Teaching Civilisation

"Salute, pay homage, pay your respects"

- Rakim

With the truly great Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela returning to the essence this month, I decided to dedicate this episode to him. Not every song is necessarily directly relevant, but hopefully the overall arc works.

Rest In Power Madiba. Amandla!


Playlist/Notes

Soweto Gospel Choir : Nkosi Sikelel'iAfrika

A short (only the first verse), and different kind of start to this month's episode - and really, the only song I could have started with. Composed in 1897 by Ernest Sontonga in the Xhosa language, this song was the offical anthem of the African National Congress during the Apartheid era and parts of it have now been incorporated into the current South African national anthem. Recorded many times as you might expect, this beautiful acappella version comes from the Grammy-winning Soweto Gospel Choir, and they do it justice.

Prince Far I : Royal Palace

Was going to blend this with the song above, but decided against. The late Jamaican deejay Prince Far I was no stranger to politically-themed work, and this comes from his final album, entitled "Umkhonto We Sizwe (Spear Of The Nation)," named after the ANC's military wing, founded in 1961. Subtly dubbed-out, nice warm-up before launching into something much more energetic...

Public Enemy : Prophets Of Rage

The mentions of Mandela and Thatcher (who also died this year, and who decried him as a "terrorist") get this one included! Once again, the "It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back" album gives us a quality tune for the show. This is very much an album cut rather than a single, and showcases the Bomb Squad production style - samples upon samples :)

X Clan : A Day Of Outrage, Operation Snatchback

Super-hard track from the classic "To The East Blackwards" LP, incorporating the Billy Squier "Big Beat" drums that the younger listeners might recognise from their use by Dizzee Rascal. Lyrically, this track is specifically based around the "Day Of Outrage" protest in Brooklyn in 1989, when demonstrators occupied the Brooklyn Bridge after the murders of Yusuf Hawkins in New York and the Black Panthers co-founder Huey P. Newton in Oakland. Professor X of X-Clan (Lumumba Carson) is the son of Sonny Carson, who was one of the organisers of the protest, so there's very much a direct connection.

Brand Nubian : All For One

Title track from the debut Brand Nubian album - gets the nod mostly on the title and the pedigree of the group more so than for the overall content, though they do quietly drop some knowledge in there! This track was early enough that Sadat X was still going by the name "Derek X," but even at this stage he was already standing out as my favourite MC from the crew. They handled their own production on this one, based around a nice little James Brown sample.

Jasiri X : Mandela (Listen To What The Drums Say)

Jasiri X is often the first off the mark with a track capturing the mood of the moment, and he doesn't disappoint here with his personal tribute released the very next day after Mandela's passing. Freely available on Bandcamp, and produced by London's Agent Of Change, based on the sonics it could easily be called "Listen To What The Bass Says" - very active at the low end!

Damu The Fudgemunk : Rather Unique 2

One for my Washington DC listeners! This is an instrumental I've had hanging around for a little while and thought might work well! In the "hook" (so far as it exists), it's based on Pete Rock's production on AZ's "Rather Unique," but then takes on an entirely different character in the "verse" sections. Nice production from Damu, who is obviously nice on the MPC but is also the DJ for Panacea, so clearly gets busy on the cuts too! You can get this on the 2008 "Spare Time" mixtape, though I understand this beat was a few years old even then.

Jeru The Damaja ft. Afu-Ra : Mental Stamina

The title was what got this one the nod this month - surviving 27 years inside under that kind of pressure would require an awesome amount of mental stamina. This is an album cut from Jeru's debut "The Sun Rises In The East," and he goes back and forth with his protege Afu-Ra just kicking lyrics. The DJ Premier beat is the kind of head-nodding but unconventional in the foreground thing he was doing a lot of around this time; and pay attention to the drums - chopped up from Michael Jackson's "Billie Jean!"

Life & Nappa : Soldiers

Life is definitely one of my favourite UK MCs and he lights up the mic here atop the production of fellow Phi Life Cypher member Nappa, with an anthem for everyone who fights in their own sphere. Picked this up on a digging mission in London the other day on DJ Skitz' "Homegrown Vol.1" release - made it worth the effort!

The Mouse Outfit ft. Sparkz & Bedos : Revolution

Something local! From their "Check Your Pulse" EP, this one musically revolves around the bass and that flute on the chorus, with everything else slotting seamlessly around. As with Mouse Outfit stuff in general, the MC lineup shifts around and on this one we have Sparkz leading it off and the big man Bedos of In The Loop giving us a verse in French (his first language). A few of you might be able to appreciate both verses equally...I might need to chase up Bedos so I can catch the content as well as his flow!

dead prez : Together

Not a well known dead prez track, so that makes it perfect for me to include! Shouting out American political prisoners, M-1 and Stic.man speak on the themes of collective resistance and solidarity. I notice that the kids on the hook, thankfully, arent totally accurate on the call-and-response ;) The Ghetto Pros (V.I.C and Mike Heron) are on production with some acoustic guitar-led flavour, and this track comes from their little-known "Ghetto Pros Presents..." LP, which is worth seeking out if you like that no-nonsense NY style. You can also find this on a 12", but I've only ever seen it online. These guys are coming to Manchester on February 10th, and I'd recommend trying to get down there!

Apple Juice Kid : Transition

Low-key instrumental inspired by a different revolution, the Egyptian one. Apple Juice Kid might be a North Carolina native but he conjures up a hint of the North African vibes on this one, then adds a little extra weight. His "Beats Of A Revolution" soundtrack has plenty more like this, so you know what to do if you want more...

Rakim : Madiba

Brand new track from one of the greatest to ever do it, released as part of the promo effort for the Mandela biopic "Long Walk To Freedom." Interesting writing process on this one; Complex mag invited fans to contribute lyrics, which Rakim then weaved in amongst his own - so very much a collective effort. As far as can be done in under five minutes, it's pretty comprehensive; but take it as a spur for some reading homework if there's anything that sounds unfamiliar!

Junior Reid : One Blood

If you're not familiar with this track, you may well know the Wu-Tang track "One Blood Under W" which interpolates it, and actually features Junior himself. A song of unity, starting at the Jamaican level and then going all the way worldwide, it was a perfect track to put in this month. Junior Reid was the lead singer of the crucial reggae group Black Uhuru, but he goes it alone on this 1989 hit; I've heard that this is a remix, but it's not labelled as such. However, check that bassline, a replay of the killer on Dennis Edwards/Siedah Garrett's "Don't Look Any Further." Good choice. 

Bus ft. MC Soom-T : Keep Life Right (Dabrye Remix)

I'd be willing to bet most people I know who "know" this tune actually never heard this vocal version! The instrumental made some noise in the Manchester underground with it's appearance on the Dabrye "Additional Productions Vol.1" EP, and it was several years later before I heard the track it was from properly. As such, I know a lot more about Dabrye than Bus or Soom-T, but with a bit of research, it seems that Soom-T has a fairly deep discography, and the original of this track was on the 2003 Bus & Soom-T album "Middle Of The Road." This remix is serious business though, a real speaker mover - if you have access to a big system, try it out...

Pharoahe Monch ft. Showtyme, MeLa Machinko, Tower Of Power : Push

Some upliftment and encouragement here to persevere through those tough times on this first single from the "Desire" album. I thought this was a bit of an odd choice for a single as it's not "catchy" in the classic sense, and Pharoahe isn't melting down the mic on it either - but that's not to say I don't enjoy it! He self-produces this one, but pulls a blinder getting the veterans Tower Of Power in to play the horns; that's production in the traditional sense, knowing what you need and getting the personnel in to execute your plan. 

Patrick O'Hearn : Crossing The Divide

It was at this time last year I first played Patrick O'Hearn on the podcast, and here he is again with another incredible instrumental - I think this might have been the first track of his I'd ever heard. Second track on his 1996 "Metaphor" album, I just love the swelling keyboards over the acoustic backing.

Ice-T : Prepared To Die

When I decided to do this episode, this along with "Prophets Of Rage" were the first two Hip-Hop tracks that immediately sprang to mind. This short spoken word piece came from Ice-T's 1991 "O.G Original Gangster" album, released fifteen months after Mandela walked out of Victor Verster prison. He did eventually get that Nobel prize mentioned here - while he had to share it with De Klerk...everyone knows the deal.


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_55.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 11:33am EST

Air/Predator

"The only test is to survive..."

- Patrick

Got some interesting combinations this month I think! For a long while I've wanted to do a mix that started and ended with two particular songs that share the same name, and finally I found a good time to do it. There's a good mix of dramatic and laid-back production, a few legends, and some real corner-of-the-shelves finds. With that said, let's see what we have this month...


Playlist/Notes

Snowgoons ft. Smif-n-Wessun & Respect The God : Casualties Of War

Darkly-accented way to open the episode from the "Black Snow" LP, which is another showcase of the Snowgoons' production style. The Boot Camp Clik vets Tek and Steele come through on some street business, and Respect Tha God from Jeru's Perverted Monks crew gets it done on the hook. Production-side, that recurring operatic sample is the one - great element to build the track around.

[Tragedy Khadafi] Capone-n-Noreaga : Parole Violators (Instrumental)

One of the better beats from their thug classic debut; there's a piece on the vocal version which means I'll never play it on the podcast, but enjoy this instrumental! This is a Tragedy Khadafi beat, but it sounds like mid-90s Havoc (who mixed it, actually) all the way - real Queensbridge.

Frameworks & BluRum 13 : Moonlighting (Rondo Brothers Remix)

Manchester's My First Moth records have been putting out quality local material for a while now and this is a combination of MCR talent with someone outside our direct sphere. Local production head Frameworks links up with BluRum13 (who you may know from his work with DJ Vadim) here, with the remix coming courtesy of the Bay Area's Rondo Brothers. I love this one, taken from the very reasonably priced "Brickbuilders: The Remixes" collabo album; got a clean, technical sound to it.

Scram Jones : Wildstyle

I've never been quite sure how to judge Scram Jones as an MC. That said, he's not someone who's always out there and in your face so I'm pretty OK with the fact that he gets the urge to jump on the mic on what are, after all, his own tracks! This is a new one from his free "Dead Giveaway" mixtape. Overall a nice track, with some outrageous scratching going on - good to hear some fader skills nowadays!

2Tall : The Rise

I used to see 2Tall on the turntablist message boards back in the late 90s/early 2000s resurgence in scratching, and was lucky enough to get to know him in the real world through the turntablist/battling scene - as cool a guy as you could hope to find. He's been a serious DMC competitor, and this track is from that era; shows his scratching skills but also his production, which he's carried on and expanded in the following years. You may know him by the name Nyquist, or Om Unit - a man of many guises, but always top skill!

Shaquille O'Neal ft. Ice Cube, B-Real, Peter Gunz, & KRS-ONE : Men Of Steel

A tune that makes you think first "how did they get all these MCs on one track?" and then "how did Shaq get to be in charge?" NBA legend Shaquille O'Neal certainly could never be accused of passing up opportunities that came his way, and this is the main track from the soundtrack of "Steel" - a superhero film he starred in. I haven't seen it, and I bet you probably haven't either. Anyway, he'd been rhyming for a while by this point, and was a reasonable rapper, but nowhere near the same level as his guests on here! Poke and Tone (aka Trackmasterz) on the beat.

Tall Black Guy : The Big Payback

The Detroit-born, UK-based TBG strikes again with another ferocious beat flip, this time taking the knife to James Brown's classic revenge anthem. He's dropping quality material right now, and with his debut LP "8 Miles to Moenart" hitting the shelves, hopefully more people will recognise!

Wu-Tang Clan : Wu-Tang 7th Chamber, Part II

With this month marking twenty years since the release of the debut Wu album - which few realised would launch such a dominant force in the scene as it did - I thought it was a good time to break out one of the most rugged and raw bangers from that LP. RZA grips the ASR-10's Van Der Pol filter by the neck, forces it through a guitar amp, and produces the grittiest baseline of that already-grimy record. This was a great closing tune for the album and is still much appreciated by those who know. Roughness.

DJ Shadow ft The Federation & Animaniaks : Turf Dancing

I needed a bridge between the roughness of the last track and the clean electronicness of the next one - that also maintained the speed - and that gave me chance to pull this one! This is from Shadow's "The Outsider" album, where he embraced the "hyphy" sound of his Bay Area home, which might have wrong-footed the style mags but showed his versatility as far as I was concerned! Scene stalwarts The Federation smash all over the beat alongside the only recorded appearance I can find of The/Animaniaks, all with energy in buckets. I already know some of you will hate this, but hopefully a few will enjoy it!

