, as well as one of the humblest guys you'll ever meet, Drive Thru has just released his "Psychedelia Smith" 7" (it took me a while to notice the pun) on Mind On Fire records but as usual, I headed for the B-side to pull out this low-tempo, mournful instrumental. Really good to see someone who deserves it coming up!

Funkadelic : The Song Is Familiar

Dopeness from the "Let's Take It To The Stage" album (great write-up on it here). When I first heard this, I knew a little about Parliament and how much they'd been sampled, and that Funkadelic were parts of the same movement, but I didn't realise how different the sound was. True to thje name, Funkadelic could come with that rockish, psychedelic kind of feel with the heavy amp flavour, and despite not being much of a rock fan at the time (aged about 15), the hook on this was enough to make me want to pull the air guitar out and set it on fire :)

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!

Direct download: Episode_29.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:35am EST

I was very honoured to be asked by Agent J to appear on Groovement, which is one of my favourite podcasts and should definitely be on your subscription list! I spent ages deciding what kind of tunes to take down to the session, knowing I was going to need as much as a couple of hours' worth; I hope you like them! It was nice to be able to give these an airing and to have a chat too - I was mostly intelligible, I think...

Click the pic to get to the download page on the Groovement site!

PS - If you've just arrived at this page as a result of going to Groovement, then thanks and welcome :o)

Category:general -- posted at: 6:14pm EST


" you sing your senseless songs to the mindless..."

- Chuck D

Got something of a theme this month - starting off really fast and bringing the speed down as we go through the episode; kind of like reverse club DJing! Got a bit of Public Enemy (saw them live again this month - they killed it, again), some great tunes from Manchester, and the usual selection of "I never heard that before" tracks to hopefully plant that digging bug in your head! Start playing this one in the gym and finish off driving at about 15mph under the speed limit...


Suga Free & The Time : Cool

Starting things off with energy; I don't do drugs but the pace of this tune combined with the occasional high-pitched keyboard hits for some reason makes me think that this is what being extra-high in a club and dancing crazy must sound like! This is a semi-cover version of the original "Cool" from The Time's first album, with Suga Free spitting pimp talk all over a beefed-up version of the 1981 track. I got this as a download from the "The Features, Vol.2" compilation, would definitely love to have it on vinyl but I suppose Serato will have to do...

Cybotron : Clear

Great electro track from all the way back in 1982, one of the original records that started off what we now know as techno. Coming out of Detroit, Brian Davis and techno co-originator Juan Atkins combined to show just what could be done with all electronic instruments at a time when most people just couldn't see it. I dug a digital copy of this out after seeing it mentioned in the brilliant book "Last Night A DJ Saved My Life" and instantly recognised it - it's one of those tracks which soaks into your subconscious the first time you hear it and never goes away! For the younger generation, this should sound familiar as the basis of Missy Elliott's "Lose Control," and for those who follow Mobb Deep's ridiculous amount of unreleased material, this was used on the incredibly menacing "Everything's Cool" (find it if you can) - the producer slowed this track down and it gives it a really nasty edge.

Ice-T ft. Nat The Cat & Donald D : Fly-By

Huge favourite of mine, from Ice-T's masterpiece album "OG : Original Gangster" (essential purchase). Ice-T opens up strong, I learned Donald D's killer closing verse off by heart when I was in school, and Nat The Cat's middle section is amazing when you hear how he kicks that style over a beat that's right around 120BPM.

The Roots : Boom!

Woooooooy! Super-tough drumming from Questlove provides the bedding for one of the illest solo MC performances you'll hear anywhere. Yes, I said solo. Black Thought throws down a heavy first verse before switching into jaw-dropping impersonations of Big Daddy Kane and Kool G Rap on the other two verses! Rewind it, play it again, appreciate! Taken from the "The Tipping Point" album, which wasn't my favourite Roots release (though I greatly preferred it to "Phrenology") - my pick is still "Things Fall Apart," which you should already own if you listen to my recommendations :o)

Public Enemy : Caught, Can We Get A Witness?

Overlooked PE track from the certified classic "It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back" album, closing the first side nicely (well, unless you have the CD...) On the Bomb Squad track, Chuck D, never a man backwards in coming forwards, thunders down his thoughts on everything from sampling to the vacuousness of love songs. I say and say again, if Chuck D doesn't get mentioned in your list of all-time great MCs, your list is wrong.

Master Fuol & ODB : Wingworms

Brooklyn stand up! This tune is from Thirstin Howl III's "Licensed To Skill" album but as far as I can tell he's actually not on this track at all - instead, mic duties are handled by fellow Lo-Life Master Fuol and the late great Wu-Tang loose cannon ODB, basically both just talking crazy on the beat; I've also seen this one around titled as "Last Call." This track is definitely too little-known! I'll just leave you with a choice lyric; "fall on your butt, yo' ass gon' hurt." That's wisdom right there.

PMD : Back To Work (Instrumental)

I love's just kind of awkward. Parrish Smith handled the production himself on this one - many people forget he does beats as well as rocking the mic - and it's dope, but just loops kind of oddly! As such, it's not a record I pull out often as it's strange to mix with, but as I didn't need to mix right at this point, I took the opportunity to include it - hate to see a good record go to waste!

Two-One : Swing

Local talent coming up with a big tune here! Manchester's Two-One is a skilled MC and producer who you might know from In The Loop and many other events besides. On this track, he showcases a confident flow over a tasty beat from Oldham's Kuartz who you'll have heard on the podcast previously. This was taken from the "Mathematics" EP which was a free download - no longer available, but I kept on at the man until I could get a copy of this to play you :o) Keep an eye out for more material from Two-One here and Kuartz here!

Cormega : The Other Side

One of the realest MCs out on a great track from the "Born & Raised" LP on the unglamourous sides of the street life, featuring a light airy production from none other than Fizzy Womack of M.O.P! Yes, I was surprised too :o)

The Mouse Outfit ft. MC Presto : Who To Trust

If you've never seen The Mouse Outfit live, you're missing out. Coming out of Manchester, they're an absolutely firing band who in the last couple of years have added both members of Plato (MC Bedos and producer Pitch) to their lineup. To my mind, they're now at the start of the big push a lot of us have been waiting for them to make and have just released their debut EP "Check Your Pulse" from which this track is taken. On this tune, Bedos passes up mic duties to the American MC Presto who also turns out to be a good complement to the band, and this track just might be my favourite on the EP - the beat just works so well. Keep an eye out for these guys!

Troy S.L.U.G.S : Get It 4 Real

One of those 12" singles I've been waiting to play for a while, bringing a little harder edge sonically than the last few tracks. I can't even call this a forgotten gem since that would imply that people really knew about it the first time round! Pete Rock brings a dope, shoulder moving beat which already puts the track above the average and Troy contributes some fairly straight-ahead, solid rhymes - no crazy complex technique, but no nonsense either. I must say I don't know much about him except that he's from Astoria, NY, and that he had another 12" which I've got in the library with a nice B-side "88 Bars." That's good, but this is better - worth a pickup I think if you see a copy.

Superior Thought : Holding On

Like this beat? Find more of his stuff here. Talented UK producer out of South London who's really doing some good things staying true to the sampling style, keeping a very Hip-Hop flavour rather than going dubstep/grime/whatever. He's got a lot of stuff up on his Bandcamp, either free or cheap - definitely worth checking out. This particular tune is from his "S'strumentals" instrumental album, a free download you'd be mad to not at least give a listen! 

2Pac : Strictly 4 My N.I.G.G.A.Z

Can you believe it's been fifteen years this month since 2Pac died? Crazy. I've never been a huge Pac fan - people who know my listening know that about me - but I will always say that I greatly preferred the era of his first three albums to anything he recorded after that. This here is a track which always stays on the iPod, always enjoyed it since it was first released and it's a good motivational one for the weights too! Produced by Laylaw (who has some great Hip-Hop history), the slow and low, sample-heavy vibe fit the attitude of the lyrics much better than any synth outing could ever hope to. Lyrically, 'Pac would never fit into the super-complex category, but could always be said to put down how he felt whenever he hit the booth; there's something to be said for that in life as well as in music! 

Dr.Dre ft. Lady Of Rage : Lyrical Gangbang (edit)

Didn't feel like having the whole song so just knocked out a quick edit to give you some instrumental after the first verse. Taken from "The Chronic" of course, this one plays slow and bangs loud - not the first tune people think of when this album comes up for discussion but sometimes, only this tune will do! If they end up creating a time machine I want a quick trip back to when hard rhymes like Rage's and heavy beats like this were standard issue...

Camp Lo : Something For Nothing

The Camp Lo unreleased/soundtrack/compilation/B-side catalogue is full of gems, if you can find them! I've definitely said before how much I rate this Bronx crew going back to the first time I heard "Coolie High," and this track is a seriously under-the-radar piece I was glad to add to the collection! This is on a white-label 12" with some other bits from other artists so is lacking full credits, but a quick web search tells me this is a 2001 track from the compilation "Stimulated, Vol.1" and Lord Digga was the man with the slow, swaggering, soulful beat. Add to that the Lo's dense slang styles and you've got a winner!

UNKLE ft. Alice Temple : Bloodstain

Bit of personal trivia - the first time I went to donate blood, I lay down on the bed and this tune came on my MP3 player on shuffle! That said, since it was the very early days of MP3 players and it had a grand total of 64MB memory (read that again, carefully), it wasn't that unlikely! This is still a headphone staple for me, it still sounds fresh - hard and heavy drum track with plenty of space for Alice Temple's vocal to breathe. Bit of trivia - apparently, Alice Temple was the first female UK and European BMX champion. All that and an angelic voice! As for UNKLE, this is the "Psyence Fiction" incarnation of the group, with James Lavelle and DJ Shadow being the driving forces behind the project.

[Slip Wax] Bomshot : Kill Em All (Instrumental)

2005 track out of Boston on Commonwealth Records; truth be told, this 12" is pretty nondescript on the whole. I got it primarily because Agallah produced the A-side, but the rhymes just didn't grab me. I do like this B-side beat and it worked nicely for the blend, but again, lyrically the track didn't do anything for me at all. It's just like that sometimes!

