"Children of a lesser god when your melanin's got a tint."

- Pusha

I don't think I'm alone in being glad to see 2016 out of the door. We close out the year with some of the best tracks of the last twelve months mixed in with a bunch of older heat from the collection. Let's hope 2017 has some better days in store for us...


Ras Kass ft. Sean Price and General Steele : Paypal The Feature

From the recent "Intellectual Property" release comes this stomping tune (big up Felony on production) perfect for opening the episode, with the clever sampling of the late great Sean P's XXL "Show 'n' Off" freestyle for the extended hook. As Ras points out, they actually had done tracks together previously, but it did make for a funny line :) Ras has a solid verse here but I think Steele steals the show (no pun intended) with a ferocious sixteen.

Fakts One : Lost & Found

Went back to Fakts' "The Chop Shop" tape for a fitting instrumental, one I hope you enjoy as much as me. I had to do a little chopping myself to extend it long enough to speak over, so I hope the man himself doesn't mind!

HUG ft. Diversion Tactics : My Sound System

Surrey's Diversion Tactics do a fine job on the "Complexity Kills" EP of combining with HUG (who you may know from his work with J-Zone) to give us some no-frills Hip-Hop. I'd forgotten about this one until I took a browse through my vinyls in the new studio and was glad to have it turn up!

Black Moon : Pressure Iz Tight

"Total Eclipse" is the much-underappreciated third LP from Brooklyn's Black Moon, and there are a stack of quality cuts on there, including this one, a mainstay of my gym playlist :) Buckshot and 5ft are on a pure street flex on the mics here while Da Beatminerz add some low end to a classic Dramatics sample for the instrumental. One interesting production touch worth mentioning - check how the actual vocals are periodically scratched into place on the track. To do that, they'd have to take the accapella vocal recording, load it into Serato or something and then scratch and mix it over the instrumental in the correct locations; it's extra work, and it adds a certain extra energy that couldn't have been got any other way.

Akrobatik : Step It Up

Stomping tune from the "Absolute Value" LP - thanks to DJ A-Up for putting me up on this hyped-up banger from one of Boston's greatest MCs. Hezekiah's beat brings to mind a full-scale riot at an opera but never overpowers Ak, who is in full battle gear on this track. The cuts from DJ Jayceeoh just seal the deal.

Jigmastas : Magnetize

DJ Spinna with another ridiculous beat! Jigmastas returned this year after a long absence with the "Resurgence" album and they have not missed a beat. Kriminul buries it on both verses over the banging drums and trembling bassline, all topped off by the Rakim sample on the hook. Big tune!

J-Zone : Chemical (Remix Instrumental)

No-one but Zone has beats that sound quite like this. The keys, the bending bass, the bubbling background effects, and all the other elements come together unexpectedly but perfectly. For this track and many more classic heaters, you need to check the "The Headband Years" instrumental collection and just marvel at the creativity.

Camp Lo : Black Jesus

Can I count this as a Christmas record? This opening track from the "Ragtime Hightimes" LP is vintage Lo, with Geechi Suede and Sonny Cheeba trading fly slang over Ski's beat; sounds almost like a sample from a musical or something on the intro.

Tall Black Guy ft. Ozay Moore : Things Deeper Than My Skin

Tall Black Guy is back with his sophomore album "Let's Take A Trip" and it's a more than worthy follow-up to "8 Miles to Moenart". I've got a few favourites on there but for this episode I've picked the collaboration with Ozay Moore (the same pairing that produced the excellent "Mon Amie De'Troit"), where Ozay goes in-depth about race from his own perspective over TBGs spacey re-interpretation of Joe Jackson's "Stepping Out".

Children of Zeus ft. Caron Wheeler : U Alone (Remix)

Slowly but surely, Manchester's own Konny Kon and Tyler Daly are getting the respect they deserve and this track sees them link up with one of the greats from our own shores, Caron Wheeler of Soul II Soul. The swinging, lazily-timed drum pattern underpins the feel-good beat that gives plenty of space for all the vocalists to get busy with their individual expressions of devotion. Get the download while you can!

Flex : Vibes da Vida

Flex is a young Portuguese MC currently making his home in Manchester and he's made a smart move early hooking up with the Room 2 Records crew. I picked up his "Soul Food" EP from the tail end of this summer and it's definitely worth a listen! He links with New Haven's Maverick Soul on this one, who blesses him with some shoulder-slumping neo-soul-ish production.