Scritti Politti : A Place We Both Belong

I love Scritti but only heard this for the first time this month - a relatively recent track which was only released as part of their greatest-hits compilation "Absolute." David Gamson (who did some production for Roger Troutman on the "Bridging The Gap" LP) gets very busy on the keyboards/drum programming and of course, the incomparable Green Gartside provides his unmistakeable vocals. I only wish they released records more frequently, but at least it makes it easy for you to grab them all - which you should ;)

Robert Glasper Experiment ft. Common & Patrick Stump : I Stand Alone

After finally discovered Robert Glasper a month or two back, it turned out he had a new album on the way - another dope release that's been getting heavy rotation from me since I got it. Common leads the way vocally with some uplifting lyrics, and then we have a highly unexpected guest appearance from Stump - the lead singer from Fallout Boy. He definitely gets it done on the hook though, had it stuck in my head all month. The final little accent on the track is the long breakdown section with a sample of a speech by Michael Eric Dyson about Black individuality and striving for originality and excellence; a nice addition I think!

King I Divine : Slick Pavement

Chilled piano beat here, taken from King's recent "Reign Showers" beat tape. The Queens-born, Atlanta-based MPC1000 hitter is pretty new to me, but from listening to this compared with older releases, I think you can definitely hear a refinement sonically, especially in the drums - the kicks, snares, and hats on this track are just right :)

Celph Titled & Buckwild : Miss Those Days

If you never heard the "Nineteen-Ninety Now" album, you should - Celph Titled got the veteran DITC producer to dig back in his disks of original 90s unused beats and bring them to the table for him to spit over in the modern day, which was an excellent idea. This is definitely one of the more relaxed cuts from the project, and a nice stroll down memory lane lyrically - quite a few things to make the older heads smile! On the cuts to end the track, you have the former X-Man/X-Ecutioner Mista Sinista; I've always been a fan of his beat juggling, but he certainly reminds you here he can get down when it comes to pure scratching. 

Redman : Lost Ones (Freestyle)

Redman steals a beat from Jay-Z "New Jersey Drive" style and goes in with some lyrics representing his home state. Got this on an unofficial pressing, not sure if there's an official release you can find this on!

HKB Finn : The Path To Inner Peace

Was digging and digging for a good slowdown track and picked up my copy of the ambitious "Vitalistics" album (which had never got a proper run) to search for something new to me and came out with this zen-flavoured beauty :) Finn (formerly of Katch 22) can be heard occasionally in the background of this one, but officially, the main production is credited to Tunde Jegede, who plays multiple instruments and is also a classical composer, amongst other things. Helped along with the heavy kick drum and a much lighter touch on the snare, unplug from the rest of the world to listen to this one...

Questionmark Asylum : Hey Lookaway

A quiet little 90s gem! This tune blew up on the low at the time but the crew pretty much dropped off the radar shortly afterwards - still, one hit is more than most aspiring musicians ever make! This four-man group came out of Washington DC, which was mostly known for go-go, and represented for their city well. Unfortunately, crew member Ding Ding passed away a few years ago, and as far as I know, none of the others are active musically. As far as this tune, they kick a laid-back, almost sing-songy style over a beat based around the well-used "Thoughts Of An Old Flame" sample - perfect backing.

Rithma : (The Only) Dark In The Light (Steve Sampling Mix)

I think this was another late-night, insomnia-fuelled discovery on internet radio - all about the deep, rich bass and lead synth line, this is just beautiful production work. I got this download from the Om Lounge 15th Anniversary collection, and on the strength of this might just buy the whole thing!

Boot Camp Clik : Casualties Of War

For the longest, I wanted to start an episode with the Snowgoons/Smif-n-Wessun track of the same name, and then end it with this one on which they also feature; mission accomplished! A producer called Marvel brings the beat (including the fantastic no-words changeup between verses) and the MC roster for this track (Tek, Bukshot, Rustee Juxx, Steele) take turns to drop heartfelt lyrics of war, fallen loved ones, and struggle. From the BCC album of the same name, this makes a great episode closer - I don't think there's anything you could play after it.


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_54.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 5:10am EST

The Big Picture

"You too near me not to hear me."

- Big Boi

What a month! Podcast out in the nick of time, and with it being Halloween I decided you deserved a treat more than a trick - hope you enjoy it :) Things have been hectic this month with the opening of the Manchester Marauders exhibition, which went as well as I could possibly have hoped! Here and here you can find a few photos of the exhibition, and if you'd like to buy one of the prints from the collection, then click here to get the print catalogue. It's been a lot of work, but good work lasts forever...


Playlist/Notes

Public Enemy : Show 'em Whatcha Got

Starting things off with the first track on the second side of what could well be the greatest Hip-Hop album of all time, "It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back." Based around a killer sample from the Lafayette Afro Rock Band, the Bomb Squad layer things up with some vocal stabs from the group and then longer pieces from a speech - I wish I could tell you who by! Always enjoyed this, and it's a track that can only really come at the beginning of whatever mix it's on.

A Tribe Called Quest : Rhythm (Devoted To The Art Of Moving Butts) (Instrumental)

First bit of Tribe this month, an instrumental from one of the tracks on their debut album. This never got a single release, but I happened on a collection of unreleased Tribe instrumentals on vinyl a while back, so that's where I found this one.

Big Daddy Kane ft. Q-Tip & Busta Rhymes : Come On Down

This is some classic heat. When some a lot of heads were doubting Kane's direction, he dropped this classic track on the "Prince Of Darkness" album which should have put everyone on notice that all those love records didn't mean the mic killer from the "Raw" days had been put to bed! He kills it on here and then recruits Q-Tip from Tribe and Busta in his LONS, destroy-the-last-verse guise to ensure quality mic work all the way through. He also self-produced this, basing it around a dramatic loop from the "Kelly's Heroes" soundtrack - nicely done!

Kool G Rap & DJ Polo : Poison

Yes, you're right. This is indeed where the vocal sample on Bell Biv Devoe's "Poison" came from. Old news for the Hip-Hop in-crowd perhaps, but I can see a lot of people not knowing that! Second straight Juice Crew selection, this is from the duo's debut album, "Road To The Riches," released all the way back in 1989 - one that everyone should aim to have at least have some familiarity with. Marley Marl is on the thumping production and Polo is on the scratches - cutting up Biz Markie, just for the record. Classic again!

Outkast : Red Velvet

Total direction change here, taking it to Y2K Atlanta and - at least initially - half speed. Deep album track from the "Stankonia" LP, with a very distinctive beat (check the piano mixed with all the crazy synth sounds), and a heavy admonishment/cautionary tale about materialism and flaunting wealth. For me Big Boi's first verse is the one but both MCs come off well, and in addition they both had a hand in the production! 

The ARE : The Chase

Part of the low-key Tribe influence on this episode, I decided to pull out this track from The ARE's "Manipulated Marauders" project, which took the original records samples on "Midnight Marauders" and flips them into new beats. This particular one takes Steve Arrington's "Beddie-Bye" as used on "The Chase, Part II" and rather than using the laid-back main groove like Tribe did, The ARE does his work with the dark intro to the record. An interesting take I think, and the whole album is worth checking out!

dead prez presents M-1 ft. stic.man : Early

So basically...dead prez. Motivational music of a sort! I got this on a Source compilation, but it's originally from M-1's "M-1 Confidential" album - I need to get a copy of that and have a proper listen. I can definitely relate to the lyrics on this one...

Skyzoo & Torae : Get It Done

I've been intending to do this transition for goodness knows how long! There was no way I was using either the previous song or this one without highlighting where the hook sample came from - though it sounds like it may be from an accapella. I thought these two were actually a duo when this came out, but it's really more of a collaboration between two New York MCs who were just up and coming. DJ Premier handles the production, and for some reason I feel like I detect a little Super Mario Brothers in there...is it just me? On the mic, check that final verse where they work the names of classic Premo tracks and MCs he's worked with into the lyrics. This was a great 12" with "Click" on the B-side - one to get in your collection.

Jedi Mind Tricks ft. Crypt The Warchild : The Rage Of Angels

One of those downcast beautiful tracks, with very personal verses from both MCs. Vinnie Paz is someone who's lyrics I often have issue with but no complaints here, as he writes a letter in "One Love" fashion to a locked-down friend. The beat is top quality, with Stoupe not doing a huge amount to the original sample (I don't know if it's cleared, so I can't reveal it), but that turns out to be the right move - less is more here! You can find this on the "Visions Of Gandhi" album, which is very good, but...

Rapsody ft. Nipsey Hussle, Ab-Soul, & Terrance Martin : Never Know

Rapsody is an MC out of North Carolina who's been bubbling on the low for a little while but seems to be getting some traction right now; big time producers like DJ Premier and 9th Wonder are backing her, and it's 9th who gives her the gorgeous backdrop for this track from the "She Got Game" mixtape. A lot of people need to take notes from a track like this; she absolutely kills her verse and then lets the guest in to do their thing - Ab-Soul probably doing the best job. On the beat, check how the kick effectively lands just before the "one" of each bar, making the track sound super-relaxed or hurried depending on whether you focus on the kick or the snare; combine that with all the other elements and you have a winner!

A Tribe Called Quest ft. Erykah Badu : I C U Doin' It

I'm not sure many people know this one! It was recorded for a Violator Records compilation "V3: The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly," but apparently that never actually got released! I got this on a promo 12" plugging the non-existent album, but at least we got this one, which is probably one of the last records Tribe ever recorded together - it's post-"The Love Movement" by a few years, so that's my theory. All the same, they cover one of their recurring topics ;)

Logikbomb : Not Like Me

Nice little instrumental from "The Smooth Grooves Beat Tape" by the Beat Tape Project. I'm not even sure I can hear an MC going over the top of this - and yet here I am talking over the top. Anyway, it's a free download so why not grab the whole tape, turn the fire on, and kick back for a listen?

Wu-Block : Been Robbed

I shouldn't be laughing along with this record. I really shouldn't. It's the sample though, I can't help it! Apparently not the first time it's been used but it's new to me, and Joe Milly on production uses it well here. Sheek Louch (of D-Block) and Ghostface (of the Wu) have done an interesting thing with the song structure here - no full length verses, but working in four-bar vignettes which are then separated by four bars of the vocal sample coming in. Tale after tale of halfway crooks getting robbed! This is the clear standout for me from the "Wu-Block" collaboration album.

Yamin Semali & P.U.D.G.E : We Rockfresh

Got to admit I hadn't heard of either artist before this song! Pulled this one from Rockfresh's "Superimposed Headphones" mixtape, which people were hitting me up about when they saw the cover :) Sonically I'd have liked a touch more bass, but that's probably just how it came out on the tape - it's a dope track nonetheless! As far as I can tell, NY-LA operator P.U.D.G.E is the producer on this (and it's the beat that grabbed me immediately), and Yamin Semali took the mic on this one - yeah, it's kind of an extended advert, but then I always loved adverts as a kid :)

Mack Wilds : Keepin It Real

Until I heard Juan Epstein this month, I had no idea this guy had a music career! Tristan Paul Mack Wilds is better known to most for being the brilliant young actor who played Michael Lee in seasons 4 and 5 of "The Wire." I don't check for much modern R&B but gave this a listen and it gets a spin largely on the strength of Salaam Remi lifting the DJ Premier beat for Group Home's "The Realness" (ironically, needing to add some elements to soften it up a bit!). Wilds isn't exactly a romantic on this cut but does have a decent voice and carries it well! If you like this, have a listen to his album "New York : A Love Story" - some good stuff on there, a lot of 90s Hip-Hop borrowing so definitely something to get the heads nodding.

Rakim : NY To Cali

Correction to voiceover - this track was actually produced by Dominic Owen, not Clark Kent as is generally credited. Apologies!

I remember wigging out over this when I first heard it on Radio 1 in 1995 - it was the first thing that had been heard from Rakim for quite a while at that point, though it never got an album release as it turned out. I was disappointed when it was absent from "The 18th Letter," but I picked this up on a couple of "unofficial" releases - a 12" and then a collection of rare/unreleased Rakim stuff - years after the event. A real underplayed gem.

Superior Thought : Me & You

This London-based producer and MC is an underappreciated talent, the kind who sounds like he just works on his craft and ignores the BS. This super-chopped, kind of glitchy beat is from his instrumental album "The S'strumentals - Skyisthelimit LP" and is just the right kind of head-nodding calm to lead us to the finale for the month...

Nostalgia 77 ft. Alice Russell : Seven Man Army

Heard this at a birthday party last year and knew immediately that a) I had to own it, and b) that it was going to make the podcast one day! Completely different feel to the original by The White Stripes - and somehow even more stripped-down. An all-British affair on this version excursion, with Suffolk native Alice Russell letting the soul out on the vocals, and Nostalgia 77 on the production leading everything off with a heavy kick drum and building from there. This is the first thing I've heard from him but will be looking out for more!


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_53.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 4:00pm EST

(52/52) Let The Cards Fall Where They May

"Calling for the freedom of the backs that you steppin' on..."