Raphael Saddiq ft. Q-Tip : Get Involved

First heard this on one of DJ A-Up's mixtapes a while ago, chased him up to find out what it was and managed to get a vinyl copy recently in time to get it on the podcast; I'd slowed the MP3 down before and liked how it sounded so knew it needed to be on here! Oakland's Raphael Saddiq is one of those artists who was always kind of at the periphery of my consciousness - never really knew his work properly but did know of Tony! Toni! Tone! and Lucy Pearl - but this track got me on board and having checked some of his albums since, I can better appreciate what he does! Got this on a 12" single but you can probably find it more easily on the soundtrack to "The PJs."

Nas : It Ain't Hard To Tell

One that everyone knows, so you've got a point of reference to go with! I love what the slowdown does to the "da-da, da da" in the hook, and Large Professor's filtered bass on this damn near drops out of the bottom of the speaker!

Unknown : Grand Theft Auto Theme

This is from the original Grand Theft Auto game, the top-down one that was released on the PC back in 1997; if I recall correctly, I searched the CD for sound files to get hold of this track and have been carting it around ever since! Not sure who put this track together, but it sounds like they were heavily "inspired" by Easy Mo Bee's beat for Craig Mack's "Flava In Ya Ear." Grand Theft Audio?

Slum Village : Climax

On the very first podcast episode, you heard the instrumental of this - now you get the vocal, but missing more than 20% of the speed! From the "Fantastic, Volume 2" album, this is probably my favorite Slum Village track. The big speed drop here makes it sound more ghostly and eerie than seductive...try it at night! This is probably the beat that made me a Dilla believer - some of the stuff he'd done before this point I didn't know he'd done, and some wasn't to my taste, but this one smacked me round the head and got me up to speed. Fresh.

EPMD : You're A Customer

Winding up with one that the heads will certainly know, another classic! Over 23 years old but never fails to get the necks snapping! The samples/interpolations it uses are well known so I can talk about them; taking a four notes from ZZ Top's "Cheap Sunglasses," a little "Jungle Boogie," and of course the "Fly Like An Eagle" snatch and adding some drum machine, EPMD built a monster. Result.

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!

Direct download: Episode_28.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:00am EST

Low Budget, Expensive Taste

"...the optimum oxygen intake..."

- Strategy

(shout to DRS for the episode title!)

Crazy month, what with an outbreak of rioting in several UK cities, and in the US (at the time of writing) an earthquake and a tropical storm in roughly the same areas within about a week!

As I say in one of the links, I'm now on Twitter, just feeling out if it's something I need to stay with or not - follow me at airadam13, let's get some chatter going! But what are we going to talk about? Well, I reckon we should start with the tracks below...


Random Axe : Black Ops
Wais P : Pimp Ops

The eponymous Random Axe (Sean Price, Guilty Simpson, Black Milk) album was definitely one of the most anticipated releases of the year by the real heads, and it didn't disappoint - it wasn't overly long, but what you got was rawness. With any luck, there'll be more in the future - I think the combination works really well! Right here is probably the only time I'll play a track featuring Sean P but not include his verse - I just give you Guilty's verse on the original before switching into the second verse from Wais P's version from the "Random Pimp" mini-mixtape (so there's still some P in there...) Wais P was previously in a Roc-A-Fella-affiliated group called The Ranjahz but he's back now as a solo artist on the pimp tip and is definitely coming up and making some noise - keep a lookout! (even though he should have called his track "Mack Ops!")

Capone-N-Noreaga : Stay Tuned (Instrumental)

I love this beat, always have done since this album ("The War Report") first came out - I always thought it was a waste they just used it for an interlude instead of rhyming over it. Charlemagne, who did a lot of good stuff for Natural Elements, is on the boards for this one - props.

Roc Marciano w/ The Alchemist & Oh No : Jet Luggage

This is the kind of track to make you pull your collar up and your hat down! Not sure which of the three took the reigns on production here, but my betting is on The Alchemist - he's usually good for the 70s kind of feel. That crazy sound on the left took a few seconds to grow on me but then I saw the genius - wouldn't have been the same at all without it! This is taken from the excellent "Greneberg" EP; if you don't already know, Roc Marciano's album from this year was "Marcberg" and Oh No and Alchemist came together for an album as "Gangrene." All three of them get on the mic here and do the track justice! 

Royal Flush ft. Khadeija Bass : Can't Help It (Remix)

I actually prefer the original but this is a version which will be new for more people, and it fits better in this slot too. Only available on the 12" of "Can't Help It" which I found by accident, didn't even realise that it had been released as a single. "Ghetto Millionaire" definitely had some gems on it, well worth having for some quality mid-90s vibes!

Simtraks ft. Kaze, Pierce Freelon & King Mez : Black Fantastic

I was searching for Camp Lo videos on Youtube and found a tune I'd never heard before called "Eternity Window" produced by someone called Simtraks. I liked it so followed the Bandcamp link in the video description and found his "Sputnik Sweetheart" album available for free download - definitely worth hearing! Not everything is up my street but there are some really good tunes on there, of which this is one, and "Eternity Window" is another. The MCs do their thing on here over the Stevie Wonder "You Will Know" sample (it's ok, Simtraks already revealed the sample!), and the producer wisely doesn't mess too much with a good loop!

Strategy : The Bleep Test

Now this is how you take a concept and execute! Broke 'n' English are definitely Manchester's best known Hip-Hop crew and have been putting it down for years as individuals and as a group. Fresh off the opening of their new studio space, frontman Strategy felt the creative fire and knocked out the smoking "Pre-Season Training" mixtape for free download and it's been blowing up all over the city and further afield. As good as this track is, it's probably not even my favourite on there (that would be "Kill 'Em") but this is one I really wanted to share - even though it brings back bad memories of high school PE lessons ;o) If this is anything to go by the upcoming Broke 'n' English album "Life On The Costa Del Salford" will be a classic!

Fakts One : One Time For Des

I plead innocence to the distortion - it's in the original beat :o) This is the kind of track that wants to bust out of the speakers and kick your TV in! This is the third track in a row to come from a freely-downloadable project - this time, it's "The Chop Shop" where Boston's Fakts One (of The Perceptionists) shows you how he gets down, generously sharing some quality material. If you're not already on the way to download it, fix that now :o)

Kid Capri w/ Cocoa Brovaz & Buckshot : Follow Me

Nothing fancy, just a good head-nodding tune! This is from Kid Capri's "Soundtrack To The Streets" compilation - not the most esoteric album title, granted, but sets his stall out clearly! Boot Camp combination on the mic bring the Brooklyn flavour to the vocal

Encore : Too Easy (Layover Outro)

I've had the album this is on ("Layover") for ages but don't know most of the tracks that well; I pulled this out while looking for some stuff new to me to include and it may just persuade me to give this LP another chance! Encore's from the Bay Area and has a lot of good co-signs on his LP, from Souls Of Mischief and Ladybug Mecca on the mic to Jake One on the beats - this beat though comes from Vitamin D, blending nicely with the previous track but having more of a jumpy, slightly unpredictable feel to it.

Mother Superia : Most Of All

Have you got this one? Now now, don't cry, it's ok. Seriously though, heard this on Westwood years ago when it came out, loved it but then heard it nowhere else - or any more from the artist for that matter! This turned up during a London digging mission, and seeing the credits confirmed that this is a Reggie Noble (Redman) production - I think it's definitely got his kind of sound. I could hear him ripping this but make no mistake - Mother Superia definitely comes off on the mic here. A bit of web searching reveals that she's from Miami (I'd assumed she was from Jersey) and is now known as Savana...still not heard any of her new stuff though!

D.I.T.C : Way Of Life

Some barely pre-millennial heat on this 12". This was a pretty big single on the scene if not for the wider public, so all the listeners who are heavily into their Hip-Hop will likely know this - for everyone else, hopefully it gives you the same kind of bounce! Show is on the beat, taking a sample that's been used before but tweaking it just right to bump the track along, and Fat Joe and the late Big L do their think mic-wise. I don't think it's unfair to say that Big L is definitely the star on this one!

[K-Murdock] & Mega Ran : Epoch (Instrumental)

Maryland definitely has some very serious beatmakers - a couple of episodes back I played some Kev Brown, and here you have another crazy talented producer, K-Murdock of Panacea & Neosonic. Is it something about the K? Anyway, I digress - this big, booming beat comes from the "Forever Famicom DLC" instrumental album of the "Forever Famicom" collaboration with Mega Ran, all based around Nintendo. If you play more games than me, you might recognise the sounds, but even if you don't, recognise the quality!

A.G. & Aloe Blacc : Hip-Hop Quotable

Dirty electronic business right here from A.G's "Get Dirty Radio" album. This Dilla beat was floating around for ages; I saw it labelled "Electronic Hum" on a beat tape, and it was later on "Jay Stay Paid" as "caDILLAc," but to me this track is the definitive appearance. Somehow when this was released on 12", it managed to be the B-side to "Frozen" - don't get me wrong, that's a dope track, but it's not seeing this. Anyone who has even half a Hip-Hop collection will find the lyrics to this one kind of familiar...hence the title. I actually remember a mate called Justin in high school who had this idea - he was going to call it "The Copy!"

Random (aka Mega Ran) : Shadowman

You only got an instrumental a couple of tracks up, but here you get to hear Mega Ran go in hard on the mic and on the boards too - Philly stand up! This killer tune comes from the "Mega Ran v1.3" album, which famously was all based around the Mega Man series of games - this track may be the least directly connected in terms of lyrics, but it's probably my favourite - getting all kinds of rewinds this month!

Ghostface Killah ft. Raekwon & Masta Killa : Black Jesus

Leading off the D-side of Ghost's "Ironman" album (which is probably still my favourite, and which everyone should own), RZA takes some sword-and-sandal-sounding sample and turns it into a basis for the two slangiest Wu members to batter the mic into submission alongside Masta Killa, whose unmistakable vocals close out proceedings. It took me a while to appreciate this track, but it's definitely one of the top cuts on what is definitely a classic album.