Focus : Begin&End

You last heard Focus here on episode 85, but I really wanted to revisit the "Analog In A Digital World" album and bring out one of my favourite tracks. It starts off well, but it's the switch at 32:38 which lifts it up to an even higher level.

Pharaohe Monch ft. Erykah Badu : Hold On

Pharoahe Monch is one of our great writers and certainly when I consider male MCs, someone who I would think adept enough to handle this topic. Three well-crafted verses on misogynoir with the focus on one woman in particular, plus Erykah Badu giving us the intro, outro and the choruses. Ten years old in a few days, the "Desire" album is definitely one for the collection of true followers of the art of rhyme.

Paul Wall : Swangin In The Rain

Still doing at all these years after "Get Ya Mind Correct", plus his breakout work on "Still Tippin'" and his own "Sittin' Sidewayz", Paul Wall may have created another Houston classic with this opener from 2015's "slab god" album. Nothing groundbreaking thematically, but that's not what you come to him for - the car talk and flossing is what it's all about. Scoop DeVille (Kid Frost's son, which makes me feel hella old) uses some old Shalamar for the beat, and makes liberal use of the filters to take out top and bottom end along the way. Check how choppy and glitchy some of the sample triggering and playback is too - intentional I'm sure, and just keeps you that bit off-balance.

Pusha T and Jay Z : Drug Dealers Anonymous

Two coke rap mavens combine to spit drug bars on this June single release. For me, Pusha definitely has the better verse, but this track also stands out in a major way for its sampling and (in Jay's verse) baiting of the awful conservative "commentator" Tomi Lahren. For context, that quote was taken from a tirade against Beyonce's Superbowl 50 performance; not sure what her husband's past has to do with that, but there we go. Production comes from DJ Dahi, keeping it slow and low.

Cold 187um : Alive & Free

I can't work out whether this is one of those records that just I like, or if it's one that more people will catch onto! Very different to any of the Cold 187um/Big Hutch material we might have heard in the past, this tune is the closer on his "The Only Solution" concept album, and sees him going with a completely sung delivery over the instrumental of "Last Chance" by ABK. For what it's worth, I think this track is much better - I'd be interested to know how you all feel about it!

Jake One : Fie

Jake One is one of those artists with his own modern take on golden era production values, and his "#PrayerHandsEmoji" beat tape has him going with a single concept (gospel sampling) and running with it over twenty-four serious tracks. I love the ominous feel of this one with the vocal sample occasionally swelling up from the background, and the periodic double-speed hi-hat programming is a nice accent.

Terrace Martin : God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen

I've been meaning to play this for a long while - at least a year, but actually I think it may be two! It's a great take on a staple English Christmas carol, with a sax lead and allsorts going on with the synth bassline. You can get more jazzy Xmas flavour from Crenshaw's finest on his "Times" LP.

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_91.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 6:30am EDT

"I've seen the streets... you're walking down."

- Tyler

"Power to the people and the beats"

- Chuck D

What a month. The result of the US Presidential election has the world in turmoil, and legions of hateful people now feel emboldened to act out in public - it feels like the Brexit result turned up way past 10. On a personal note, I had to relocate the whole podcast studio and music library, but committed to getting an episode out on time and have just about managed it; this month of all months, I couldn't let things go by without a musical comment.

RIP Sharon Jones and David Mancuso... all love.


Intelligent Hoodlum : Arrest The President

You didn't think I was going to let the events of this month go by without comment, did you? Taking it all the way back to 1990 for this hyped-up anthem from Intelligent Hoodlum's eponymous debut album. Marley Marl provides the uptempo soundtrack for the young Queensbridge native (just 19) to spray over. His own life was rough and you can easily feel that the content of the lyrics could come from witnessing these situations first-hand.

Strange Angel : La Chanteuse

A little number from a local group who've since gone on to do other things, most notably as the KJs - a lovely moody instrumental with atmospheric vocal accents from the artist now known as Vieka.

Brand Nubian : Concerto In X Minor

Another 1990 album for this cut, the Brand Nubian debut "One For All". Derek X (now Sadat X) comes to the fore to man the mic solo for this one; sadly, the content is as relevant today as it was back them. The names may change, but the shame remains the same. On the sonic side, listen for DJ Alamo's occasional scratched contributions during the verses, completing Derek's phrases or adding a co-sign - more of that would be welcome in the present day!