- Boots

It's been an outrageously busy month, and I've really struggled to get this episode out but got there in the end! What's the problem, you ask? Well, of course there's always the months when the tune selection doesn't come easily, but this month I've had the added complication of being the sole hand planning the "Manchester Marauders" exhibition which opens on October 17th - come to the opening and make a very overworked DJ/photographer happy :)

Anyway - let's talk about this month's tunes...


Playlist/Notes

Camp Lo : 52

I pretty much had to take this opportunity to kick off an episode with this one :) Cheeba and Geechi riff on the number 52 over a drum/percussion-only track from Ski which you can get on the "Fort Apache" mixtape album or EP.

London Posse : Money Mad

While listening to the Camp Lo track, my brain was absolutely itching telling me there was a beat that would mix brilliantly with it - at first I thought it was BDP's "9mm Goes Bang," but that was far too slow. The correct answer turned out to be this UK classic which was produced by Bevington and none other than Mr "Big Dawg, kiss the ring, you need this in your life" Tim Westwood! Whatever you might think of his later career on Radio 1, he did put in work back in the day and that can't be denied. Great 1990 tune from the important London Posse album "Gangster Chronicle" - I looped this up to make an instrumental, but you should definitely seek out the original.

Deepo & Bricks : Let It Reign

Nice Manchester track which the producer Bricks sent to me the other day for a listen - I liked it so much I thought I'd include it in this month's mix! Sounds to me like they're going in on Jay-Z and the like, but you'd have to ask them :) Deepo is an MC who stays on the low and works on his lyrics, and Bricks has been putting in all kinds of work for a long while, from production to keyboard work to rhyming. This track is from an upcoming Deepo and Bricks EP - one to check out when it comes!

Non Phixion : Rock Stars

Meat-and-potatoes Hip-Hop here, with Brooklyn's Non Phixion spitting in their aggressive style over a DJ Premier beat with his signature vocal cuts on the hook - this time, centred around Inspectah Deck's line from Gang Starr's "Above The Clouds." Structurally, check out how each verse actually has two MCs on it - pretty unusual. Big single from their debut album "The Future Is Now," which is worth having if you like their style. 

Chris Lowe ft. PMD : Buckwhylin'

I heard Didjit play this a couple of weeks ago and told him I was going to have to play it on the next podcast! Great cut from Chris Lowe's "The Black Life" LP, where he takes the same horns you may recognise from JVC Force's classic "Strong Island" and brings in Long Island legend PMD to join him on the mic. Straightforward and solid, the kind of tune that will always be playable!

Kali Ranks : Kill Dem All

One of the less-heralded (ok, not heralded at all) tracks from the soundtrack to the 1995 Def Jam-backed documentary "The Show." That soundtrack was highlighted by Method Man and Redman's "How High," with this cut buried way down in the running order - a little gem for anyone willing to stick with the album! The Kingston-born Kali doesn't have a deep discography - a 2009 album which I had to look up on Discogs just to confirm its existence - but this Andrew Massop/Marc Pomeroy-produced tune is not a bad one to be remembered by!

Dela : Get Busy

I last played the producer Dela on the very first podcast episode, and 51 later here he is again! Nice piano beat from his "The Robert Glasper Beat Tape," which as the title suggests is totally made up of tracks sampling the jazz artist Robert Glasper - to be specific, the "Double Booked" album. The beat tape is free, so grab that and then check out the Glasper album too!

Souls Of Mischief : Let 'Em Know

It's all about that bassline - not in a loud and overbearing way, but it's just obvious that it's the sonic centre of the track. This was the opener on the brilliant debut album "93 'Til Infinity," yet I never hear anyone else playing it! It's got that jazzy sound but the drum line kicks along harder. All four members set out their stall on the mic and Domino (not the Long Beach Domino) does his thing on the production. A favourite!

Chalk : If You Must

More local business! Chalk is an MC who has been working at his craft for many years, most notably as part of The Natural Curriculum, and has finally released his debut album, "One For Being Me." Much of the album has a real throwback sensibility, and it's very genuine - no put-on persona for Chalk. This track was the first release from the album, with a funny video appearing straight away; if you know Manchester, you'll definitely enjoy it. If not, you probably will anyway :)

Motion Man ft. Gift Of Gab : One Time For Your Mind

A bit more throwback flavour to follow on - this time, from the Bay Area! I've played Motion Man before, and you might well know him from working with Kut Masta Kurt and Kool Keith (alliteration all around). This is another KMK production with Blackalicious' Gift of Gab pitching in on mic duties. This was the second track on the "Pablito's Way" single, from the album of the same name. New school old school! 

Bahamadia : Dialed Up

I've been holding onto this one for ages! Interesting concept from Bahamadia, with every single part of this track being done on her phone - the vocals, the beats, the mix, everything. The full version is actually much longer, clocking in at almost twelve minutes; this excerpt is enough to give you an idea, and certainly makes you think about the power of modern handheld computing!

J-Filt : Spanishmoodz

A little instrumental from J-Filt of The Beat Tape Project, from their "Return Of The Tec : The Beatnuts Beat Tape" project, made up of tracks reminiscent of The Beatnuts' sound. I'm not actually the biggest Beatnuts fan for some reason, and this beat doesn't much remind me of them either, but I do like it!

Kokane : Twilight Zone

Kokane has been around on the west coast for a long time, emerging as part of Above The Law's crew (he's Big Hutch's cousin), and has often been called in by artists from NWA to Snoop to add his vocal flavour to their tracks. He actually has a reasonable discography himself, and this is from his 2010 release "Gimme All Mine." Tha Chill from Compton's Most Wanted really outdoes himself with the string-laden production, and a very unusual bar repeating pattern!

Apologies for the lame homophobic expressions on this track - couldn't get the any censoring to sound right at all...

American Cream Team ft. Raekwon & RZA : It's Not A Game

More strings, more strings! I played the instrumental a few years ago, thought it was long ago enough that I could bring the vocal out! From the soundtrack of "Black And White," this crew of Raekwon proteges expound on a traditional subject - getting that money :) Not actually sure who produced this but I do like the classical slant, and while I don't know all the individual MCs by voice, they drop plenty of memorable/sample-able lines. Should have had a cut with the "52 block" line really...

Madvillain ft. Stacy Epps : Eye

Tied with "Strange Ways" (do check that video link) for favourite track on the "Madvillainy" album, which I probably didn't rate as much as most when it came out! Stacy Epps is the reason - a great vocalist with an all-too-short discography; you can check her out as part of Sol Uprising, and she apparently had a solo EP "222" and an album "The Awakening" I need to get a copy of! Beat-wise, I'm just not a big Madlib fan but this one is proper - credit where it's due.

[J Dilla] J-88 : The Look Of Love (Instrumental)

Slum Village by another name! Got this on a Groove Attack 12" but you can get the vocal version on the "Best Kept Secret" album, along with some other tracks which are worth having for Slum/Dilla collectors. Don't pay a stupid price for it though!

Robert Glasper Experiment ft. Lalah Hathaway : Cherish The Day

Houston's Robert Glasper is a man on his own flex when it comes to jazz - not afraid to shake things up or reach out across styles. Either Agent J or my man Damian told me about him, and having heard the "Black Radio" album this came from, I'm definitely going to be digging into his catalogue! There were a few tracks I considered playing, but this ended up winning - a beautiful re-interpretation of Sade's original track with Lalah Hathaway on vocal and some nice rhythm changes. Top quality!

Soul Supreme: Beat 17

From an old beat tape "Instrumentals 4 Mind, Body, and Soul" came this track which used to be a headphone regular for me. If you want to hear more from this Swedish production wizard, your best bet is getting hold of the "Saturday Nite Agenda" album - a lot of serious legends on there giving him the co-sign!

The Coup : Lazymuthafucka

An anti-boss, anti-capitalist, anti-fatcat anthem. I'd be surprised if many people listening already know it, but I think that most people will be able to relate to it! Taken from the excellent "Party Music" album, Boots Riley lays down fire from the perspective of a hard working man being ridden like a rodeo by the money men from on high. Loved it since the first time I heard it, and outside of the slang, it's pretty much timeless. Production is nuts too - it's non-obvious, but at the same time I don't think it could have sounded any other way.


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_52.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 4:30pm EST

Across 7 Galaxies...For This?

"I've been...to places never seen..."

- Sheyenne Rivers

With involvement in two upcoming photo exhibitions, plus work and the podcast, this month has been off the scale for being busy! Nevertheless, managed to put together what I think is a quality mix, and the fact I've been going around listening to it heavily before release hopefully means it'll be an enjoyable one for you all!

A couple of links;

September 13th - I'll be one of the hosts for the second Example photo exhibition, and I have some good pieces to show. This opening runs until late with a heavy DJ roster, so would make a great night out!

October 17th - my first solo photo exhibition - "Manchester Marauders" opens. It's all about the Manchester Hip-Hop scene from my personal viewpoint, with the centrepiece being a Manchester recreation of A Tribe Called Quest's "Midnight Marauders" album. The opening will be heavy, do come down!

Anyway - let's get to the music...


Playlist/Notes

George Duke : Just For You

Starting things off gently, with the love song that closes the first side of Duke's 1977 "Reach For It" LP. I love how long the chorus is on this and how it builds. The album as a whole moved away from purist jazz, and is definitely worth having from a soul/R&B standpoint - George Duke brings his top-flight musicianship to the proceedings as always and it sounds fantastic. 

Reks : Showoff Forever

Next up, a blend straight into the first of two tracks this month that sample the first one. I do like sample chops where a long note in the original becomes almost a continuous background presence due to the rearrangement, and that's how this one was hooked up by Walthamstow's Jewbei. After a bit of an "ehhh" intro, Reks settles into this one with his veteran flow. Taken from the "Revolution Cocktail" album, I could definitely see this one becoming a single - it's got that kind of bounce to it.

9th Wonder : Just For You

Finally, the track that I knew even before the George Duke one! I got this on a Justus League compilation, and thought it was an amazing beat - one of a select few five-star tunes on my iPod. It wasn't very long, and always had me wanting more. After picking up the George Duke album after a digging trip, I left it playing and was stunned and very happy to hear as the track was ending all the sample pieces 9th had used to make his beat! I actually got on my MPC and did my own recreation of it as an exercise, but here, we go with the genuine article.

Blak Twang : Surround Sound

Not sonically, but in terms of theme, this is very much like part 2 of the Blak Twang classic "Real Estate." Not the best known track, this was on the B-side of the "U Know" 12" and was never released on any albums. Tony Rotton self-produced this one; the beat is dark but not harsh, and the cuts on the hook work brilliantly - especially the Common parts. Low-key London stuff.

Shadowman : Rap Shit

I wonder if he's now in the post-rap stage of life? Shadowman rails against the BS of the rap industry on this selection from the 2002 "Beyond Real Experience Volume 2" compilation. It's a wise MC who hooks his wagon to DJ Spinna's production, and the signature killer synth bassline styled definitely drive this one along. Nice Slum Village sample on the hook, though I did keep wanting to hear the following line, which would have been perfect. Intentional omission for those that know, perhaps?

Termanology ft. Wais P and Ras Kass : We Stay High

The phrase that jumped into my head this morning when listening to this was "thug lullaby." No, it's not saying anything positive, but yes, it is a good record! From the seventh (!) of Term's "Hood Politics" releases, I think I only heard this for the first time a couple of weeks ago. Statik Selektah does a nice job on the beat and all the MCs make it their own - not an obvious combination of guests but no objection from me! Ras Kass has been a favourite on the mic for years and Wais the P is breaking out in this second stage of his career as a man with a vicious turn of phrase. Funnily enough, Da Ranjahz (Wais' old group) and Ras Kass have recorded together in the past - can't find the track online to link here but might play you it sometime as I have a vinyl stashed away :)

George Duke : Reach For It

Classic! Big single from the album of the same name, all kinds of funk going on on this one. Something of a Parliament/Funkadelic vibe to this track! I've heard this on the "American Pimp" soundtrack and sampled in a number of places I won't reveal here as I don't know if they were cleared...you might need to do some homework on this one!

Air Adam : Glaze

A little something from my MPC library! First thing you hear is the original sample (looped a few times, just to create a longer blend), and then it switches into my flip. I'm not sure if I ever shopped this one around to any MCs, but I do enjoy listening to it.

Tony Touch ft. Sean Price & Guilty Simpson : Random

Heard this on a Conspiracy Radio podcast and knew I had to get it! Tony Touch is a longtime NY DJ institution, a mixtape legend who has an amazingly deep catalogue. On his famous 50th tape, "Power Cypha," he featured fifty MCs, and on his new project - now far away from the cassette era - he does it again! Sean P and Guilty have already combined as the MCs for Random Axe and so you know what to expect here - no love for the weak!

Prodigy : P Broke The Switch

An unusual instrumental as far as Hip-Hop goes on this one, with the four-to-the-floor drumbeat (kick drum on every beat) driving it - that's something more typical of house music. It's perfect to match the original beat under the disco-soul record intro that makes up the main sample though, and Mobb Deep's Prodigy gives you a slow burn vocal that just seems to go perfectly with it despite the contrast! Alchemist on production, and you can find this on his "Cutting Room Floor" mixtape/compilation.