Tribeca, Masta Ace, Mr Complex & Lord Tariq : Get Large

The first time I heard this as an extra track on a Tribeca 12" I thought this track was brilliant, and I still do - it's just gor triumph all over it! The producers are two guys I've honestly never heard of - LeDamus and SLA - but they cook up a storming instrumental here and the MCs have to put in some serious work to balance out the largeness! I thought this was Tribeca's record with everyone guesting but I've since found it on this 12" and it looks like a producer-led project under the banner of Get Large Productions. Anyway, it's amazing what can be achieved when no-one cares who gets star billing :o) Winner.

Daft Punk : End Of Line (Photek Remix)

Truth be told, I'd never been a Daft Punk fan at all, but I made a rare trip to the cinema to see Tron : Legacy and was definitely impressed with their soundtrack. Turns out I wasn't the only one, and not only was the original soundtrack really popular but it also spawned a remix project, with all sorts of electronic artists getting in on the act. If this is at all your kind of thing, or if you're into the glitchy kind of sound, then it's one you should look to pick up.

Roughneck Jrs : Sound Of The Phuture

Included as an insert on the 1993 Breaking The Illusion "Lose Your Illusion" EP, I'm playing this as a tribute to Gavin, one of the MCs on the track who sadly died this month. None of the MCs were any older than 16 on this, and this was at a time when it wasn't common for young guys to really be doing stuff - there wasn't the access to technology etc that there is nowadays. RIP Gavin, just putting this energy out to spread a little further.

UGK : One Day

Opening track from the 1996 "Ridin' Dirty" LP; thought this would be a good one to play as a closer and a further tribute. The exact lyrics in the verses don't necessarily relate to this situation, but the sentiment and the feel I think are universal. UGK are from the town of Port Arthur, Texas and were made up of the late Pimp C and Bun B; these guys really did put their town on the map and turned out quality Hip-Hop for years before the rest of the country - or the world - took much notice. It took a long time for them to get their props, but it happened in the end. As it happens, just this year, August 30th was declared Bun B Day in Houston; an incredible honour, though I'm sure Bun would have loved his man to still be around to make it UGK Day.

If you do hear anything you especially like then do get in touch and let me know, and please support the artists - find more output of theirs on Spotify to get a feel for it, go to live shows if you can (that's where they really get paid) and buy the stuff you like the most!

Direct download: Episode_27.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00pm EST

Finally decided to give Twitter a go...follow me @airadam13

Category:general -- posted at: 2:24am EST


"It's like tryna crack encryption codes..."

- Sly

What a month. The tragedy in Norway, Amy Winehouse dying, and maybe the beginning of the unravelling of Murdoch's hold on the UK?

I started doing the selection/recording before most of these events happened, so any coincidences are just that... 

As promised, here are my photos from the Roy Ayers/Pete Rock gig;

@Air Adam Photography on Facebook

Full set @ Example Magazine

and here are my pocket camera shots from the Ice Cube/Naughty By Nature gig, while battling some bully-boy idiots at the front!

@Air Adam Photography on Facebook


The Jackson 5 : Walk On

A live instrumental workout for the boys from Gary, Indiana - their own version of Isaac Hayes' "Walk On By." Been sampled a few times, including to great effect on...

Non Phixion : Cult Leader

Dave One of Obscure Disorder takes his cue from the preceding track, doesn't do anything crazy to it but just does enough - I think it fits the theme brilliantly. Ill Bill absolutely smashes it in the title role as a charismatic, malevolent religious figure and the whole package is finished off by Dave One's brother (the legendary DJ A-Trak) throwing down some of the most ridiculous cuts you'll hear anywhere. I scratch but there are things he's doing on here I can't even comprehend, never mind do. This track was an early selection for this month's show and recorded very early in the month; what with things that have happened since I kind of wish it had been another month but of course, no disrespect intended.

[Tic] Main One : Cross Examination (Instrumental)

Just a cool little instrumental, a nice bridge between the tracks on either side. I think I picked up this 12" in London on the strength of it featuring Smoothe & Trigger and Ski being on engineering duties, but in London most record shops don't have listening posts so I really didn't know what I was getting. Not a classic by any means but on the other hand it fit nicely here so I guess I was meant to find it?

Statik Selektah & Termanology ft. Reks : The Dream

Dark and brilliant. From the free 1982 EP, Termanology and Reks go in on the themes of substance abuse and depression over a killer Statik Selektah beat. If anyone can send me a message and let me know what the sample is on the hook, it would be much appreciated :o)

Pete Rock & CL Smooth :It's Not A Game

Such an ill Pete Rock beat, great one in the headphones or in the car! This is a classic B-side, coming on the flip of the "Lots Of Lovin'" 12" and absolutely winning like Chuck D would say! Not too much to say, except to hope you don't wear out your "rewind" buttons (or your touchscreens) running this one back...

Lake & Cormega : The Oath

Taken from the Lake & Cormega "My Brother's Keeper" album, Ax Tha Bull (!) on production with an alternately tense and dramatic number, could almost be part of a score! It's an all-Queensbridge affair on the mic, but while alleged hard-rock Lake gets the first two verses to himself, it's Cormega who really shines here with a storming close.

Snoop Dogg ft. The Dramatics & Lil 1/2 Dead : Ballin'

Horizontally laid back! Not the best known Snoop track and not one with his most complex rhyme schemes but I love it. From the album "Paid Tha Cost To Be Tha Boss," this is the second collaboration between Snoop & The Dramatics (after "It's A Doggy Dogg World"), with them basically doing a cover but with a dubplate-style flip of the hook from their track "Fell For You." Nighttime rollin'...

[Hi-Tek] Royal Flush : Shines (Instrumental)

Before everyone was giving him his props, Hi-Tek showed his skills using the classic Roy Ayers "Everybody Loves The Sunshine" sample on the B-side to Royal Flush's burner "Iced Down Medallions." Nice 90s joint with that filtered bassline flavour...great month to get this tune in!

Jan Hammer Group : Don't You Know?

Hope people like this, I paid out a fair bit to get myself a copy of this album ;o) Jan Hammer is known to most as the man behind the Miami Vice music, but he's got a long history as a respected composer and pianist/keyboardist in the jazz world. This is from the 1977 "Melodies" album, for those who collect this kind of thing! I played it partly because I really love it, and partly because it allows me to do a clever little mix into...

Da Beatminerz ft. Talib Kweli & Total : The Anti-Love Movement

One month I might try to do an episode made up solely of "opposite" tracks! Couldn't believe it when I realised how close together these tracks are tempo-wise, so this just had to be done. Besides, I'm sure some of you can relate to the conflict in feelings! This is from the essential "Brace 4 Impak" producer project from Da Beatminerz, which I constantly forget isn't a new record anymore. Looking at the link, it seems there are some very cheap deals on this release so do yourself a favour and get a copy - as nice as this track is, it's not even close to the best thing on there!

Roy Ayers : Funk In The Hole (PPP Remix)

From the "Virgin Ubiquity : Remixed" project, a nice pickup from Manchester's Kingbee records. Detroit's Platinum Pied Pipers bring heavy, knocking drums and all kinds of dropped in sounds to the original jazz flavour. 

Edo. G : Fastlane

Boston business here. Edo G (sometimes Ed O.G.) has been doing it since the early 90s (I first heard him on "Be A Father To Your Child") and has that quiet level of respect that those who sell out will never understand. On this opening track from his new "A Face In The Crowd" album, DJ Premier brings a low-key but still solid beat for Edo to reflect on. Nice.

[Kenny The Seagull] Blacklover88rs (Dr.Oop + Two-B) : Don't Bounce (Instrumental)

The man Pressey was the first one to tell me about Dr.Oop, though more on the production side if I remember correctly (I probably don't!) The "Daze Like These" 12" that this came from isn't my favourite, but it did at least yield this beat. That said, it's probably one of those releases I'll come back to years from now and wonder how I slept on!

Smif-n-Wessun : Pete Rock Track

Sound rough, but worth sharing I think! A few years back, Smif-n-Wessun were signed to Rawkus Records (bet James Murdoch wishes deciding which MCs to sign was his only problem), and recorded an album which never came out. It did leak at the time and there were some excellent tracks on it, of which this is one. Not very imaginatively named, but maybe it'd have got a proper title with a proper release. Anyway, there's now a full-length collab ("Monumental") between Los Hermanos Chocolates and Pete Rock which is a solid release - check it out!

A Tribe Called Quest : Midnight

One of my favourites from Tribe's "Midnight Marauders" LP, but for some reason no-one ever talks about it! Anyway, take a little listen and see if it goes up in your estimation :o)

Sly Boogy : Everything

From the compilation "Back 2 Basics" (which I chanced upon in Vinyl Exchange at the right price) the "Wake-Up Show" duo of Sway and King Tech present this slightly off-beat, funky, twitchy bit of west coast flavour - Supa Dave West (who you might know from various De La Soul tracks) is on production and Sly Boogie has the right level of gruffness to ride over it. On top of all that, the "Everything" vocal sample is the kind of icing that makes me want to set off an airhorn!

Little Brother : The Becoming

As Phonte once said, "dope beats, dope rhymes...this Hip-Hop ain't really that hard." One of the most interesting everyman personalities on the mic, he comes here with a couple of verses on how Little Brother came together, and does so on a dope 9th Wonder beat that will get your neck moving if you have any funk whatsoever! Though you might expect a track on your origins to be on the first album, this is actually from Little Brother's second release, "The Minstrel Show.

The White Shadow of Norway : All My Friends (Instrumental)

It was only right to have something from Norway this episode - I didn't have this in my collection but bought it specially as an individual download from his "Instrumentals 2" project. It seems White Shadow is a serious veteran, having started DJing in the late 70s and over time making the move into production; by the sounds of things he's the elder statesman and reference point for the Norwegian scene! 

Grandmaster Flash, KRS-ONE, Afasi, Kase.o, Maccho & Abass : We Speak Hip-Hop

I've had this kicking around for a while and this seemed like the perfect time to play it. An international collection of MCs led by KRS-ONE under the wing of the pioneering Grandmaster Flash, with a message of unity despite superficial differences. What could be better?

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!

Direct download: Episode_26.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:00am EST


"Days come and go, but..."

- Jane Child

Second birthday for the podcast! Nice little back catalogue building up now :o) To celebrate the occasion, here's another show crafted to caress your eardrums - I've got some old classics, unrecognised gems, and just a little new heat to add the spice! It also seems to be remix city this month...