Janelle Monae : Locked Inside

If you just let this one drift by you, you might confuse it for a standard love song, but listen carefully to the lyrics and you'll appreciate how well it fits into the theme for the month. Musicially, I love the change-up that you first hear twenty-four bars in and then later on in the track. Get this one on the "The ArchAndroid" album.

Clear Soul Forces : Solar Heat

Rarely do you hear MCs flowing at these kinds of speeds nowadays, but these Detroit boys are up to the challenge! I had to give it up and buy the "Gold PP7s" album after hearing this, because the skills are just undeniable. Ilajide has you thinking at first you're getting some jazzy lounge music before hitting you in the face repeatedly with the kick drum that drives the beat below the ridiculous verses. If you think there's no good Hip-Hop these days, you aren't paying attention :)

Twenty One Pilots : Fairly Local

The lead single from the 2015 album "Blurryface", my first experience with this track was a few seconds played on Bomani Jones' "The Right Time" podcast coming back from an ad break. I can't remember if I searched the lyrics or used Soundhound, but I just had to find out what it was! Ohio's Twenty One Pilots are a duo who are pretty fluid genre-wise but definitely have some Hip-Hop influence. The lead vocalist, Tyler Joseph, has an interesting tone and I think it's the combination of that on the hook and the cold, angular beat that makes for a winning combination.

Zero 7 : All Of Us

Probably the last time we go to the "Yeah Ghost" album, this was just an instrumental I realised lined up really well with the previous track; the slow build makes for a nice long blend - despite the differing time signatures.

A Tribe Called Quest : Dis Generation

After eighteen years, A Tribe Called Quest return with a new LP "We got it drom Here...Thank You 4 Your service" - and sadly, their last, with Phife passing away before this was completed. This album is no poor relation though, and it's absolutely one of the releases of the year. I could have chosen any number of tracks to be included here, but this was my early favourite so I decided to stay with it. It features all the original members of Tribe, including Jarobi, and features Busta Rhymes, who broke out all those years ago on "Scenario" and comes back with fire in the belly on this album. Extra points for the sample of Musical Youth's "Pass The Dutchie" for the hook!

Common ft. Bilal : Letter To The Free

I actually wanted to play this last month, as it's played at the end of Ava DuVernay's masterful documentary "13th", but I just couldn't find a copy anywhere. As it turns out, it's on Common's new "Black America Again" album, and with the events of the last month I think it's just as apt here; Trump and his campaign slogan get an explicit mention in the second verse. Bilal contributes vocals to the chorus, and the piano work on the Karriem Riggins production is courtesy of Robert Glasper. The whole team did a great live performance of this at The White House - worth listening to. I did notice that not only did they have to take out the one curse, but also the names of an ex-president and the one to come...

Robert Glasper Experiment : This Is Not Fear

This song from the excellent new "ArtScience" album starts off with a high-energy jazz workout, so we join in about halfway through to bridge to the next track; I love the head-nod vibe though, so it's worth playing in its own right even though it's so short.

A Tribe Called Quest : Can I Kick It?

With some of the new Tribe on this month's show, I thought it might be worth playing the track that most of us first heard them on! This was actually the third single from their debut "People's Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm", but it was the first to break out on the charts to such an extent that I heard it on UK radio. That bassline sample from Lou Reed's "Walk on the Wild Side" is the most recognisable element of the track, but also the one responsible for Tribe not seeing a penny from it to this day!

Jay-Z : 22 Twos

Let me just get this out of the way; it should really be "22 Toos". Actually, I think there was a "to" in there, so "21 Toos and a To".

I couldn't pass up the chance to blend the start of this track into the end of "Can I Kick It?" :) We go all the way back to Jay-Z's debut "Reasonable Doubt" for a street lyrical workout over a beat from Ski.

[Alchemist] Mobb Deep, Big Noyd, Bars N Hooks, & Don Alon : More Like Us (Instrumental)

Disco flavour on this Queensbridge 12" - you could probably get away with playing this Alchemist instrumental as a dance or bar with no-one having an inkling of the street origin of the main record. I may or may not have done this :)

Slick Rick : I Own America (Part 1)

I somehow managed to forget about this one even though it was a favourite when "The Art Of Storytelling" was released! DJ Clark Kent and Ty Fyffe keep it basic and still danceable on the beat and Rick is 100% on his "The Ruler" persona with the lyrics - so much so, that if you look closely at the album cover, you can see that the words he's writing are some of those from this track. "Even your kids tell you that you ain't sh!t to Slick Rick"? Oooh... One thing he hopefully won't have to worry about is deportation - after years of legal trouble, he finally got his US citizenship this year!