Run The Jewels : DDFH

Heavy, dark, political, nihilistic, and brilliant. I was late on really appreciating Killer Mike (despite having enjoyed him featuring with Outkast), but you really have to respect what he brings lyrically. Similarly, it wasn't until I listened to Killer Mike's "R.A.P Music" album that I realised just how good El-P is as a producer. The two unite for a full-length and absolutely free project "Run The Jewels" which you really should grab a download of - if nothing else, to hear something a little different from the norm!

(oh yes - "drones over Brooklyn?" The NYPD wouldn't mind...)

Jaylib : React

On the collaborative "Champion Sound" LP, I'm personally a believer that J Dilla had better beats than Madlib...and better rhymes. Basically, I just wanted a Dilla album. Madlib brings out his Quasimoto alter-ego for this track, but the beat is the star! When I heard it loud in a dark basement party in Manchester shortly after it was released, a love for the song was born. Those drums thump and snap hard and the crazy wah-wah violin (I think) is the most unusual high-end I can remember hearing in quite a while. All part of that Dilla genius :)

Legion : Brazil

Local flavour right here. Legion is one of the MCs from upcoming Manchester group Mothership Connection but here he goes on a solo spacewalk. Extra-Vehicular Activity, as it were! He almost sounds like he's freestyling, going abstract on this beat from The Mouse Outfit's MPC man Pitch. Get the whole thing here, and keep an eye on this crew!

[Asheru/Joe Money] Asheru : Mood Swing (Instrumental)

Not even sure when/where/why I got this 12", but I pulled it out this month and found this nice little instrumental - amazing what you can find tucked away in a record collection. I think this may have been a 12" only release, and it features Talib Kweli on vocals so if you're a fan, it looks like you could probably pick this up pretty inexpensively.

Ka ft. Roc Marciano : Soap Box

Now this is that stripped down, low-key, Brooklyn business. This is a standout for me from the "Night's Gambit" album, Ka's third. A former member of Natural Elements, Ka is someone you really need to check for if you want to hear someone who is really serious about their writing. He's also a very distinctive producer - sometimes throwing drums out of the window altogether, which is highly unusual for Hip-Hop. Nothing for the club, all for the headphones or a late-night cruise. If you like this, check out not just the latest album but also the "Grief Pedigree" LP. Really nothing that sounds like it.

Sneaker Pimps : Walking Zero

One of those deep album cuts you know I like! From the debut Sneaker Pimps album "Becoming X," this really does bring to mind walking across a dark and desolate landscape...or the darkest parts of a city somewhere. It's that open hi-hat pattern that really puts that trudging feel into it, even more than the more prominent elements of the track. Goes to show how much all the little pieces matter when it comes to production! This has been a headphone staple for me for 14 years...with no sign of stopping.

Common ft. The Last Poets : The Corner

I really don't hear much of this tune anymore, which is odd when I think about what a big deal it was at the time! Kanye West (who also directed the video) is on production, bringing a nice drum track and his signature sped-up soul sample to what is a deceptively slow song (79bpm), The Last Poets add a cross-generational angle, and Common holds down the forefront. He's a Chicago native but his lyrics could be talking about the corner in any number of cities. I wasn't a huge fan of the "Be" album, but this track? No denying it.

Lord Finesse & Roy Ayers : Soul Plan

I have no idea how this collaboration came to be, but it sounds good! DITC producer/MC Lord Finesse is blessed with the presence of jazz legend Roy Ayers on this one, who gives the whole thing a smothering of vibraphone magic. I don't know if this was ever on an album - I got it on a white label 12", and I've seen it as a B-side to "Gameplan," so it was probably released 1996-ish. More background on this one appreciated...

K-Murdock : Dreams Come True

This is an instrumental that just draws you in and won't let go. Panacea's K-Murdock has been featured on this podcast a number of times and every appearance is quality. On a recent listen to his Japanese-based "Beats From The East" EP, I just couldn't believe how dope this one was and it just happened to fit perfectly here!

Camp Lo & Pete Rock : Dream Journey

One of the many great tracks on the newly-released collaborative "80 Blocks From Tiffany's Part II" mixtape - a free release which is an absolutely unmissable download. You should have clicked that link by now. Anyway, this is just one of my favourites from the project, with Pete Rock channeling some 70s flavour and Camp Lo weaving their usual mic magic but maybe with just a touch less dense slang than usual! As an aside, the construction hook reminds me of the bridge from N.O.R.E's "Grimey." That's a good thing, trust me. Camp Lo do it again, Bronx style.

Blue Stone : Dreamcatcher

Final track on the dreaming theme - I heard this when half asleep on internet radio one night and snapped awake to find out what it was! Robert Smith and Bill Walters are Blue Stone, and handle the production and instrumentation - for me, while the verse sections are good, the chorus switch is just amazing. Of course, it'd only be half as good without a vocal, and the guest singer Sheyenne Rivers obliges with an ethereal but still strong performance. The album is worth checking out, but for me personally this is the standout by a mile - just presses my buttons I suppose...


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_51.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 3:30pm EST

DSCF3065

"I dance and dance and dance and dance and dance and dance and dance...then I sat on the toilet"

- Ced Gee

Fifty episodes. Power Cipher. A lot of nights trawling the shelves and slaving over a hot mixer. With A Tribe Called Quest and Nas being recurring themes on this episode, this selection has some classic A-sides, killer remixes, some little-known gems, and top local talent. This is what it's all about. Let the world know!

One more thing - friend of the show Watch Deez has just started a blog. Quality posts on the regular, get on it!


Playlist/Notes

Nas : Blaze A 50

Well, I needed to start with something on the theme of "fifty!" This is taken from the well-regarded "Lost Tapes" compilation, but was originally slated for release on the original version of the "I Am..." LP, which ended up being massively reworked after it was leaked - and this was the early days of internet music sharing! L.E.S and Trackmasters produce this tangled tale of treachery.

[Havoc] Mobb Deep : More Trife Life (Instrumental)

Not my favourite cut or even beat from Mobb's "Hell On Earth" LP, but it was so good for the mix that it had to be included. Havoc on production, as was always the case back then. 

Asheru : Boondocks Theme

Only short, and sound quality isn't great, but I always loved this theme tune! The lyrics give me "that" feeling, that burst of inspiration and fire. The beat is dope and the cuts at the end are top notch as well - all in all, a small nugget of brilliance! After the first season I think it was slightly tweaked, but this original is the winner. If you don't know about Aaron McGruder's "The Boondocks," then seek it out - as well as the TV programme (UK spelling!), definitely chase down the original comic strips which are works of genius.

A Tribe Called Quest : Award Tour

One of the many classics in their catalogue, and after seeing it performed live I wanted to include it on this episode. Only while doing the research for the show notes did I realise who it is on the hook - Trugoy from De La Soul! This was the first single from the legendary, must-own "Midnight Marauders" album and still gets the party moving twenty years later. One thing to note - if you don't know this track already, the speed changes in the first verse aren't part of the original - just a little touch I added ;)

Ultramagnetic MCs : Two Brothers With Checks (San Francisco, Harvey)

A track I've had on my "to play" list for ages, but again, seeing it performed live this month really put the battery in my back to get it done. Smacking it with the famous Skull Snaps drums, the "Four Horsemen" get busy on a tale of baseball, weirdness, and going to the loo. This was a heavy single back in 93, one of those I first encountered on video before getting the chance to buy it sometime later. Never did understand the "San Francisco, Harvey" subtitle though. I tried to look it but found nothing. Harvey Milk reference?

A Tribe Called Quest ft. Tammy Lucas : 1nce Again (Jackin' For Beats Remix)

Pulling out one of my prize white labels for the 50th episode! The original "1nce Again" was another Tribe lead single, this time from their fourth album "Beats, Rhymes, and Life," and was produced by "The Ummah," in an era which marked a change of direction, many might even say decline. Some unknown bright spark evidently got the idea to take the accapella from the single and underscore it with a medley of other Tribe beats - making this a great party selection, if you can find it! You still get the smooth Tammy Lucas hook, and all the rhymes - I'll take that deal. 

InI : Props

My only regret is that I brought in the the super-crispy snare pattern that starts this track off a little too subtly under the preceding beat - it really deserved room to breathe! You may not know InI well - coming out of Mount Vernon, they were a five-man group who had their first LP ("Center Of Attention") pretty much entirely produced by Pete Rock (brother of group member Grap Luva), only to see it shelved due to label shenanigans. Despite this, it was eventually heard as it was bootlegged a number of times, and one of those times I suppose produced the vinyl I ended up buying! While "Fakin' Jax" was the big track from the album, this was easily my favourite - just irresistible boom-bap.

DJ Q-Bert ft. D-Styles : Razorblade Alcohol Slide

Now this is scratching! Great duet by two of the Invisibl Skratch Piklz, from Q-Bert's debut album/film "Wave Twisters." In the plot of the film, this track scores the section where the evil scratch warlords show their execution techniques. In real life, neither DJ is evil but they definitely occupy the very highest level of skill when it comes to scratching - both of them are legends in the field. This whole track is turntable-constructed, from the drums on up, yet is incredibly precise - the parts that don't need to sound like scratching don't at first, and that's how you can tell the crispness...

Tweet : Turn Da Lights Off (Remix)

This came out long before the verb "to tweet" had any meaning outside of what birds did...Tweet is a singer/songwriter who was a member of the group Sugah and had done some vocal work on Missy Elliott's "Miss E...So Addictive" album before breaking out as a solo artist. The original of this track was on her second album "It's Me Again," and had a very sample-based production thanks to Missy and Kwame (yes, polka dot Kwame!). When it was released as a single, the flip contained this outrageous, space-age version with RJD2 (known at the time for his alternative Hip-Hop production) totally taking it left field! The presence of the samples has a very different flavour, and it hits hard in a totally distinct way to the original. Worth picking up if you can find it

Sway ft. Ben Westbeech : Products (Die and Lean's Jekyll & Hyde Remix)

Going in with another space-age 12" remix; this time, the UK MC Sway has the track "Products" from his debut "This Is My Demo" turned from a nice and light instrumental to a brutal, giant robot stomping killer! I don't know much of Die & Lean outside of this track, but my guess would be that they aren't usually Hip-Hop producers - it's just in the sounds they use and how they come across I suppose. Anyway, looks like you can still find used copies of the single if you want to own this!

Camp Lo : Posse From The Bronx

"I'm on the corner of Valentine, a forty of Ballantine, you n****s can't battle mine, my Ruger just rattle spines?" Yooooo! Geechi Suede laying it down fierce alongside his road dog Sonny Cheeba on this fire opening cut from the "In Black Hollywood" album. Lyrically - you already know what it is when it comes to the Lo. Musically, there are a few things that stand out - the hook based on the famous line from BDP's "My Philosophy," the ill repeating/stuttering effect on the end of some of the lines, and groups of three hi-hat hits (listen closely) that put the extra funk in it. Phenomenal production from Ski.

[DJ Swindle] Rok One : Rokin' It (Instrumental)

One of those random inclusions that comes from a trawl of my vinyl shelves looking for the forgotten! Rok One had barely a handful of 12"s out betweem 1998 and 2002, of which this was one - think I just picked it up at a discount on spec. A bit of Googling indicates he may be doing his thing as a DJ now; nice to see people carry on in the culture.

Yasiin Bey, dead prez, Mikeflo : Made You Die (Trayvon Martin Tribute)

This actually came out last year but I missed it entirely - however, with the verdict in George Zimmerman's trial coming this month, it was getting a lot of reposts and so I came across it. Yasiin Bey (formerly Mos Def), dead prez, and Mikeflo (from the RBG crew) spit with fury on this track, making the argument that protesting may not be an effective strategy for community protection and instead calling for self-defence training and the like. Not the usual thing you'd hear, but reminiscent of a point Malcolm X once made about demonstrations being a waste of time since a) any large gathering could be dangerous and b) the person who did you wrong knows very well already you don't like it - and you should do something about it instead. One to debate! Music-wise, it's of course based on the instrumental to Nas' "Made You Look," and if you pay attention, you'll notice that Yasiin's verse is a direct lift of the rhyme scheme from the first verse of the original - nicely done!

[Easy Mo Bee] Ilacoin : This That & The 3rd (Instrumental)

Bahamadia : Uknowhowwedu

Kind of appropriate that she chose to spell the title that way, since the first time I heard this on MTV my reaction was "ohmygodthisisamazing!" Guru used to say "it's mostly the voice" and Bahamadia's voice is just incredible, absolutely unique and clear as a bell. When you add that to her lyrical skill, you get an MC who represents Philly very well. For this track in particular, she lays it down over a nice Ski and DJ Redhanded beat. This was a big single from the "Kollage" LP, which I really need to get in my collection.