Natural Elements : Freestyle

I think I've declared my Natural E fan-dom in the past, and I could listen to them rhyme all day. Probably have done at least once. Anyway, this is a nice no-hook track featuring them flowing over the Neptunes-produced beat from Nas' "The Flyest (Nas' Angels)" - not sure if it's a real off-the-dome freestyle, but knowing these guys it wouldn't be surprising! Sorry about the stereo dropouts near the start; don't know what happened there! Also check the beat juggle at the start - sound familiar?

[Butterfly] Digable Planets : Nickel Bags (Instrumental)

Super cooled-out instrumental for this break, should have the air of familiarity for anyone who heard Episode 24...this was my favourite Digable single I think.

The Pharcyde : Passing Me By / Passing By Me (DJ Jazzy Jeff Remix)

One of the classic Hip-Hop singles, a collection of tales of unrequited love, it would have been too basic just to play the original version so I switch it up after the first verse in favour of DJ Jazzy Jeff's remixed version "Passing By Me" which you can find on his free compilation "My Faves : Volume 1." That's your cue to get over there for the download. It's based around a gorgeous sample which then leads us nicely into...

Intelligent Hoodlum : Grand Groove (Bonus Mix)

I didn't realise for ages that this isn't the original version of this track - first time I heard it was on "Yo! MTV Raps" and this is the version on the video. K-Def and Marley Marl are responsible for the beat I believe, and Tragedy (side note: hope he drops the "Khadafi" from his current pen name) comes with some heartfelt lyrics.  You can find this on the "Tragedy : Saga Of A Hoodlum" album, a nice hard-edged 90s release.

Kool G Rap ft. Nas : Fast Life (Norfside Remix)

Sound quality on this pressing is a little rough, so apologies for that, but you either fondly remember this remix if you were clued-up back when it first came out or this is new to you and should be knocking you sideways! The original "Fast Life" was on Kool G. Rap's "4, 5, 6" album but I'm not sure exactly where this remix first emerged. I got my copy on a little 12" from Pop Art in Manchester (RIP) while digging through the bins, but it's only in the last couple of weeks I found out who did the remix - Salaam Remi. Good work that man.

No I.D. : Sky's The Limit

Looove this...ever since my man DJ Beware introduced me to this track something like 10 years ago I've been enjoying it but now it's time to share! No I.D was the original producer for Common (when he was still Common Sense) and both of them come out of Chicago, a city which for a long time was far more associated with House than Hip-Hop. As it happens, you can tell on here that not only is he an ill producer but can do his thing on the mic too with some thought-provoking lyrics. More quality material can be found on his "Accept Your Own And Be Yourself" LP.

[Pete Rock] Phife Dawg : Lemme Find Out

I'd pretty much ignored this B-side (on the flip of "Flawless," which is a heavy tune) up to now; for whatever reason the vocal version doesn't do it for me, but when you strip the words away and just leave the beat it turns out to be an interesting number indeed. What else would you expect from Pete Rock? 

The U.N. : Avenue

Pete Rock on the beat again, with an initially simple sounding but deeply hypnotic track which forms a great basis for the UN MCs to shine. It starts slowly I think but then picks up nicely and stays strong right through to the end. Not sure if the group is still together now but the "UN or U Out" album is just some straight-up Hip-Hop which is a great purchase for fnas of the gritty SP1200 & S950 aesthetic. No pretensions.

Sean Price, Meyhem Lauren & Roc Marciano : How The Gods Chill (Remix)

It's just some real Hip-Hop. Hard drums, nice cuts, and MCs getting busy. This here is why you don't let Sean Price get on the track first - Meyhem and Roc Marciano are both dope but my goodness...he comes out swinging! I want to hear Sean Price and Bumpy Knuckles do a joint album. Please? The original version of this track was headed up by the Hardcore group Cold World, but I don't know who's responsible for this remix - such are the downsides of digital releases :o(

Snowgoons w/ Skyzoo & Torae : Can't Go On Like That

Germany stand up! The Snowgoons are a pair of producers who have carved out a nice lane making beats for US underground MCs, often dramatic and virtually always banging and aggressive. This time out it's Brooklyn's Skyzoo and Torae who bless the beat with some New York straight talk. I found this on Spotify the other day and quickly realised I needed a copy of it to play this month! The *only* bad thing - the title doesn't quite match the words in the vocal sample in the hook...

Dilated Peoples : Triple Optics

Probably my favourite track from their debut "The Platform," this was the 3rd track on the "Work The Angles" 12" single. Evidence is on the production and Rakaa Iriscience takes the vocal lead, strongly representing the underground Los Angeles sound. Five albums deep, they've got quiet for the moment but will quite possible return with an independent release - stay tuned...

Stanley Clarke & George Duke : Quiet Time

Cooling things right down with a very short piano piece from the third "Clarke/Duke Project" collaborative album from two legends of the jazz fusion sphere. It's not as though I'm going to get chance to play this on a Friday night, so here it is :o)

[Ant] MF DOOM : Hoe Cakes (Remix Instrumental)

*This* is the tune I was referring to back in Episode 2 when I talk about referring to Anita Baker and someone had no clue who I was talking about! This remix takes the classic "Sweet Love" intro and layers it with a beatboxed drum pattern - not the most obvious move but it does work. The vocal version's worth hearing, though I have to say I'm not the biggest DOOM fan - "Operation Doomsday" is still the peak for me!

O.C. : Emotions (Album Version / JFish Remix)

Deep track from one of the more underrated members of the DITC crew, from his Mike Loe produced album "Smoke & Mirrors," which was released on the Hieroglyphics label. The album had mixed reviews, but personally I thought it was dope and I'm glad to have a vinyl copy. It might not have the classic DITC sound but who am I to say not to experiment?The remix comes courtesy of JFish of Soul Vibe Productions - they did a fully-remixed version of the album which was available on the net for free download a while ago; you may have to do some e-digging (e-xcavation?)  to find it now!

Kev Brown ft. Grap Luva : Struggla's Theme

Nice. Very nice. Landover, Maryland's Kev Brown is a producer/MC with an emphasis on the former. He's best known for coming out of Jazzy Jeff's Touch Of Jazz camp and is something of a ninja when it comes to the basslines! This track has a lovely, smooth but active bassline under an understated drum track and a little keyboard accent and is so good that if your head's not bobbing at may require medical attention. Lyrically, Kev comes in on the subject of trying to make an honest living, with Grap Luva of InI contributing a great second verse. Really hope you like this one!

AZ : Gimme Yours (Remix)

Queensbriiidge! Big big favourite of mine, Erick Sermon on the remix bringing a nice 80s soul sample and replacing Nas on the hook with Miss Jones, which is a huge upgrade. This is probably the only time in history that could be said of replacing Nas with anybody! The original version is on AZ's debut "Do Or Die," and it was fresh - but this is even better :o)

Jane Child : Words I Know (Album Version / Word Mix)

I would imagine the majority of listeners to the show don't know who Jane Child is; she had a hit in 1990 with "Don't Wanna Fall In Love" from her self-titled, self-produced debut, an album so great it had no less a man than Prince singing her praises! Her second album went straight under the radar for most and her third album ("Surge") was released on her own label. If that was under the radar, then the release this is taken from ("Surge Remixed") is under the whole plane but was an EP with a few select tracks from the original album redone. I thought the original album version might be too slow and all that for a lot of people so I only gave you a taste at the end, but I love it myself - reminiscent of Stevie Wonder on the keyboards!

Air Adam : Maria

I finally found a place to put a 66bpm instrumental and make it blend :o) This is something I knocked up on the MPC a couple of years ago on a quiet afternoon up in Leeds - couldn't see any MCs doing anything with it so it ended up just being left on the hard drive. At least a few people get to hear it now!

Spearhead : Hole In The Bucket

Special request for my man Eli - not a big Spearhead fan myself but I saw this video on MTV years ago and thought it was a great song. Michael Franti isn't tearing it down with super-complex lyrical schemes or rhyme flows but he crafts his story well, and it's a situation which pretty much anyone frequenting a big city can relate to. I must say though that the hook is a 100% winner; just nicely put together! 

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!

Direct download: Episode_25.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 4:00am EST

The Donut of the Heart

"Just because you play the role, don't mean you get the part."

- Bavu

Getting this in barely in the nick of time before the month ends, things seem to have been conspiring against me! This episode marks the end of the second complete year of episodes and is an hour on the dot of gems from the 70s right up to last month. Hope you like it!

Just to give you a couple of links I mentioned on the show;

Air Adam Facebook page

Nougold Podcast (DJ A-Up & Bedos) - monthly podcast of strictly new Hip-Hop, picked by two of Manchester's most discerning heads!


Ice-T : High Rollers

I had this playing in the car the other day on the way to work and decided right there that it should open up this episode! Despite the fact that this was one of the singles from the "Power" album (Ice-T's second) it might not be familiar to everyone simply due to its age - 23 years old now! The sample's from Edwin Starr's "Easin' In" from the "Hell Up In Harlem" soundtrack, and the lyrics are classic Ice-T of the era - describing the glamourous life of the gangster for most of the song before teasingly asking at the end if you really think you want it. The video nicely intercuts the shiny exterior with the harsh reality of real footage, definitely worth a look.

Jeep Beat Collective : Like Dis Dat? (Instrumental)

JBC was just one facet of the man known as Dave The Ruf AKA Rufmouth, a man of respect in the UK Hip-Hop scene. When I was a student I used to buy records from his mail-order shop, as well as my first turntablism videos, and his Radio Zero monthly shows on cassette were a definite influence on me deciding to do a podcast in the form you have now! I'm proud to be able to say that nowadays I can count him as a friend, and a friend who can smash out a serious beat - I'd say without breaking a sweat, but when it comes to hosting a jam he's as energetic as they come!

Naughty By Nature : It's On

Without question one of my favourite Naughty By Nature tracks, coming from the "19 Naughty III" album. The little stabs of horn leaking through that early 90s drum track with the bassline running under it just add the seasoning to a killer Kaygee production on which the MCs can get busy. Love the video too. Naughty By Nature are coming to Manchester fairly soon and if they don't perform this track I'm going to be very disappointed!

D-Flame ft. Camp Lo : Nuh Like Dem Neither

Having been to Munich in the past month, I thought I should try to play something German! I believe D-Flame is from Frankfurt, and he makes the connection across to the Bronx to bring in the incomparable Camp Lo. This was one of the first tracks I found on Spotify, while searching for any Camp Lo I didn't know. The sample-free production might not be to everyone's taste, but to me the heavy low-end boom on the kicks and the insistent keyboard somehow work :o)

Phi-Life Cypher ft. Skit Slam : Rap It Up

As I've probably said before, PLC are one of my favourite UK groups - they just overwhelm mics with a verbal torrent on every track you hear them on.This is taken from their second album "Higher Forces" and along with guest Skit Slam (featured all over the album), they ride DJ Nappa's occasionally Indian-flavoured beat ferociously. These guys are high up on the list of Hip-Hop artists I'd love to see perform live but haven't seen yet!

Bavu Blakes : Play The Role (Bzzz Mix)

I didn't know much about Bavu Blakes so had to do a little research! He's from Texas (Austin, I think) and has one album, "Create & Hustle" which was released in 2003. The original version of this was the closing track on that album, and in short it gives everyone some very simple and useful advice - be yourself! Remix comes from Dallas' Hydroponic Sound System, and it's from their "Choice Cuts Vol. 1" EP that this track comes. Take the lesson, and meditate on it during the next song...

Peshay : Pacific

Gorgeous track, summery and laidback despite the tempo. Peshay is best known as a D&B producer/artist but his "Miles From Home" album from which this is taken shows more range than you might expect. Some reviews see that as a good thing, some as a negative - I'd say have a listen and make your own mind up! This track has been an iPod favourite for me for so long that it's almost a crime I hadn't played it until now :o) Still, mixes well with the Bavu track, no?

Suga Free ft. Porsha Jade : Married To My Cadillac

"Don't be like me." Wise words from the alter ego of Suga Free out of Pomona, California, who by all accounts is a real-life pimp with the prison record to prove it. His occupation tends to reflect itself in his lyrics, and he'll never make Germaine Greer's iPod, but my goodness can he rhyme! He's easily in the top 5 MCs for me when it comes to "rewind moments," in the sense of "he said WHAT?!" and one of those MCs who I will always check for every time he puts something out. He's got 5 good albums out of 6, with one due this year, so we shall see... On this track from the "Smell My Finger" album he takes this smooth beat by a producer called Khrys and weaves what at least starts as a story around his Cadillac pimpmobile in a style only he could pull off. Dope.

Rakim ft. Talib Kweli : Gettin' Up Anthem

One for the graf writers! Don't know too much about this one - got it on a bootleg-looking 12" of under-the-radar Rakim tracks, but I think it's the theme tune from the video game "Getting Up" which came out a few years ago. I've also seen it other places titled as "Subway Surfin'" (which would fit the voice sample in the hook), but no idea who produced it. 

De La Soul : The Grind Date

Despite the fact that they didn't turn up to the Manchester gig this month where people were expecting to see them, here's a De La track that I've always liked. In addition, I'm sure it's one I'm sure a lot of people can relate to - the daily struggle of hard work to make a living! Supa Dave West is on production with a beat that sound halfway between celebration and some kind of working cadence - supa indeed.

Tek : All Massive

Ayatollah on the beat, bringing the reggae flavour to this Brooklyn track, with Tek of Smif 'n' Wessun on the mic. I never really listened to the lyrics on this properly before but it's actually much harder than I thought from just hearing it in passing - a proper vicious revenge story! This was on a 12" under Ayatollah's name but later turned up on Tek's "It Is What It Is" album, which is up and down but when it hits - knocks it out of the park.

DJ Quik & Kurupt : The Appeal

Great DJ Quik production on this track from the "BlaQKout" album with Kurupt. I've only played the first half of the track as that's my favourite part, after the hook the beat and theme changes and while it's still good it just doesn't do it for me like the opening half! It's all about the bassline I think, but also Kurupt's voice fits this track perfectly. 

Ian Martin : Tell Me If You Still Care

Seems like a left-field selection but coming out of that Quik beat that precedes it it just seemed to go so well I couldn't see putting anything else in this spot! This is a jazz instrumental version of a track by The SOS Band which has been sampled a few times to good effect, with the bass probably being the focal element. I'd not heard of Ian Martin before I heard this track, but apparently he's a name when it comes to jazz bass - I'm sure some of you know his stuff a lot better than I do!

Elzhi : It Ain't Hard To Tell

Big move from Detroit! Any kind of cover or tribute version in Hip-Hop is dodgy ground, but my goodness did Elzhi and Will Sessions smack it with the "Elmatic" LP! They took a very wise approach to making the beats on that project, consciously avoiding adding all sorts of little live band cuteness and freelancing and keeping it focused to allow Elzhi (who you may know from the later incarnations of Slum Village) to come in on the mic with his quality lyrics, influenced a touch by the original but unmistakably his own.  Get yourself a copy right now from here. While you're at it, every listener to this podcast should have a copy of Nas' "Illmatic" LP which "Elmatic" is of course based on. Every listener.

The Roots ft. Mos Def : Double Trouble

The main beat on this track is phenomenal, they shouldn't have even switched it up in the hook! Not that I'm an expert, but my neck doesn't lie :o) This is a pick from the "Things Fall Apart" album, which as far as I'm concerned is The Roots' best, closely followed by "Illadelph Halflife." Trust me, pick up those two albums and you will not be sorry. Bonus points if you read the novel "Things Fall Apart" from which the album takes its name. Anyway, as far as this track, Black Thought and Mos Def work their magic over the beat from the band, which incidentally has a nicely-mixed kick drum that can do damage on the right system!

Black Moon : Act Like U Want It

Nice B-Side to the mighty "How Many Emcees," in fact even though that track is a classic, I'm much more likely to be listening to this. Da Beatminerz handle the production as is standard for Black Moon and notably both Buckshot (the don) and 5ft Accelerator are on the vocals - 5ft missed a lot of the recording of the "Enta Da Stage" album itself due to legal problems, but he brings his sneaky aggro style in for the second verse here. Underappreciated track, definitely.

Kool DJ EQ ft Xzibit, Del The Funkee Homosapien & Casual : Three Emcees

I was listening to this tune in the days of downloading RealAudio files (ugh) onto floppy disks at university - and there was me thinking at the time how super-advanced that was! I think I prefer having a proper vinyl of this at last, thanks to the man Mikey Don :o) Three great West coast MCs grace EQ's beat - yes, some of you might only know X from "Pimp My Ride" but you need to go and do your homework! 

Eric Lau : Ill Invasion (Left Steppin') (Instrumental)

Detroit-influenced spacey head-nodder but coming out of London! This is the instrumental of the lead track on the "Dudley and Friends" 12" and just bumps along with a nice clean sound and just a hint of off-beatness in the rhythm. Yes, I just sounded like some kind of Hip-Hop wine critic... let me switch gears and say I had the pleasure of meeting Eric a few years ago when he was in Manchester and he's a thoroughly down-to-earth guy as well as talented - fair play to him!

Gil Scott-Heron : Pieces Of A Man

I'm not someone who owns the whole catalogue or anything, but out of all the Gil Scott-Heron tracks I've heard, this is my favourite. The way the world economy is at the moment, there are probably a lot of people who can relate to the lyrics at least in part. Haunting and powerful, it says a lot in few words.

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!

Direct download: Episode_24.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00pm EST

I know a lot of people are on Facebook so I've just created a "Page" which I'll hopefully be able to use to keep everyone up to date with what's going on! You can find it by clicking here. "Like" it and spread the word!

Category:general -- posted at: 4:43pm EST

Fresh Out The Box

"I'm the Eric Cartman of this rap sh!t"

- Jean Grae

This has been such a ridiculously heavy month for me out in the world it's untrue - probably the closest I've ever been to not being able to assemble the show on time but a few flashes of inspiration mean that once again the goodies arrive on time :o) 

PS - like the kicks?


The Alan Parsons Project : Sirius

I bet you never expected to hear these guys on the podcast - going Prog Rock to set it off this month :o) If you really know, you know this track straight away from the opening notes - if you don't know, then this is the music that was used as the intro music for the Chicago Bulls, so during that Jordan era all b-ball fans had this tune burned into their subconscious. I actually fancy turning this into the intro for the podcast itself perhaps...

Scarface : Born Killer (Instrumental)

Not sure who produced it, but a dope beat anyway! This track's from Scarface's first solo album "Mr Scarface Is Back," big early 90s release on Rap-a-Lot. They don't make 'em like this anymore, that's for sure...

Zapp : Heartbreaker

The weather's just getting right for a bit of funk! Classic opening tune from the "Zapp III" LP, obviously the full version is much longer and is definitely recommended! I say and I say again, Roger Troutman (RIP) was one of the best to ever do it - please let this documentary school you on the greatness.

LBC Crew ft. Roger : Beware Of My Crew

...and Roger himself comes back on this track to re-work the "Heartbreaker" opening line into a hook on some quasi-dubplate flex! First heard just a snatch of this way back in the day on some of Channel 4's NBA coverage and thought it was heavy but that was the end of it (pre-internet era, after all) until a copy turned up for me in a record shopping mission in London. This original version seems to be pretty absent from Youtube etc as well, so take this as a gift!

B.T.I : (Deadly) Serious

Yorkshire stand up! Breaking The Illusion (P-Wiz & TD) were probably the premier Hip-Hop crew in Leeds when I was coming up and this is a cut from their 1993 "Lose Your Illusion" EP. This tune brings a safe sex, anti-AIDS message over a very 90s, 80s-soul-sampling beat; Diamond may have just used it first but a whole lot of people came after, so you know these guys know about records! I used to buy records from P-Wiz back in the day when he had a shop in Leeds (remember "Urban Rhythm?") then after BTI he went on to DJ for The Kaliphz - and the last time I saw him, he was rhyming on stage at a KRS-ONE gig! Good to see veterans with the fire still burning!