The Mouse Outfit ft. Sparkz : Blaze It Up

Another great track from the "Escape Music" album. I got the chance to hear this before it was released and just loved the way the beat bumped along but with the floaty sounds on top :) Sparkz comes through nice on the lyrics, throwing in some double-time flow on the second verse! Never even been interested in trying weed to be honest, but this is a tune for those who do smoke. Played this back using the Serato "key lock" feature to allow the track to be sped up without increasing in pitch, so it's a little glitchy in places - apologies for that!

Sol Uprising ft. Lacks and Mia Simone : Raach Ya Sol

I think this is a great track, but it's not well known. Sol Uprising is/was a group made up of Sci (the MC) and Stacy Epps, a singer whose voice you may recognise from some of her appearances on things like the "Madvillainy" album. This particular tune was produced by Ta'raach (hence the title), who at the time was still being credited as Lacks. He kills it on this, slicing and dicing a classic tune underneath a lively drum track. I don't know if the sample was cleared, so unfortunately I can't talk about it here...anyway, you can get this track either as a 12" or on the "Sol Power" album - not an essential, but a few good things on there.

Little Brother : Still Lives Through

The North Carolina natives gave us a track inspired by the A Tribe Called Quest track "God Lives Through" on their second album "The Minstrel Show." In keeping with the theme, they even use the same Busta Rhymes sample in the hook - and that sample itself came from another Tribe track on the same album!

Mathmatics : Visionz

Mathmatics is a guy who's done the business in his time on the Manchester scene, and is best known as a very accomplished DJ but also someone who puts in work on the beats as well. This is a recent track he sent me and I love how he's submerged his manipulated Stevie Wonder sampling (it really does remind me of something underwater) on this track. The drums and bass are just straight ahead, dope but primarily giving a nice framework to fit everything else around. Good work :)

DJ Quik ft. Wanya Morris : 50 Ways 

Bookending the episode with tracks on the theme of fifty, this time Compton's finest DJ Quik with his reworking of Paul Simon's "50 Ways To Leave Your Lover" on the instrumental. A serious track, to be sure, as he opens his heart on the deaths of those close to him, and the unrelenting drama of the business. Sometimes you can't even find the words for the hook, so Boyz II Men's Wanya Morris just sings it out. One of the standouts from the "Under Tha Influence" album, which is well worth having - also has a cover photo I love! 


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_50.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 11:48am EST

Unbroken

"Peace to Mandela..."

- Erick Sermon

The fourth birthday episode! Out of the nursery now and getting into real school. I've got some mixes on here I've been wanting to do for ages and with a landmark episode coming around (and once more having a mixer with 3-band EQ), it was the time to bring them out and combine them with some more recent ideas. For the most part this episode has the kind of laid-back feel that's just right for the summer...as though we're having a major one here!


Playlist/Notes

4Hero ft. Jill Scott : Another Day

I think there are very few people that can't relate to this one! London-Philly connection with 4Hero bringing the music which switches from Sunday morning ease to some D&B/broken beat style drumming, and Jill Scott on the vocals. If you like this, it's definitely worth picking up the whole "Creating Patterns" album.

[Dust Brothers] Tone Loc : Lōc'in On The Shaw

When you think of Tone Loc you probably think of "Funky Cold Medina" or "Wild Thing" but this is the track I remember most from that first album. I think I borrowed it from the library and was struck by this ill instrumental inclusion courtesy of the Dust Brothers. I didn't know much/anything about production at the time, but I do now and it sounds just as good to me today! It seems to alternate between chilled out and threatening, and it's got that classic 808 sound in the background - listen and appreciate.

Trae ft. HAWK : Swang

Commemmorating the death of Fat Pat from the Screwed Up Click, this is a real Houston anthem, remixed and versioned a bunch of times. Confession time - the video for this track was at least partially responsible for me deciding I needed to upgrade from a 1994 3-door Toyota Corolla! I understand that this is the original, but not the version that got an official release, due to problems clearing the Michael Jackson "Lady In My Life" sample that forms the backbone. In a tragic footnote, HAWK himself, Fat Pat's brother, was shot and killed less than a year after this song was released.

Photek : KJZ

I'm informed by those in the know that jungle and D&B aren't the same thing; I do remember that jungle never did it for me from the very start, and it was many years before I gave anything in that vague vein a try again. I can't remember why I listened to the "Modus Operandi" album years ago but it got my interest enough for me to put aside my previous disdain for D&B and spend some of my hard-earned cash on the CD. This is some seriously complex drum programming, and the bassline and ambient keyboard pads just tickle my ears the right way. If you're into this kind of thing, the album is pretty much a must.

Jay-Z : Politics As Usual

Ski Beats doing his thing with The Stylistics! Smooth and relaxed track on the ins and outs of the street life from Jay-Z's debut album. I don't have any big background on this track, but I do appreciate that when you get a good sample...don't mess with it too much!

Robin Thicke : Oh Shooter

This track is based on a true story; Robin Thicke was in a bank that was robbed when he was 18, and took the wise route of putting his hands up and getting down on the floor, rather than the lunatic hero fantasy option! My first experience of this track was flicking through Spotify and hearing the version "Shooter" with Lil Wayne rhyming on it, but since Lil Wayne is never getting played on this podcast (barring some kind of Malcolm X-type conversion), I was pleased to find this, the original track. On the music side, the bassline is pretty irresistable, but also check how the keyboard around the hook is playing something very reminiscent of Gang Starr's "Mass Appeal..."

Tony Dofat : Not Tryna

Picked up this 12" fairly randomly; the sample on it is from a track I love, and it's a fairly obvious usage :) If you don't know about Tony Dofat, he's from Mount Vernon and has worked with some of the giants of that town, like Heavy D (RIP) and Pete Rock.

Smoove ft. Jehst, Micall Parknsun, & DJ Jazz T : Fresh Pair

Something new, a free release sponsored by the UK sneaker shop Sole Heaven. The producer Smoove gives us the kind of flute-laced groove that fits summer to a tee, and then the combination of Jehst and Micall P on the mic kick rhymes (no pun intended) about their love for Nikes. Got to give major props to DJ Jazz T for finding and cutting up all those footwear-related samples so lovely!

UGK ft. Twista : Something Going Wrong

A track with a somewhat complicated release history; this MP3 was apparently an old leak, and when this track did eventually come out as "I's A Playa" on the late Pimp C's "The Sweet James Jones Stories" album, the hook had been replaced by a far, far inferior version. I've seen it credited as Twista's track, Pimp C's, and UGK's, and in addition to the two titles already mentioned, seen it called "Time." No matter, it's not making Germaine Greer's iPod! Pimp C and Bun B definitely do their thing on their verses but Twista might just steal the show with his trademark double-speed style to close things out. I think Pimp C produced it, and it's a slab of classic Southern funk - I won't even point out any specific element, just drink it all in!

Lisa Shaw : If I Could

Nice 12" from one of my favourite singers, best known for doing her thing on the deep house scene. A world away from that though, she lets it out on this low key plea to a lover. As it happens, it's produced by DJ Swingsett, who happens to be...her now ex-husband. Maybe singing from the heart in the truest sense?

M.O.P. : Blood, Sweat, and Tears

No matter how slow and chilled the track is...M.O.P are bringing it from the chest. Laze E Laze on the beat while Billy and Li'l Fame speak on hard times and hard work. Hadn't heard this in a while but thought it was a good one to bring in here. Strangely enough, I somehow have a completely clean vinyl version of the "First Family 4 Life" album, from which I grabbed this!

Trevor Rabin & Harry Gregson-Williams : Enemy Of The State Theme

If no-one else...at least the NSA are listening to the podcast.

James Brown : Say It Loud, I'm Black And I'm Proud

Soul Brother Number One with a classic empowerment anthem. I've known people take offence at such a message, saying that Black pride is just the same as the "White Pride" credo espoused by racist groups - at best, a naive reading of history and an ignorance of context. Anyway, top track which apparently was the first JB cut to feature Fred Wesley - so says Wikipedia anyway :)

Waajeed : Proud

Outrageously skilful sampler work here from the man who was given his first MPC by J Dilla himself! Composed purely of James Brown samples, he slices and dices them into one of my favourite tracks of the last ten years. You may recognise a snatch or two from the preceding track, a little of "The Payback," but there's just a stack in there - very clever. I think I read somewhere that Waajeed partly did this track to impress DJ Spinna, and if that's true I can only conclude he succeeded!

EPMD ft. Redman : Brothers On My Jock

This one popped into my head when I remembered DJ Scratch cutting up the James Brown "say it loud!" sample in the hook. Just the kind of nice deep album cut I like to feature, from EPMD's third LP "Business As Usual." Also a great example of the use of the Bob James "Nautilus" break!

Royal Flush ft. Noreaga : Iced Down Medallions

You missed out if you weren't checking for stuff like this in the 90s! Queens all the way on this, with Lefrak City's Noreaga (before blowing up with "The War Report") teaming up with Royal Flush for a big single off the "Ghetto Millionaire" album. Long before "Bling Bling," they were shouting out their diamond-encrusted pieces! EZ Elpee cooks up a classy beat from an old Gwen McCrae sample...dopeness.

Latryx : Lady Don't Tek No

I'm lucky enough to know someone very like the subject of this song! Kind of halfway between Hip-Hop and funk, this has been an iPod staple for me since it's release. Coming from the Solesides camp, Latryx is made up of Lateef and Lyrics Born, and on this one they have the heavyweight that is DJ Shadow on production. I love this track, it's rare to find a genuinely good song trying show respect to women without coming off false. Maybe this one might get a Germaine Greer listen? Nah, I still think that'd be too much of a reach...

[Evidence] Planet Asia : The Medicine (Instrumental)

Lots and lots of wide open space in this track, making it a good fit to bridge between the last two vocal tunes of the month. Evidence (best known as 1/3 of Dilated Peoples) shows less can be more on this title track from Planet Asia's fifth album, though this is from the 12" single release.

Zion I : Bird's Eye View

A beautiful track to close out the 4th birthday with. Zion I always stay on the positive side of things and on this 12" (taken from the "True & Livin'" album), Zion uses the device of personifying Hip-Hop as a woman to send a love letter, with Amp Live producing a beautiful instrumental based on a sample of a classic, but very sad, British record. I'll leave you to find it...


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_49.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

Sleek.

"Scattered records, had Aretha Franklin in the Pun case..."

- Rise

Four complete years of episodes! A lot of nights fretting over the right tunes to play, hunching over the turntables, digging up interesting links, and buried in recording software. Hope you're enjoying the journey!

I just had a good portion of the show notes I'd slaved over wiped out - Libsyn, why is the browser session length so short? I'll give the notes another browse soon and fill in any links I've missed in my lightning re-write...


Playlist/Notes

Above The Law : You Might Get Stuck

Starting things off pretty harsh, but I do like some of that bass! A little known track even for Above The Law, and also one of the few not produced by Cold 187um. Too-little-known West Coast veteran Laylaw brings some late night creep, prowling & growling bass to this track and frees up the MCs to do what they do. Wonderfully dark track from the "The Lawhouse Experience, Volume One" LP, which is well worth having if you find it for a reasonable price!

[Alchemist] Casual : Gotta Get Down (Instrumental)

One of those Alchemist tracks that wasn't so much forgotten as not really heard in the first place! To my mind, Casual has never quite got the respect he deserved, and he's bounced around doing a fair few projects that escaped wide notice. This track was on an interesting 12", where the headline track wasn't really saying much but the other two cuts were definitely worth paying attention to. 

The Mouse Outfit ft. Sparkz & Dubble O : Never Get Enough

We asked, and they delivered! One of Manchester's premier crews have finally released their debut album "Escape Music" and it is very, very worthy of your support. They've really pulled the stops out to produce a top quality product in a world of so many throwaway projects. I wanted to include a track this month that I hadn't already played, and so we go to this one which just happened to make for a good mix. Being primarily instrumentalists, the album has a wide slate of guest vocalists, and this track gives you the golden pairing of the city's own Dubble O and Sparkz. Manchester stand up!

Rise : Part Of The Game

A bit of a pain to mix - the right kind of speed and everything but some seriously awkwardly-placed change-ups! DJ Spinna throws some subtle curveballs on this cut, not to mention a healthy helping of bells and a layer of quality boom-bap drums. Pretty obscure track - the first B-side on Rise's "Evolution" 12", but easily the best thing on there!

Homeboy Sandman : Cops Get Scared Of Me

An unusual beat in a different way - in fact, quite a unique track overall! Exile is on this strange-sounding yet absolutely fire production from Sandman's "Chimera" EP. With both the MC and producer in experimental mood, it makes for something really individual. It floats, but it's hard in a way. Kind of like some kind of sonic stealth warship.

DJ Quik & Kurupt : 9x's Outta 10

The almost-absent drums on the last track created a nice space to blend the huge smackers from this one over the top. The third track I've pulled from the "BlaQKout" album over the time I've been doing the podcast, and probably the most speaker-destroying! Kurupt handles the mic almost completely on this cut, not letting Quik get a look-in on his own beat! It's a bit of a semi-abstract monster...

Only Child : Breakneck

If you know about the Manchester scene, then you know about the whole Fat City legacy - the famous shop, and the record label. I missed plenty of the records the first time round but found a CD of "Central Heating Vol.2" recently and found this nice little track on there! Only Child is half of the highly-regarded Unabombers DJ duo, but shows on here that he can get busy with the production too. He's got a couple of albums in his discography, so I might need to search those out.

Jay-Z ft. Beanie Sigel : Streets Is Talkin'

While I do like this tune, there is one reason and one reason only why I'm playing it this month; this story. Sorry, couldn't resist!

Action Figures ft. T3 : Jumanji

I didn't know about these guys until I saw them on the support slot for Slum Village this month, but I remembered their Facebook Page name after they got the crowd to repeat it four or five times! Coming out of Grand Rapids, Michigan, Kysean Bell and MarQ Beyond are them men on the mix and they get the big Detroit co-sign here with T3 of Slum guesting. As far as the beat - is that the legendary "Funky Drummer" in the background? You can get this heavy tune, plus their other single "Russell Westbrook" on Soundcloud for free, so it'd be rude not to. Oh, and get well soon Russell!

Slum Village : How It Feel

Michigan again! Something fresh for 2013 from the "Dirty Slums 2" mixtape, and the latest Slum lineup - T3 (founding member), Illa J (brother of J Dilla), and Young RJ. They get the keyboards and sharp drums going on this one, with the keys being a little "awkward" alongside the drum layout. Good track, but think of the DJs! ;) Seriously though, it's just good to see that Slum Village flag flying after all they've faced. Much respect.

Kris Kross : Tonite's Tha Night (Kris Kross Redman Remix)

Bit of a flavour change, but with the passing of Chris Kelly (Mac Daddy) I wanted to get some Kris Kross on here and it'd have been a bit too obvious to go for "Jump" or something. I've only just heard this track, which was on a compilation of Kris Kross remixes, and has the slightly-older-than-you-remember MCs rhyming alongside Brick City heavyweight Redman. The beat should feel kind of familiar - Jermaine Dupri's production is a live take on the same sample EPMD used for "Please Listen To My Demo," giving them a smoothed-out backing. RIP Chris Kelly...

Buckwild : Move Your Feet

Nothing crazy, just a nice little beat from the DITC producer's 1998 "Still Diggin' Composition" EP. For some reason that snare sounds a bit weird to me, but then I'm not the one with a list of production credits the length of my arm :)

Tekitha : Walking Through The Darkness

Can't go wrong with that Bobby Womack sample/interpolation. If you're a Ghostface fan you might listen to this track and think there's something missing...you're only half right! This track was originally on the "Ghost Dog" soundtrack, exactly as you hear it now - as a Tekitha solo track. Sometime after that, Ghostface took it, kept the beat and the hook, and rhymed on it for a track of the same name on "Bulletproof Wallets." Got to say - I prefer the original!

Steve Arrington : Nobody Can Be You (But You)

Thirty years old this year! You might recognise it as the main sample on Brand Nubian's "Grand Puba, Positive and L.G.," which I was going to play here but decided against in the end. Formerly of the group Slave, Steve Arrington broke out on his own in 1982 with his own band "Steve Arrington's Hall Of Fame" and this was one of his biggest hits. It sounds very much of its era but you have to love the positive, uplifting message! Great tune for riding in the sunshine too...

Roger : Everybody Get Up (EPMD Diesel Remix)

How about this for an interesting twist of fate for EPMD, who started their careers in 1988, had a monster second single with "You Gots To Chill," one of the first tracks to sample Zapp's "More Bounce To The Ounce?" They sampled the legendary Zapp and Roger Troutman heavily through their careers, and on this remix of the first track from Roger's "Bridging The Gap" album, he brings them in to collaborate - bridging the gap for real :) I got this on a 12" of "Everybody Get Up" which may or may not be rare, but I've only seen it once!

Trouble Funk : Still Smokin'

This song was my introduction to Trouble Funk back when it was released in 1985 - yes, I'm old :) I saw it on TV on "Solid Soul" or something and straight away respected that heat! You cannot argue with that lead guitar line. At all. Trouble Funk are and were one of the foremost groups in the Washington DC "Go-Go" scene, which much better people than me have written about. Hip-Hop and Go-Go are both dance-focused music forms at heart, but while Hip-Hop is rooted in finding the breaks on old records, go-go is a live instrument form, with big bands, all kinds of crazy drum action, and lots of call/response. Follow the links for more info on the style in general, but as for this track - I've got it on an old 12" and it's from the soundtrack of a film called "Good To Go" which is itself based in DC. The reviews indicate that the soundtrack may be better than the film...

Mike R. Max : Nasty

B-side of a random purchase from Leeds' Polar Bear Records on a cash-strapped day many moons ago - didn't hear it in advance but the cover drew me in! I don't know anything about it, and by the looks of things this was Mike's first and only release, a relatively obscure 2002 French house record - I wonder if he ever envisioned it turning up on a mix like this?

Zapp : Playin' Kinda Ruff

Huge tune from "Zapp II," straight funk classique ;) I'm not sure if Roger (sans talkbox) is on the lead vocal or if Bobby Glover or Greg Jackson took the reins (do educate me), but if you work hard every day to pay those bills, you can relate to those lyrics! Funky as hell all the way through, and all the vamping at the end is just amazing. If you're hearing this for the first time, I'm kind of jealous of you.


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_48.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 5:55pm EST

(34/52) Lights, Camera, Action

"...try to re-educate ones who are lost."

- Guru

Crazy month. Had to make sure to get a Boston track into the selection, and that's not even counting the Gang Starr track, with Guru - a native Boston MC - kicking classic lyrics. Just over an hour long, but it took me more than twice that to write all the show notes and find the links...

Thanks to everyone who came down to the Example photo exhibition this month! If you'd like to buy yourself one of my prints, follow this link and get at me :)


Playlist/Notes

O.C. : It's Only Right

Buried deep in the "Jewelz" album is this low-profile gem - pun only partially intended! It's all about that bassline, taken from a classic funk album (my copy was grabbed from my parents' collection) then slowed down to match those nice Beatminerz drums for something that sounds like it's straight from a park jam - and OC gets on the mic and does it justice!

Pro P : Friday Freestyle

Going local for the first instrumental bed of the month - Pro P is a Manchester beatmaker who has been getting very busy with a series of beat tapes as well as handling production for guys like Cheech (Old Man Reefer) of the Mothership Connection. Keep an eye out for this man.

Gang Starr : 2 Deep (City Lick Mix)

RIP Guru! I can still remember buying the "2 Deep" 12" when it first came out at Crash Records in Leeds (still there). At the time, I really didn't like this remix and hadn't heard it for about 20 years but dusted it off and found my tastes had matured enough to enjoy it :) The original track is of course from Gang Starr's third album, "Daily Operation" - that should have a home in any head's record box. The remix is courtesy of the UK's Dodge City Productions (IG Culture and DJ Dodge), who were performing as a group in the early 90s as well as getting busy in the production/remix arena. I think I may have something of theirs tucked away on cassette, so that may come out one month! They're working separately these days but still very much respected in their field, so don't be surprised to see their names in credits!

Panacea (ft. Green of The Five One) : Revolution World Crazy

Washington DC in the house! Capital business on this cut from the US capital :) Raw Poetic on the mic and K-Murdock on production make up Panacea, and Mr Murdock kindly passed me a copy of the "12 Step Program" album this month while on a visit to Manchester! I hear there's something new in the pipeline, so will definitely be checking for that. Raw and Green push their way to the fore on this one, which is in competition for the loudest track of the episode - and that's not because I was turning it up! 

Slum Village : Reppin'

Chatting to Lee Majors of More Bounce (who are bringing SV to Manchester) the other day, I remarked that with all the lineup changes over the years, Slum Village is almost more of an idea, a spirit, than a group. Always representing Detroit and the lineage of J Dilla, this track from the "The Dirty Slums" mixtape with Mick Boogie is manned by the line up of original member T3, Illa J (brother of Dilla), and Young RJ. Unmistakeable Detroit sound here, drums and bass coming together beautifully - the surprise for me is the little guitar-led changeup at the hook though, bit of a change of pace!

Special Teamz : Get Down

A little something out of Boston! Special Teamz is made up of Edo G, Slaine, and Jaysaun, all big names out of the city, with Edo G probably being the most familiar to the average fan, having been in the game since 1991!  From their 2007 "Stereotypez" album we get this rugged opening cut where they all set their stalls out, with Young Cee on production and Jayceeoh on the turntables. No frills, just Hip-Hop. The album is worth checking if you come across it, but is more solid than spectacular - do check for their respective solo records though!

DV Alias Khrist : New Testiment Of Soul (sic) (Instrumental)

Did anyone ever, ever call him just "Khrist?" I suspect not. DV was on a kind of half-singing, half-rapping flex in the 90s and had a number of 12"s but never really broke out big. He did co-produce this beat though (with Mr.B), a B-side to "The Attack Is On" which you may know if you're really into your 90s!

Brand New Heavies : Stay This Way (Slam Mix)

Love this tune and I feel like it's a good time to play it :D The beautifully soulful original was on the Heavies' first album, but you can find this harder remix on the first "Elephantitis" remix collection - which I highly recommend. I'm coming back to that one in the future to play another cut or two, please believe it...

Ultramagnetic MCs : Chorus Line, Pt. 2

Bronx! Great B-side track from the Ultras, on the flip of "Make It Happen" and of course the sequel to the original "Chorus Line" - I've chopped off the closing verse by TR Love here but that's simply to make the mix work...seek out the whole track to hear the conclusion! This track does have some elements of the original, but has big beat changeups for every MC - when it wasn't a common thing to hear at all. A lot harder to do when you're recording to reels of tape than on a PC!

Fluke : Atom Bomb

I'd be lying if I said I knew anything about Fluke outside of this track! Ok, I know they're British, but that's about all. I'm going to give you this link which will give you the lowdown - I recognise my limitations :) I know about this tune from the "Wipeout 2097" soundtrack which is a great compilation of electronic music (though I will never get Underworld. Oh, how I have tried). 

Sway : Flo Fashion

No, not the MTV guy. This Sway is a Ghanaian-British MC who came up really grinding hard, producing his own stuff and releasing it independently, coming right up to All City releasing his first full album "This Is My Demo," which included this track. Definitely one of my favourites from the LP, he shows his characteristic humour on this story of living large on the never-never. Remember to pay your bills folks!

Fun-da-mental : Dog Tribe (Instrumental Primitive Mix)

Just dug this one out and dusted it off, I'd be surprised if it had been on my turntables in the last decade! It just kind of fit the tempo I needed for the blend - sometimes it's just like that :)

Mr. Mike : G's Perspective

Nothin' but the gangsta. Remember a time before No Limit and Cash Money got big? If you do, you may well remember Suave House, home of the group South Circle amongst others. I know I remember them from all the ads in "The Source" :) Anyway, South Circle (Mr. Mike & Thorough) were out of Houston way before it was a hotspot in the wider Hip-Hop consciousness, and dripping with that Southern funk flavour. On this tune from his solo "Wicked Wayz" LP, Mike gives you unrelenting street lyrics over a killer E-A-Ski & CMT production. Check how the heavy piano works as the bass on here, with wah-wah and keyboard just providing the seasoning. G indeed.

PRO ERA : Run Or Fly

I mentioned this track in the show notes a few months ago as my favourite on the "Peep: The aPROcalypse" mixtape/album - love the slightly off-centre feel and the voice sampling from Sacramento's Lee Bannon. The Nougold guys have told me more than one about the flavour coming from California's capital and they aren't wrong! On the mic we have Joey Bada$$ (whose profile seems to grow by the day), Dirty Sanchez, CJ Fly, and the late Capital STEEZ - swaggering all over the track. Nice to hear younger guys embracing something of the older sound but then bringing their own slant on it!

Sir Michael Rocks : New Dress

Dug this one out while flicking through various mixtape downloads I hadn't stuck on my iPod yet - pleasanly surprised to find it! Rocks is 50% of The Cool Kids and this is one of a collection of tracks left over from the "Premier Politics" mixtape - put together into a "Premier Politics 1.5" release. Might be a bit soft for some, but that beat just drew me in...

Oceanlab : I Am Who I Am

I can't totally remember how I found this one - might have heard it on internet radio somewhere. Thought it was great, so decided to search out more! I was probably a little wrong describing the rest of the "Sirens Of The Sea" album as not really being downtempo - it has it's share - but this track is still a clear standout to my ears. Amazingly for a group formed in 2000, they only released that album, their first, in 2008! Still, the wait probably gave them the time to really craft their sound, and this tune shows their polish, with the vocals gliding over some low-key drums and a synth-constructed track. Lyrically it sounds like one lover talking to another in frustration...you'd think that if you were with someone, you'd like them as they were without trying to change them...