Public Enemy : Nighttrain (Pete Rock LIRR Remix)

Quality Pete Rock remix which seems to have flown below the radar over the years; the remix of "Shut 'Em Down" which is from the same album is still loved 20 years later but I've got to admit I preferred this at the time! Chuck D (who yes, is one of the best MCs of all time, don't ever forget it) brings his fire and brimstone b-boy style on the mic, with a message as always (that just because someone looks like your "brother" doesn't mean they are), Flava Flav adds a contrast, CL Smooth ducks his head round the door for a few bars, and Pete Rock does a great job remixing a joint that had an incredible beat to begin with!

Parliament : Theme From The Black Hole

Played this in the car for a couple of friends who'd never heard it (I tried to hide my shock) and it went down a storm! There's a lot of incredible super-rare funk but you can never forget about the George Clinton-driven Parliament/Funkadelic juggernaut. This is one of their classics which has been used in many a Hip-Hop beat - I won't call any out here, it's your homework to go and spot the samples ;o)

(Stoupe) Jedi Mind Tricks : Retaliation (Remix Instrumental)

Love this instrumental, though it's one of those where for some reason they include the hook, so I just looped it up a bit to extend it. This remix is streets ahead of the original track and is definitely one of my all-time favourites from Stoupe, who really is amazing on production but just isn't that well known. A lot of that is probably down to him producing mostly within the JMT extended family, kind of how Havoc was with Mobb Deep in the early days, but anything he touches is worth a listen!

Raekwon : Big Spender

This has been a favourite of mine for a long time but it's not very well known - I think it was on one of Rae's "Vatican" mixtapes and I had an MP3 for ages before finding an unofficial vinyl pressing. As obvious as the sample is, I doubt it was cleared! To me this murders the "Big Spender" track that Freeway and Jay-Z did later - it was cool, but didn't use the sample as cleverly in my opinion! Besides, Raekwon's one of my favourite MCs and he flows crazy here :o)

Jean Grae ft. Kevin Hill, Edgar Allen Floe & Joe Scudda : Smashmouth

Heavy posse cut from probably my favourite female MC, one who's had an up-and-down relationship with the industry but never fallen off skill-wise. This is from her 9th Wonder-produced LP "Jeanius" which leaked early and I believe was canned as a result but eventually got a proper release, and 9th brings not only an appropriately aggro beat but a bunch of Justus League MCs to feature on it beside Jean. Smash indeed.
(PS - never invited for sleepovers Scudda? Can't think why...)

Jerry Beeks & DJ Audio Ad : Across The Moor

Quite a few of you will know that I've worked with Mr Bronx Slang Jerry Beeks in the past (and will do in the future) but this track is from his new collaboration album with his original tour DJ Audio Ad and it's a drum-heavy banger! Best of all, the whole album is available for free download here so go on and get a copy! 

Prodigy : Keep It Thoro (9th Wonder Remix)

One of the few 5-star tracks on my iPod, been rocking this for a long while but it was ages before I found a vinyl copy - it looks to be an unofficial 12" release of assorted 9th Wonder remixes. I personally prefer this to The Alchemist's original track, which is saying something as that's heavy in its own right. Good to see Prodigy home, hopefully there'll be a new Mobb Deep LP before long.

(DJ EMZ) Hom : You Won't Get It (Instrumental) 

This right here presses my quiet menace buttons! I got this on a sampler 12" for the "Stimulated Volume 1" compilation but it was a bit light on credits; had to head over to Discogs to find who produced this. The lyrics on the full version? Forgettable. The beat? Undeniable.

Neek The Exotic & Large Professor : Still On The Hustle

Noisemaker Media, who did the video for this, posted it on Facebook and I only had to hear 20 seconds of it to go and buy a download! Large Pro kills it on the beat and puts in a nice contribution on the mic alongside Neek, who you might have heard on Main Source's "Fakin' The Funk." This is the title track from a full-length Neek/Extra P collaboration album coming out soon, which sounds like an essential purchase!

GZA ft. Method Man : Shadowboxing

"Amplified sample through vacuum tubes' compressions cause RZA to charge n****s 20 Gs a session..." Take that all you Dr Seuss, Mother Goose rappers! Obviously older and more raw-sounding than the preceding track, but with that bassline, the little guitar licks and the vocal sample it seemed like a great choice to follow it with! Definitely one of the best tracks on the classic "Liquid Swords" album (an essential for your collection). GZA played in Manchester this month so we had the pleasure of seeing this performed live, assuming you didn't pass out due to excess heat and a lack of water...

Ambersunshower : Serengeti Plains

Not a super well-known artist, but if you remember a group called Groove Garden, she was one of the members. Her first album "Walter T. Smith" is absolutely worth having if you find a copy (it's on Spotify actually, if you want a listen first), you could say it was "neo soul" before the term really got any traction, or you could just call it "soul" :o) "Running Song" was the lead single and was the track that sparked me to buy this album when I saw it years ago...can't find an international Youtube link for it but that's a great tune too.

L The Head Toucha : Too Complex

1997 underground classic 12", produced by the Vinyl Reanimators. Ok, I hate the 7-bar intro (can't we have just one more bar?) and the corresponding unpredictable drops into the hook, but DJ complaints aside, this is a serious record! Just ask DJ Premier, who included it on his ridiculously dope "New York Reality Check 101" mixtape. Straight-up drums on top of the Don Blackman loop, funky De La Soul cuts on the hook and an MC who just rhymes and rhymes...and then rhymes some more...

Twizted Rootz : Harakiri

One of the top young beatmakers in Manchester with another of his trademark nicely heavy, Eastern-flavoured beats. Check him out at

Saigon ft. Marsha Ambrosius : It's Alright

One of the standout tracks on the brilliant "The Greatest Story Never Told," an emotional track where Saigon (the co-originator of the "Abandoned Nation" concept and foundation) painting a picture of a people feeling effectively abandoned by their god and struggling in the world. Kanye West came in to do the production on this one (Just Blaze does the bulk of the album) and he takes it back a little to his soul-sampling, less left-field style of a few years ago and combines it with the excellent arrangement skill he's worked hard to acquire. The final 40 secs or so are a great musical climax and have had me rewinding repeatedly just to soak in the feeling...great work.

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!

Direct download: Episode_23.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 1:00am EST

Don't be mad, UPS is hiring...

"Fast like Ramadan"

- Biggie

March 2011, 14 years after the death of the Notorious B.I.G - doesn't seem like that long ago. This show is sprinkled with a few gems from his catalogue, one you'll certainly know and others that you likely don't! Besides that, there's a track from the late Nate Dogg, the Michael Jordan of the hook, and plenty of other bits - quite a few obscure selections this month, but all very fresh in my humble opinion :o)


Ras Kass & Doo Wop : If This World Was Mine

Kicking things off for the month, a track which would probably have been more accurately titled "If I Could Turn Back Time"; Doo Wop is perhaps something of an unlikely choice of MC partner for Ras Kass, being known primarily as a DJ though he has picked up the mic before as part of The Diaz Brothers. Anyway, he opens the track with a re-imagining of March 9, 1997 where he stops the killing of Biggie Smalls, and Ras Kass follows up with a wish to be able to mentor his childhood self before spreading out to cover even more topics. Pete Rock brings a low key beat which I think fits the mood just right.

(Ayatollah) B-1 ft. Large Professor : Put Yourself In My Place (Instrumental)

I'm still working out the best way to label/credit these instrumentals! If you're looking for this 12", it's by B-1 and features Large Professor, but is produced by Ayatollah (going under his previous name of Kool G). Anyway, it's a nice bluesy track with that killer vocal sample - the origin of which won't be revealed here, but I'm sure you can find out where it's from as this month's homework assignment :o) The B-side of this ("Hustle") is phenomenally ill also, on a kind of smoothed-out late 90s crime tip - one for a future episode.

Smith & Mighty ft. Rudy Lee : No Justice

Bristol bass for real on this one, with a little reggae flavour and just a hint of D&B! The vocalist Rudy Lee dedicates this track to his brother, who was badly injured in a racist attack.

Photek presents Choc Ty ft. Chiara : We Got Heat

What you know 'bout this one? Nothing*. That's cool though, that's what I'm here for ;o) The St.Albans born, currently LA resident drum & bass programming genius comes out with something totally unexpected, a tough, dark Hip-Hop beat which sounds like it should have been on the soundtrack to "Terminator!"
* If you do know this one, I'm officially impressed.

213 : Keep It Gangsta

RIP Nate Dogg! I never worked out why this album ("The Hard Way") wasn't huge - Snoop Dogg, Nate Dogg, & Warren G all in the same group? Craziness. This is my favourite cut from the album, the production (by B Sharp) is somehow slick and squelchy all at the same time. Yes, some of the lyrics are scandalous, but that's par for the course...

E-40 ft. Leviti : 1-Luv

Staying in California for this pick, but taking it up to Vallejo, a great single from the "In A Major Way" album. This was one of the first, if not the first E-40 records I ever owned - I saw just a slice of the video on cable once and was glad to come across the vinyl a few years later. His career has been long and he has a lot of respect from those who really know Hip-Hop - do yourself a favour and search out his stuff. Studio Ton on production here, and Leviti puts the icing on things with the hook - wouldn't have been as good without it.

Bob James : Macumba

Awesome bit of African-influenced jazz fusion! Bob James, for those who don't know, is a big name in the jazz world but also in Hip-Hop production due to some of the tracks he wrote/performed on being absolute production staples; the two that stand out are "Nautilus" and "Take Me To The Mardi Gras" which have been sampled many, many times. This track is from his 1982 album "Hands Down" and is notable for a few reasons - not only does it subtly feature vocals from Patti Austin and Luther Vandross, but it was written by Rod Temperton, the legendary songwriter known best for his work with Michael Jackson on some of his best-known recordings. If I had been responsible for "Rock With You" and "Thriller," not to mention worked with Quincy Jones, Michael McDonald and Anita Baker, I would carry a championship belt around all day ;o) By all accounts, the Cleethorpes native is incredibly low-key - admirable.

The Notorious B.I.G : Kick In The Door

One of the undeniable classic Biggie tracks, with DJ Premier flipping the time signature on the Screamin' Jay Hawkins sample to give the big man a strong base to roast the opposition - quotable after quotable on this one. I've read in numerous places before that amongst the targets on this track are Jeru The Damaja and Premier himself ("son, I'm surprised you run with them...") after the whole "Ya Playin' Yaself" thing...can anyone confirm or refute that?

Money Boss Players : Games

Selection from the "America Is Dying Slowly" AIDS benefit compilation, which was a great collection of tracks but had two main problems; 1) no female MCs, so the whole thing came from a male perspective, and 2) some of the tracks had absolutely nothing to do with AIDS whatsoever - and this is one. However, it is a banger and so I'm glad to have it. The beat is by Minnesota and it's a solid piece for the MCs to kick street rhymes on. Want to know more about them? Check Unkut!

Heavy D, The Notorious B.I.G & Troo-Kula : Jam Session

"I'm strippin' like Scottie Pippen, giving a serious butt-kicking, breaking bones like Karl Malone - yes, I'm flippin!" Whoooaa! If you're a 90s NBA head you might recognise this track from NBA Video's "Jam Session" VHS tape, and what's more you'll be glad to hear it without the highlight clip sounds all over it! Biggie hadn't properly blown up when this came out and it was my man Mr. Mari who was going crazy telling us all how crazy this new guy Biggie was - definitely the best on this track, hands down. Heavy D is the actual headliner here, and he drops some lyrics for sure but has to settle for second place. I don't know who Troo-Kula is but he must be somebody to be given the whole third verse to himself! Jesse West is on production and brings in the infamous (and excellent) sample from Guy's "Teddy's Jam 2" which I will really have to play on here one month....

Leschea : How We Stay / The Notorious B.I.G : Dreams

Great head nodding track - and the way she sings that hook just sticks in my head! Leschea was part of Masta Ace's INC crew and he produces this one under the name Ase One, using a classic barely-midtempo break for her to do her thing on. This is another track I caught on a cable video programme back home when they were kind of working out what kind of thing to show! It didn't blow up over here so it's not the easiest record to find, so I treasure my copy...
Just blended in over the little instrumental break is a snatch of Biggie's infamous "Dreams" track which is based on the same sample and got Uptown Records pretty mad at him for the lyrical content when he was over there by all accounts! As far as I know this was never officially released, but I have a promo vinyl and I'm sure there are a fair number floating about.

Large Pro : Pun Tres Leches

A little something from his "Beatz : Volume 1" album; I'm going to take a wild unsubstantiated guess based on the track title that this might at one time have been the beat for Big Pun's "Tres Leches" from his debut album, but maybe that's what I'm supposed to think ;o) Heavy beat anyway!

The Notorious B.I.G & DJ Enuff : P***i Freestyle

(They get enough free advertising just from the audio)

Biggie even makes product placement sound good! He recorded this advert but shortly after was arrested and so it was never used. The company in question does seem to have a history of running from Black endorsers at the first sign of trouble; Michael Jackson and Ludacris, anyone? As far as the tune goes, DJ Enuff's beat is quality and Biggie's flow is impeccable - they missed out when they didn't use this.

Kool G Rap ft. The Rza : Cakes 

I was sold just by the title :o) Great tune from the "Ghost Dog" soundtrack, just a loop and two MCs killing it with the flows. All Hip-Hop heads should already know about both these guys!

Joell Ortiz ft. Big Daddy Kane, Maino, Cashmere, Solomon : Brooklyn (Remix)

Joell Ortiz performed in Manchester this month and probably made a few new fans with his performance! Definitely one of the best MCs to come out in the last few years and I love this track from his "The Brick Bodega Chronicles" CD. All the guests do their thing, but it was an especially nice treat to hear the legend Big Daddy Kane on here, showing the young 'uns how to do it! This track cuts off kind of abruptly after his verse, otherwise I'd have started the mix out of this tune a few bars later. Big props to Joell for getting him on here and not being afraid! : Em A Double Dee (Instrumental)

Peter Rosenberg of the Juan Epstein podcast had an excellent line on this guy - "he uses his powers for evil!" He can make some beats when he really wants to (this is from his BBE producer album) but as for BEP...ehhh.

Blue Boy : Remember Me

Big 1997 club and chart tune - for some reason I thought it was older! For ages when this came out, as I remember, the actual identity of "Blue Boy" was a mystery but since then it has emerged that he is in fact the DJ Lex Blackmore. This was his only big hit as a main performer but what a hit! Still dope today, and if your neck isn't moving when you hear this, it had better be in a brace :o)

Marlena Shaw : Woman Of The Ghetto (Live)

...and here's the original sample. This info is already out there so I'm not blowing anyone up here :o) I've only played the very end of the track, starting from the "remember me" sample, but the full thing is about 10 minutes long and definitely worth hearing. Marlena Shaw is probably best known for "California Soul," and is still performing today! I missed her last time she was in Manchester but need to try and catch her live.

(Javon) Killah Priest : Big World (Instrumental)

Just picked it out while going through records this month and after giving it a quick listen thought it was worth a spin!

Terence Blanchard : Wading Through

Dedicated to all those in Japan; this is a sombre piece from "A Tale Of God's Will," New Orleans trumpeter/bandleader/composer Terence Blanchard's score for Spike Lee's masterwork "When The Levees Broke : A Requiem In Four Parts." Absolutely brilliant album that I'd recommend to anyone for a listen, especially if you fancy a change of pace.

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!

Direct download: Episode_22.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 12:30pm EST

Blowin' Up The Spot

"Whole body blingin' like 3PO."

- J Dilla

A quiet month for me personally (day job excluded) but a huge month for the world - big changes in the Middle East have had me even more glued to Al-Jazeera than usual! Music-wise, this month has marked the fifth anniversary of the passing of the great J Dilla aka Jay Dee, and so I thought I'd include a few of my favourite Dilla tracks that don't usually make it onto the lists or the tribute mixes. Of course, there are plenty of other goodies too, so turn up the volume and take it all in...


Jay Dee ft. Lacks & Big Tone : It's Like That

Simple on the surface, outrageously funky beat from the "Welcome 2 Detroit" album, the first of the "Beat Generation" producer series on BBE Records. DJ Jazzy Jeff said in a Wax Poetics interview that it was actually a little frightenting to be given the degree of freedom that was being offered, and both he and Kenny Dope allowed Dilla to be first to release, and he set the tone for everyone else - says a lot about him I think.

J-Zone/Apathy & Celph Titled : Nut Reception (Instrumental)

Straightforward but very dope instrumental off a 1981 funk break, also to be found on Yo-Yo & Ice Cube's "Bonnie & Clyde Theme." Great beat but not even one of his best, J-Zone is that dude when it comes to production, in case you didn't know...

Pete Rock ft. Kardinal Offishall : We Good

Chopmania on this Pete Rock production, you can just imagine his fingers flying over the MPC pads on this one! Kardinal Offishall brings the vocal heat here, one of my favourite MCs without question - keep an eye out for his releases.

Camp Lo : Sun Kiss

Killer B-Side from the Lo, on the flip of "Army," with both tracks appearing on the hard to find Japan-only released "Short Eyes" EP. Following on from Pete Rock's rapid guitar stabs on the last track, Tribeca is the producer here with a pad-smacking MPC assault for Sonny Cheeba & Geechi Suede to flip styles over, and as always, they deliver the goods. Lo-ah!

Sadat X ft. Agallah : Stack Up

Nottingham's own P Brothers provide the beat here and it's an old school/new school gem which is all the better for the presence of the Bronx veteran X and Brooklyn's Agallah. I almost forgot I had this on vinyl!

Natural Elements : 2 Tons

Drums and flows - sometimes you don't need much else. Dope single from one of the greatest groups never to make it big, and definitely a group I would love to see get back together! MCs would be cowering in fear...

Mixmaster Mike¿Agent Scanner 12?

I'm a bit puzzled on this one - it's from Mike's "Eye Of The Cyclops" 12" which is an amazingly confusingly-labelled record - it's hard to tell what's a title and what isn't, and where tracks begin and end; this is my best guess!

Reks : 25th Hour

Shout out to Lee Majors for putting me up on this one first! The MC from Lawrence, MA (not Boston, got it right this time!) is forceful and kind of low-key at the same time over this DJ Premier track. This is available as a digital release but not sure if there's a vinyl of it. Not a club track of course but one for deep personal listening, all day.

J Boogie's Dubtronic Science : Ritual Of The Nile

An appropriately Egyptian-themed track - I know nothing about J Boogie but with current events it seemed like a good time to play this! It's a cut taken from the Om Records "Deeper Concentration" compilation, which is comprised of slightly left-field instrumental and turntable cuts from the era when turntablism was beginning to gain in popularity. It's not an album I play every week but if you see it cheap, might be worth a spin!

J Dilla : Won't Do

Climax Pt.2? Dilla with an ode to not even threesomes now, but foursomes! The quote from this track at the top of this blog post is one of my favourite lines, and the production is, as you'd expect, top notch. The drums from the Isley Brothers' "Footsteps In The Dark" are centre stage and little slivers of the rest of that track flash through the spacey beat on this one.

Mary J. Blige : Every Day It Rains

Dopeness from the soundtrack to "The Show." I think I might have heard this on Westwood's show when it first came out and liked it straight away, even in my teenage R&B-hating years! Can't front on Mary though, especially over that break...

Michael Jackson : Human Nature & J Dilla : Inhuman Nature

Just a taste of the classic MJ tune to set you up for the fresh Dilla sample flip - top work from the MPC master. Unfortunately, this was never released and by the sounds of things never mixed either; a shame as I would have loved to hear this with MCs on, at release quality - maybe Nas would have been a good pick?

Jay Dee ft Frank N Dank : Move

B-Side of the "F**k The Police" 12", doesn't seem to be very popular but I preferred this track for a long time; just a really dark, slightly off-balance, menacing beat with plenty of space left for the vocals - or for scratching, if you have the instrumental. Classic Detroit.

Fakts One ft. Little Brother : Grown Folks

"Simon says 'shut the F**K up' when you try to rhyme"...oooooohhhh! Phonte and Big Pooh of Little Brother go in hard on this beat from Boston's Fakts One (who you may know from The Perceptionists). In particular, when Phonte decides to put the smack down on the proverbial sucker MC or any other subject of his ire for that matter, you might as well call the ambulance.