The Underdog : From Beyond

Just a little something from an instrumental collection ("Attic Tapes, Vol. 2") by the UK's Underdog, probably best known for his work with The Brotherhood. A low key track to nod your head to!

Don Blackman : Holding You, Loving You

Soul classic! The only way to really pay tribute to the life of Don Blackman was to play this track. It's a love tape staple, and has been sampled a good few times to great effect - it's just gorgeous. The clear standout from his self-titled album - the only solo release of his career. Rest in peace!


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_47.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 4:50pm EST

Harlem Nights

"Old school, new school need to learn though."

- Biggie

I recorded this on a brand new PC setup, been a bit fiddly but got it done! March is here again, so of course there's some Biggie Smalls in the selection. Besides that, got a couple of great Camp Lo tracks (saw them live this month), a new tune out of Manchester, and plenty more - enjoy this while you eat your Easter eggs :) 

In other news; check out some of my nicest Hip-Hop photography at [Ex]hibition #1, opening on April 11th at 2022NQ Manchester, and follow it up with a night at More Bounce with Maseo (De La Soul) and Ali Shaheed Muhammad (A Tribe Called Quest) on the wheels!


Playlist/Notes

Camp Lo : Lumdi (Remix)

Pretty much every time I hear these guys on the mic, I know I'm going to enjoy it :) This one could do with being a bit longer, and being on vinyl! This has a little bit more boom to it than the original (which I think I heard after this) but doesn't change it too much. Both versions take the same classic soul sample but this remix made me think it was a Bollywood sample at first! I think Pete Rock might have produced this version...heavy either way.

Camp Lo : Krystal Karrington

Most people associate Camp Lo with that smoothed-out sound, and justifiably so, but this opener on "Uptown Saturday Night" is just hard as nails sonically. Sonny Cheeba and Geechi Suede just weave in and out with their legendary slang style all over this menacing Ski-produced banger. As an aside, with a bit of pitch-slider trickery on the turntable you make the sound at the start sound like "Shimmy Shimmy Ya" :)

[Q-Tip] A Tribe Called Quest : Butter (Instrumental)

One of my favourite Tribe beats from "The Low End Theory" - light and crunchy at the same time. There's probably an advertising slogan that would fit here. Several great samples blended into this beat, but I don't know if they're all cleared so you're going to have to do your own detective work on this one...

The Mouse Outfit ft. Black Josh : Air Max

Breezy and easy with a collaboration between one of the hottest crews coming out of Manchester and one of the MCs from the Ape Cult, another local crew who are coming up and making some noise. I don't know what the songwriting process is with these guys, who incorporate live instruments but also MPC work and of course MCs, but it is definitely working...single is available free here, but let's hear an album!

David Porter : I'm Afraid The Masquerade Is Over

Bit of a soul classic! David Porter used to write and produce alongside Isaac Hayes at Stax but also had a recording career himself, and this 1972 number is a fantastic record. It's mostly here because it was the source material for the track that follows, but the eagle-eared (?) will spot at least one more sample here...

The Notorious B.I.G : Who Shot Ya?

Always feels a bit weird playing this given that Biggie was shot and killed, but it was one of his hardest tracks so it's a shame not to! 2Pac thought this was aimed at him (so to speak), but this was always denied. In fact, this song seems to have a fairly complicated history on other fronts; it wasn't on "Ready To Die" but I have a version of the album with this as a bonus track, and I think it was originally supposed to have Keith Murray on - I've got an MP3 of an early version that indicates such. The beat seems to be the only constant, a classic from Nashiem Myrick and Puffy (or P Diddy, for the youngsters). You should be able to find this on the B-side of the "Big Poppa" 12". 

Kid Tsunami ft. Sean Price and Chuck Chilla : Bang Exclusive

I'd never heard of Kid Tsunami until I saw this track posted. He's a producer from way down south in Perth, Australia, but signed to a US label (Headbop) and works the Brooklyn connection by pulling in Sean Price on the mic to body this one. Very nice, and the whole single is available on Bandcamp.

Tall Black Guy : Make Life Better

Detroit business! If I remember correctly, it was a tweet by Phonte of Little Brother that put me up on this track. Absolutely brilliant piece, his own take on the Jones Girls' "Nights Over Egypt" with a stack of electronic bounce. This apparently didn't make the cut for the "Hollyweird 2.0" EP, so you know the rest has to be fire! I will definitely be checking for this man in the future...

Marco Polo w/ Big Daddy Kane : Nite & Day

An early leak from the upcoming Marco Polo production project "Newport Authority 2," this is easily one of the best new tracks I've heard this year. Once again a piece of the classic Al B. Sure! "Nite & Day" makes its way into a Hip-Hop track, but this use is centred around the vocal rather than the familiar groove. The resulting beat sounds to me just a little like Gang Starr's "Royalty," or would blend well with it at least! Based on this, that album/mixtape is going to be a must-own on release. 

Ahmad : If You Want It

You may or may not recognise the name - LA artist, got a little shine with an early single "Back In The Day" in 1994. He released one eponymous album which I bought on the strength of the great Roger Troutman being featured on a couple of tracks. I looked Ahmad up and apparently he has really done well for himself - Sociology degree from Stanford, and still writing and producing to this day. Salute! Anyway, this particular track is from the 1995 "Pump Ya Fist (Hip-Hop Inspired By The Black Panthers)" compilation, worth getting if you see it cheap. The funked-out production here is by Big Dave, which would have been a great name for a UK artist...

E-40 & Ice Cube : Behind Gates

It's that "down" sample all the way through this Rick Rock beat that grabs me - your mileage may vary. Picked this 12" up cheap without hearing, just on the strength of the MCs on the track. It might not feature their best verses of all time by any stretch, but it's still pretty good! Nice to see two giants of the west (Vallejo and Los Angeles respectively) come together on this single from the "Loyalty & Betrayal" album.

Heltah Skeltah ft. Vinia Mojica : Therapy

Part of that first Boot Camp Clik wave; a single and a great cut from the debut "Nocturnal" album, but not even the best! If you like that heavy mid-90s sound, you should definitely pick up the whole LP. In the meantime, here's just a taste, with the head nod style of Baby Paul providing the base for them to talk about how life out there affects mental health. 

The ARE : Keep On Trying (Instrumental)

I thought The ARE was a collective but Twitter tells me it's just one man, who has turned out some killer beats! He had a project "Dem Damb Jacksons" which was all based around Jacksons samples, and this is from the instrumental version. Definitely worth checking just for the cleverness!

The Notorious B.I.G ft. Diana King : Respect

Biggie running down his life story up to that point. I've had the impression from more than one person that they regard this song as a weak inclusion on "Ready To Die." Wrong :) This was one of my favourites early, that beat (by Poke of the Trackmasters) is extra-crunchy, slowing down the KC and the Sunshine Band version of George McRae's "I Get Lifted" and putting some extra weight on it. Diana King just broke through to the mainstream with "Shy Guy" after this appearance, where she brings some extra flavour on the hook with her take on Pan Head's "Gun Man Tune." Don't hate.

DJ Vadim ft. Motion Man : Till Sun's In Your Eyes

Nice UK track I'd been thinking about including for a few months, finally found a good place to blend it in; I've had it on 12" for a long while, a single from the "USSR : The Art Of Listening" album. This kind of heavy beat with the semi-wobbly bass is the kind of thing that definitely works for Manchester crowds, but the one thing everyone remembers about this track is the awkward silences in the hook - nice touch!

Clipse ft. Pharrell : Young Boy

Catchy (well, the hook anyway), bouncy, and amazingly dysfunctional! The super Thornton brothers come through with a track from their 2002 debut "Lord Willin'" describing how their family life lead them into the drug business. Great tune, but a pretty awful story if you think about it...

Fat Joe ft. Big Pun : My World

This one is being included in large part because the bit in the hook about Prince always makes me laugh :) The beat takes just a tiny snatch from Luther Vandross' "Don't You Know That?" and uses it well - a second Baby Paul track for this month. No other hidden gems to impart on this one, but you can get it on the "Don Cartagena." Probably a few missteps on there reaching for commercial appeal but where it hits, it hits hard!

pH7 : New York (Instrumental)

Sometimes you just pick up one of those really miscellaneous records when shopping, and this was one! Instrumental of the last track on the "Blazing Heat" 12" on Groove Attack records, which I didn't give much play to but dusted off to find the beat I needed for this spot. pH7 is from Cologne and I've just seen a recent interview with him and his production partner JR - if you like the track, then it's worth a read!

Public Enemy : Long & Whining Road

Great closer in my opinion - I'd recommend seeing the excellent video for this one too. Chuck D, a man too rarely mentioned in the discussion of greatest MCs of all time, gives a full career retrospective of himself and Public Enemy. Get that back catalogue if you haven't already! You could do worse than grab the album this features on, "How Do You Sell Soul To A Soulless People Who Sold Their Soul?," which also contains the track "Harder Than You Think" which was heavily used on the UK Paralympics coverage.


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_46.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 7:00am EST

Omen

"You thought I fell off? You smokin' somethin'..."

- Tim Dog

Big dedication episode. February is the month where we mark the passing of J Dilla, Big L, and Big Pun, but this year we also lost Donald Byrd, Cecil Womack, and Tim Dog. Allow me to pay tribute in this month's selection the best way I know how...putting them into a quality mix.


Playlist/Notes

Caveman : I'm Ready (12" Version)

One of the generation of UK classics from just before I was really up on UK material. Caveman were real trailblazers, coming out of High Wycombe and getting themselves signed to Profile (home of Run DMC and others) back in 1990 - this 12" is based on a track from their "Positive Reaction" LP. Yes, you know the main sample - Jimi Hendrix' "Crosstown Traffic" - no secret there!

Public Enemy : Welcome To The Terrordome (Instrumental)

This is The Bomb Squad at their noisy best! You don't get tracks like this anymore, partly because the cost of all the sample clearances would be off the scale :( For the full version of this track, grab yourself the "Fear Of A Black Planet" album.

Big L & Kool G Rap : Fall Back

I've not played much Big L up to now but was looking for just the right track to slot into this episode. I think the link up with Kool G Rap on this one might have been an editing move, but someone else will know better! The "The Big Picture 1974-1999" album this appears on was released after L's murder, and was drawn from material he was working on at the time but had further work done on it. Regardless, he comes out here on the flamboyant style and then G Rap cleans up and handles the hook over a Shomari beat.

Pharcyde : Soul Flower (Wrong Tree)

After this month's great Pharcyde show (check the photos), I had to give them some love and play a track here! As usual though, tried to go for something a little different :) This is UK producer The Underdog's remix of this track from the debut "Bizarre Ride II..." album. There's apparently an EP of pure "Soul Flower" remixes but I got this on an unofficial-looking vinyl with two versions of "Ya Mama" on the other side.

EPMD ft. LL Cool J : Rampage (Pete Rock Hardcore To The Head Remix)

If you don't know the original for whatever reason you need to check it now - no-frills, extra-hard early 90s track based around a piece from Lowell Fulson's "Tramp." I put this remix a shade behind it but that's no shots, it's still a great cut - Pete Rock bringing out all the percussion on this one along with his signature horns. Great move on production (which a lot of people would have got wrong) to make sure to keep DJ Scratch's cuts in - wouldn't have been the same without them. The original is on the "Business As Usual" album, EPMD's third and, in my opinion, greatly underrated. I got this remix on a white label but I think it's on the original 12" release of the "Rampage" single too.

KRS-ONE & Tim Dog : I Get Wrecked

Bronx bass destruction! Producers TR Love and Moe Love probably locked the mixing room's doors and made Joe The Butcher turn everything up to 11 on this one :) They also provide that Ultra backing for Tim Dog here, and he comes with that raw, gruff style alongside KRS, who is not in "building a nation/saving the children" mode here - just battle mode all the way! Lead single from the "Do Or Die" album, which I don't actually have - didn't make as much noise as "Penicillin On Wax" did, but "F*** Compton" will ensure he's never forgotten...

J Dilla : Side 2, Beat 5

Short and very sweet - I wish I had a proper title for it though! This was from a "white label" (not actually white) of Dilla beats I got many moons ago, some of which turned up on retail tracks but I can't say I recognise this one from anywhere else. If anyone else does, fancy letting me know?

J Dilla ft. Havoc & Raekwon : 24K Rap

Took me a while to work out "why is that bassline familiar?" Then it hit me - Xzibit's "Los Angeles Times." It's used pretty much the same way on both tracks, but Dilla puts a touch more speed on it and hits with enough extra drumming and that spooky keyboard on the top to give it a totally different feel. You can get this one on the "Jay Stay Paid" album, which was released three years after Dilla's passing, formed from instrumentals he'd already done, and put together by a pair of executive producers - his mother, Maureen Yancey (aka Ma Dukes) and Pete Rock. They brought in guest contributions from people Dilla was a fan of, and here we get Havoc and Raekwon on some straight street business. Good choice.

The Beatnuts ft. Big Pun & Cuban Link : Off The Books (Remix)

I definitely prefer this to the original, and that was a great single! "Off The Books" was one of the first tunes to really introduce people to Pun - I can never decide whether they did the right thing letting him open the song or whether they should have put him at the end to nuke the whole thing Freddie Foxxx/GZA style...

DJ Lord Jazz ft. Doitall, Mr Funke, J-Ro, Tash, & Sticky Fingaz : Royalty

I was given the CD this is on by the man Lord Jazz himself after a show in Manchester! The DJ from New Jersey's Lords Of The Underground is definitely doing his own thing on the producer showcase album "The Plain Dealer" but has the whole group together on this track alongside most of The Alkaholiks and Sticky Fingaz. My goodness, does he give them an evil track to rhyme on...love it :)

Mystro ft. Mr Thing : Mystentatious

Illll.Lll. Great example of clever lyrics, Mystro taking a cue from GZA and weaving a street tale while working in the names of places all over the UK. The British listeners will probably appreciate this one the most, but hopefully everyone worldwide will be able to spot a good few :) Scratch expert Mr Thing (formerly of the Scratch Perverts) gets busy on the cuts in the hook, and the on the beat too - definitely dope but does take a back seat to the crazy lyrics on this one! Excellent work from two of the nation's finest, taken from the "Mystrogen" LP which features Junior Reid and Homeboy Sandman amongst others and can be got for a very reasonable price!

Donald Byrd : Wind Parade

A true jazz classic, and a record which has been sampled many times in Hip-Hop, by artists from Black Moon (maybe my favourite) to Organized Konfusion and 2Pac. The late, great Donald Byrd was serious with the bebop but showed plenty of stylistic versatility during his career. The 1975 "Places And Spaces" album, produced by the Mizell Brothers, yielded this beauty. RIP to one of the giants...

The Dazz Band : Let It Whip

Not sure if these guys ever blew up on this side of the pond, but this track won a Grammy! 80s funk with a glittery dancefloor flavour to it, you can tell the difference between this and your 70s kind of records. Dazz are a group from Cleveland, which makes me think there's just something about those Ohio bands - The Ohio Players and Roger Troutman/Zapp all hail from the same state. This track was from the "Keep It Live" album on Motown, though I got it on a 7" - as it was a big hit, it shouldn't be a hard one to find!

Michael Jackson : Get On The Floor

Check out the point at 45:58 coming out of the breakdown where he just overflows with joy and laughs on the track! Full-on disco from the 1979 "Off The Wall" which really is a classic, must-have piece. I thank my godmother for being the first to put me up on this album!

Womack & Womack : Teardrops

As a kid, this record was my introduction to the Womack family - big chart tune which still gets love today! There's a whole long story about how Cecil and Linda came together, for which I'll just give you a link - let's talk about this record. It doesn't hit you in the head with loads of different lyrics, but what is there works a treat and is delivered with quality by Linda Womack - makes it a great sing-along track for the dancefloor. On the music side, it's more sparse than you think; you get some subtle synth and ill bass playing, and those drums are smacking hard! This song will always be old, but never get old.

Blue Six : Bittersweet

This is definitely in the lane of cooled-out house-ish stuff I have grown to really enjoy over the last few years. Blue Six is an alias of the producer Jay Denes and this is from the third and most recent album under that name, the 2010 release "Noesis." More than once in reference to this album, I've heard Roxy Music mentioned, and I can hear little hints of that inspiration in there. Check out what I like to think of as the "unfinished" bassline, minimal and perfectly fitting. Vocals are from Aya, who I've played on the podcast before and who I still hope will release a second album - "Strange Flower" was great! One more subtle detail for the producers - check how the low-pass filter changes on the kick drum line...

Nuyorican Soul : Mind Fluid

For those with wide-ranging tastes in quality music, the 1997 Nuyorican Soul LP (headed up by Masters At Work) is an essential one for your collection. MAW are primarily house producers but the album has Latin, jazz, and a whole load of other flavours going on, played by live musicians for the most part. This track fit nicely in the mix and I love how frenetic it is, the percussion going absolutely mental at that speed and then the synth action really giving a rush too. Only giving you a portion here, but I'd say to you to go and get the rest :)

Wookie : Time

His surname is Chue - you can see how schoolyard business ends up generating his stage name! Wookie's a UK garage producer but his stuff is definitely towards the more soulful and complex end of the spectrum on both the lyrical and musical fronts. This is the closing track on his eponymous debut LP, which is very affordable and recommended! 


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_45.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 3:00pm EST

It's About To Go Down

"We need more construction workers, more doctors, more lawyers..."

- Buckshot

Droppin' it heavy.

Happy new year! First podcast of 2013, got it done just in the nick of time thanks to being super-hectic at work and having a big photo project to work on...hopefully can expand on that later in the year. Anyway, hope you enjoy the tunes, got a few old favourites in there, a couple of left turns, and some great new stuff.

By the way, trying something different in the notes this month - linking to each artist's Twitter profile, not sure if I'll continue to do it in future months but let me know what you think!


Playlist/Notes

9th Wonder & Buckshot : The Solution

Kicking off the month with a very recent release, the title track from the third and latest collaboration between the producer from North Carolina and the Brooklyn mic legend. The album isn't classic, but it is solid enough to be worth a listen. This was a great closer that gave me this month's epigram :) It's so true too - there are far too many people trying to be professional MCs/DJs/producers/whatever who need to just do that as a hobby and have something else to pay the bills! (I have no delusions - I have a day job...)

Large Pro : Still Hanging Out

From his "Beatz Vol. 1" collection, a slight update on the beat he did on "Just Hangin' Out" on the first Main Source album, "Breaking Atoms." You should already know...but if not, it's never too late to learn!

Keith Murray : Escapism

Couldn't help but prick my ears up at the mention of "curiosity" in a track about travelling to Mars! The final non-bonus track from Keith Murray's debut album, and one I always liked. A bit of Hip-Hop trivia for you - allegedly, this track in particular (though the rest of the record too) is what Prodigy is referring to on "The Infamous Prelude" when he complains about MCs who talk about "how much weed you smoke, and that crazy space shit that don't even make no sense..." thus kicking off the beef between them!

Sadat X : Escape From New York

I used to have the "Wild Cowboys" album (one of my few compact discs at the time - goodness knows where it is now) and somehow managed to utterly overlook this track, didn't have it in my memory in the slightest! A few years ago, I was listening to the Mick Boogie & Terry Urban "Unbelievable" Biggie mixtape and the track "Escape From NY" had a Biggie verse followed by Prodigy's second verse from "Keep It Thoro" over a killer jazzy beat. Turned out to be this, and I'd had it for years right under my nose on a vinyl sampler for the Sadat album! The vibraphone and piano-splashed beat comes courtesy of Pete Rock - if nothing else gave it away, the voice samples around the hook are signature.

Joseph Cotton : King Selassie I Live

Bit of a direction change here, going with a quality Rastafari devotional on the Answer riddim. When I was a kid at home, I would hear this bassline everywhere, often coming from streets away, and always wondered why everyone was playing the same tune all the time :) I didn't yet understand the concept of a riddim being used and reused on multiple songs, and this is one of the classics - just check the catalogue...

Artifacts ft. Busta Rhymes : C'mon Wit Da Git Down (Remix)

It's a Newark/Brooklyn connection on the mic, with the Bronx supplying the beat (Buckwild from DITC does the honours). I don't own much Artifacts group stuff but picked this up on a white label; straight-ahead track, nothing left-field about it. The original version on "Between A Rock And A Hard Place" was dope, but this is definitely better - heavy but laid back. All about that bassline.

Mecca:83 : Detroit Twilight

Great Manchester instrumental here, despite the title! I've heard this guy drop his beats live and he's got plenty of talent. You can get this one on the "Life Sketches Vol 1&2" album for a very reasonable price, so have a listen!

Ras Kass & Doc Hollywood : Heidi Klum

From yet another free release, the "Spit No Evil" mixtape/album, they did just enough with this Seal sample to make it work; nicely covered in drums and percussion, with just the right amount of stuttering to add some extra flavour. I had this on the hard drive for quite a while before properly discovering it, but glad I dug it up. When this was recorded, Seal and Heidi had apparently just split up...I guess Ras just couldn't help himself!

Jasiri X : Universal Ruler

Besides "Bushes," this is easily my favourite cut on "#thewholeworldiswatching." Jasiri is a minister in the Nation Of Islam and brings his theological perspective to this tune, which was apparently originally released on a Malcolm X tribute CD. Someone called Kreid is credited with the production, which really grabbed me straight away, does have a very mystical/outer space feel.

Raekwon : Lead Season

Another new track, from the just-released Raekwon free (12-track!) EP "Lost Jewlry" - and funnily enough, right next to the leaked track I played last month! You should already know Rae is one of my favourite MCs, and here he's just bringing those classic street crime bars in his own style. As for the production - I don't know who Frank G is, but he slays it with some heavy chopped guitars all over this one. Get the EP, there's really no excuse not to :)

J-Live : Pronounced Spitta

The "S.P.T.A (Said Person of That Ability)" album kind of slid out there in 2011 without any fanfare (even by underground standards), but it is definitely worth having. J-Live is a true triple threat, who rhymes, produces, and also gets busy on the turntables - on the album, he displays all three sides with skill. On this particular track, Marco Polo brings his own style of modern-vintage production, and J is on the rhymes and cuts - very nice cuts at that!

[None]  PM and Universal : Monsterous (Instrumental)

The "The Shinin' - Director's Cut" EP-type-thing has been getting passed over for so long, I had to show it the light of day! This was a 2000 release on Drunk Decibel records including tracks from guys like Dr. Oop, Samson S, and Vitamin D. I think local legend Pressy was the one who mentioned the name Dr. Oop to me so I picked this up on the strength of that all those moons ago. Doesn't look like the type of record to have had a huge run, so if you like the sound and you see a copy then snatch it up!

Guilty Simpson : Make It Fast

From a bit of a bizarre compilation - "Peanut Butter Wolf presents B-Ball Zombie War!" I was somehow under the impression that it was a soundtrack to one of the NBA 2K games, but not sure...anyway, this tune is Detroit all the way with the beat coming from the late great J Dilla. 

Ghostface Killah ft. Method Man & Raekwon : Flowers (album version/original version)

This is from Ghost's 3rd album, "Bulletproof Wallets," which for me didn't hit like the first two but was still decent. The album version of this track (which plays for the majority of the time here) is actually my favourite, but on the internet at least the clear favourite appears to be the heavily-sampled original. Unfortunately, they couldn't clear the sample and so had to rework the track for release; this copy is off a white label 12". If you like it and want a copy, it's probably your only path...

Too Many Cooks & English : As The Record Revolves

My spars! Back in the day, myself and Too Many Cooks were the DJs behind the Manchester night Family Gathering, and for over four years put together what I'd like to think of as some classic parties :) I met Leeroy and Obelix at an open mic night and as well as DJing they really worked on their production skills - it was great to see them put their heads and wallets together to put some vinyl out. This was easily my favourite track from their "Live And Direct" 12" and features another member of the crew, London mic man English - listening to this will always take me back a little in time :)

Murs x Fashawn (ft. Adrian) : Reina De Barrio (Ghetto Queen)

When did "x" become the new "&" ? I definitely missed that memo. Anyway, I digress. Murs has been putting in work for years, coming out of L.A on what you might call the underground circuit, including a series of LPs with 9th Wonder. Fashawn is one of the new generation coming up and also a Californian - I know he's one of DJ A-Up's favourites, and that's a DJ who definitely stays up to date. The two MCs came together to give us the "This Generation" album and it's a very good piece of work - if you like the West Coast sound you definitely want to hear this. It's very much contemporary rather than harking back overly to the past, and lyrically they have great mic chemistry. Recommended listen!

A3 : LIML

I don't know who A3 is, but this is a nice little beat, taking a big chunk out of Michael Jackson's classic "Lady In My Life" and adding some vaguely Dilla-esque accents to it. Grabbed this from the free "The Smooth Grooves Beat Tape," none of which tries to hide its source material - as such, a good one to listen to for aspiring beatmakers/producers!

Trinidad Steel Drummers : Cissy Strut

A classic track in a different style! The Meters' original version is a funk staple (even if you don't think you know it, you know it) which has been sampled many a time, but to hear it covered on steel pan makes me smile. The drummer on the standard drumkit gets busy - especially on the hi-hat - to keep the time and lets the pan players do their thing in beautiful harmony. Quality. 


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_44.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 4:30pm EST



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