J Dilla ft. Pacific Division : Fantasy

Taken from the version I have of Dilla's "Jay Love Japan" EP - I understand there are a few. The slight off-beatness of this makes it slightly awkward to mix, but it's worth it for all the flavour on here, not least the Art Of Noise "Moments In Love" sample between verses. Beautiful!

Miguel Atkins-Ferguson & Orchestra : Don't Nobody Care About Us

Now this is the kind of thing that could bring me to an orchestral performance; fantastic re-interpretation of Dilla's production on the Phat Kat track of the same title. This concert was performed in 2009 but the "Suite For Ma Dukes" album only emerged the following year. On this project, Miguel Atkins-Ferguson brings a 60-piece orchestra to play huge arrangements of some of Dilla's highlights; absolutely amazing stuff and absolutely worth buying if you're a fan of the man's music, or just good music full stop.

Gangrene (The Alchemist & Oh No) : Not High Enough

DJ A-Up was bugging out about the beat for this track on Facebook; I couldn't hear it straight away but after 40 seconds I understood what he meant - killer. Tense, melancholy, reflective all at the same time, one to throw on repeat. Oh No and Alchemist are two of the most interesting producers out and the "Gutter Water" album this is taken from sees them coming together to form "Gangrene" - more of this please!

Remember to support the artists! If there's anything you like here, search out more of their material and try to buy the stuff you like the most - whatever the format! Seeing the artists live whenever they're in your area is probably the best way to put money in their pocket, so if you can stretch to it in these recessionary times then that's a winner :o) If you have Spotify in your country, it's a great way to familiarise yourself with a vast sea of tunes...

Direct download: Episode_21.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 4:00pm EST

Neighbourhood Live Reggae Special, April 8th

It's time for another Neighbourhood special event! This time it's a Reggae special, though I and some of the other resident DJs will be spinning some neck-snapping Hip-Hop too :o) The venue is the Ruby Lounge (Manchester High Street, nr. Debenhams) and for your £4/£6 entry (depending on when you get there!), you'll get performances from;

  • Extra Love  - 10 piece band
  • Professor P (Freedom Masses)
  • Homegrown Effect

The host for the evening is Mega Ras and all the Neighbourhood residents will be in the place - myself, Omas, DJ Mischief, Longshot, Ed Speed, and Mind on Fire DJs.

The event runs from 10pm-4am - come on down and get your weekend started off right!


Category:events -- posted at: 4:48am EST


"Like my dun Ron-Ron Artest, we teach y'all 'bout wildin'..."

- Prodigy

"Start out on the street, end up in the court"

- Nick Javas

Just couldn't choose between these two quotes - but then they both go well together :o) Happy New Year everyone! This month the selection just seemed to come really easily for the most part; I've pulled out a fair amount of old-ish Hip-Hop and mixed it up with a few more modern pieces - anyone who knows them all really is a veteran!


JVC Force : Tear The Show Up

Starting off 2011 by taking it back to 1990! JVC  Force are indisputably best known for their mighty single "Strong Island" from 1987, but in my opinion this track is the best one they ever did. Yes, you heard me, better than "Strong Island." This is taken from their amazing (and criminally overlooked) second album "Force Field," which is one of the very first Hip-Hop albums I ever had (shout out to Dan Clarke) and is still one of my very favourite from the era. Please, if you love Hip-Hop with that classic essence, rush out and buy this one! To this day I listen to something from this album at least once a week, and it's one of my most prized vinyls. While the group disbanded some time ago, AJ Rock , B Luv, and Curt Cazal are all still involved in music in different capacities; Manchester listeners may be most familiar with Curt Cazal for the work he did with Grand Central in the late 90s.

Mark Ronson ft. Ghostface Killah & Nate Dogg : Ooh Wee (Instrumental)

Loved this when it came out, and I still do. Sped this up quite a bit to fit it into the mix but it's still a fair bit slower than the original Boney M sample it's based around. This one always works well in a club, if you've got enough other tunes fast enough to fit round it!

Above The Law : Untouchable

Back to 1990 :o) As I've probably said before, Above The Law are one of my all-time favourite groups and this track was my absolute favourite on their first album; I must have worn the tape out just running it back over and over again! The lead MC Cold 187um is responsible for the fire production (ignore all the misinformed fools who try to tell you Dr.Dre did their beats), and both he and KMG keep pace with their contrasting styles on the mic.

Hustlers HC : Let The Hustlers Play

Someone else is obviously an Above The Law fan, since they are sampled twice on this track! Asian flavour all over this hot 1993 UK track from a Sikh crew out of West London. This is the B-Side of the single "Big Trouble In Little Asia" and while it's not tackling heavy issues like the A-Side it is to me the far better track, production-wise at least. I grew up in an area where I'd hear a lot of Asian music and thought it worked really well when blended with the uptempo, drum/break-focused style of beats of the late 80s/early 90s. You're unlikely to see copies of this around now without specifically looking for it, so take this sample as a gift from the neglected corners of my record collection!

London Posse : Jump Around

Love this tune, though I've not included all six minutes of it! This is from the landmark 1990 UK Hip-Hop LP "Gangster Chronicle" which has one of my favourite album covers, besides anything else :o) I'm not sure what Bionic is doing these days, but those of you who keep up with UK Hip-Hop will know that Rodney P has continued to put out classic material to the present day!

Donald D : Rage Of The Rap Renegade

I am a Donald D fan. Back in my high school days I used to hear him as part of Ice-T's Rhyme $yndicate killing it on the mic, and his verse on "Fly By" (from the Ice-T "OG" album) is one of my all-time favourites, I learned it by heart back then! I ran into him by chance in Leeds before a KRS-ONE show and got the chance to tell him so, a big highlight of 2010 for me :o)

Buckshot LeFonque : James Brown (Pt. 1 & 2)

Buckshot LeFonque was a Branford Marsalis side-project, blending his style of jazz with Hip-Hop amongst other styles; if you ever wanted to hear live musicians playing jungle, for instance, you need to pick up the "Music Evolution" album!

Mobb Deep : Another Victory

I'd forgotten all about this one until it popped up when I was playing a stack of MP3s at random! It's from the soundtrack to the game "NBA Live 2004" (I'll just say that I have my own long history of handing out beatdowns on the NBA Live series from its inception) but despite that I think it's actually pretty good! It's also one of the rare Mobb tracks that's totally radio-friendly, and manages to not talk about any shooting...apart from a basketball!

DJ Jazzy Jeff ft. J-Live : Practice

The first of two tracks to sample the famous outburst from the much-maligned Allen Iverson. I remember reading somewhere (and this detail is generally wilfully unreported) that the trigger for the kickoff was that someone close to him had died. As far as this track, it's from the "Return Of The Magnificent" album and is the kind of smooth dopeness you expect from Jazzy Jeff, with J-Live on the vocals giving us the real story of the work that goes into a career in music.

Nick Javas : Not A Game

When I heard this track, I knew it was going to be on the show this month and I also knew what track had to precede it! DJ Premier comes in with a brilliant use of the Iverson quote and new artist Nick Javas uses it as a springboard to explore "games, " with plenty of sporting metaphors, similies, and double meanings along the way; the second verse is amazing. This is from the Year Round Records compilation "Get Used To Us," essential listening for those who like that hard Hip-Hop!

Evidence : Ragtime

Nice piano beat taken from the "Yellow Tape Instrumentals" vinyl. Evidence of Dilated people tends to be somewhat underrated as an MC and as a producer, he's done some heavy tracks over the years.

Soul II Soul : Back To Life (Accapella) & Masta Ace : Jeep Ass N!guh (Bizcapella) (Instrumental)

A little blend for you! If you have a copy of the Soul II Soul album, you'll know that it's actually an accapella and it's only the single versions that have music (and the vocals were re-recorded). This has been much sampled over the years for one reason - it sounds amazing. Soul II Soul are one of the great innovative British groups who found success here and abroad by creating their own lane.
Blended with that is the awesome beat from the remix of Masta Ace's ode to the auto sound system; of course there was the original jazzy album version, plus the retitled "Born To Roll" version which are both cool. Some people prefer those versions, it's just that those people are wrong ;o) Essential 12" for your collection, no question. On top of that I've just sprinkled a little seasoning to make the whole thing mwah!

Lexxus : Divine Reasoning

I'm not someone who follows the latest dancehall releases or anything, but when I find a tune I like I run with it! I loved Lexxus' "Ring Mi Cellie" and picked up a copy on 12" to play out, but on the B-side found this killer. Big tune from Mr.Lex! *airhorn*

T La Rock : Lyrical King (From The Boogie Down Bronx)

(Loving the bracketed bit) Taking it back to the 80s with one of the overlooked greats, T La Rock of "It's Yours" fame. This is the title track from his first album and showcases vintage production from Kurtis Mantronik. Plenty of you wouldn't have been born when this was released, which is pretty freaky to think about...

Archive : All Time

Keeping the 808 beat going with this one, but on a very different vibe. I still need to play you their amazing "Nothing Else," but this tune holds down this spot perfectly. You may not know them, but Archive are a UK group originally formed by former members of Genaside II - their main style has generally been what is often called "trip-hop" but they're very versatile. Definitely worth digging into!

Unwrapped : Flava In Ya Ear

Jazz cover version wind-down business! I came across Unwrapped a few years ago; they basically do live instrument, jazzified covers of rap tracks (hence the name), and have six albums out which hardly anyone I know seem to have even heard of, much less heard! This version of Craig Mack's "Flava In Ya Ear" will never challenge the original for supremacy in my ears at least, but I thought it was fairly interesting!

E-40 : Practice Looking Hard

I've been hanging onto this one a while, decided this would be the month through it - a nice relaxed wind-down to the episode. E-40 is a veteran from Vallejo, California who started off doing his thing independently and was one of the pioneers in that respect, building his fan base with a lot of hard work and no major backing. This is from his third LP "The Mail Man," and it's a great track about having to keep up a tough facade for the world. The sample for the hook comes from Boots Riley of The Coup - another Bay Area act well worth checking out!

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!

Direct download: Episode_20.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:22pm EST


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February 2011
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