Public Enemy : Hazy Shade Of Criminal

"Take a piece of America back, but who had it first?" Just one of the on-point lines from Chuck D on this under-appreciated but quality single from "Greatest Misses" (Chuck didn't want to do a "greatest hits" collection, as he felt it signalled falling off/retirement)! This is a solid and still-relevant piece on how wealth and race can be the deciding factors on whether your conduct is considered to be criminal, and it's pleasantly close in sound to their sample-heavy heyday, with the Ultramagnetic-sampling beat being the kind of thing only Chuck could dominate.

Wu-Tang Clan : Uzi (Pinky Ring)

I remember when this came out ahead of the "Iron Flag" album, some critics had negative stuff to say. Those people were wrong. The Wu go back to basics with everyone (except ODB) jumping on this banging track, and as it was in the beginning (on "Protect Ya Neck"), GZA comes in at the end to clean up.

Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings : What Have You Done For Me Lately?

It would be very easy to lead you wrong here for the laughs, but I'll do no such thing :) This classic-sounding funky soul record is in fact a relatively recent recording from Sharon Jones' 2002 debut "Dap Dippin' with Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings", and as such is actually a cover of Janet Jackson's track of the same name! Sharon Jones, who sadly passed away this month at just 60, spent years working at hard jobs and doing session vocals on the side until finally getting her break and releasing her first solo record at the age of 40. She was an electric performer who some of us in Manchester were lucky enough to see grace the city with one of her legendary shows - she threw down like the soul greats of many years before her! May she rest peacefully.

J-Zone : Clubba Lang (Instrumental)

From J's "Fish-N-Grits" LP, you get an instrumental towards the end that speaks to both his recorded origins as a sampling wizard (and bassist) and his later work as a man that can get busy on the drums in a major way. It's great to see him recording again.

Earth, Wind, & Fire : That's The Way Of The World

Entering the three-song selection for David Mancuso with the title track from EWF's sixth album (and in fact, the soundtrack to a film of the same name which they were in!) Despite this, it's probably not one of their best-known tracks but it's a nice laid-back number to start things off.

Stevie Wonder : As

One of the classic Stevie songs, an ode to everlasting love, from one of the greatest albums of all time, "Songs In The Key Of Life". That's a record you absolutely must have in your collection; the National Recording Registry at the Library of Congress agree with me on that one!

Ashford & Simpson : Stay Free

We finish with a record that was not just big at The Loft but also at the legendary Paradise Garage club (the one from which the term "garage music" comes). Nickolas Ashford & Valerie Simpson were red-hot songwriters for Motown who wrote classics like "Ain't No Mountain High Enough", "You're All I Need To Get By" and many more before striking out as artists themselves (oh, and marrying). This 1979 album title track has some of the disco vibe to it, but in the good way, the soulful way. A beautiful track and message to end the month.

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_90.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 4:00pm EDT

"Penitentiary's the plan to plant the new plantation."

- Treach

I'm currently getting ready to relocate the podcast studio but still got this episode out on time. Round of applause? As the autumn begins, the feel starts to get a little darker - not a full-on Halloween episode, but touching on everything from zombies to the upcoming US election (well, kind of) and finishing with a track from a long-time supporter of the show!


As promised, here are some charities helping Hurricane Matthew victims;

Lambi Fund

Haiti Communitere

Medicins Sans Frontieres


Shows to make this month;

Large Pro & Diamond D, November 10th

Slick Rick, November 25th


Flatbush Zombies : Thug Waffle

Suitably Halloween-themed first artist? The man you hear on the intro, Agent J was the man who introduced me to this one! As you'd expect from their name, the Zombies hail from the Flatbush area of Brooklyn, and have been releasing music since 2012. No strangers to psychedelics, their debut mixtape was entitled "D.R.U.G.S", and "Thug Waffle" was their debut video. Lyrically, it's on some straight drug business -  from the consumer end - and Erick Arc Elliot's production is bassy, dark and trippy in terms of sonics but tightly-timed. It might not be everyone's cup of tea, but it's just one that grabbed my ears!

Kuartz : Night Train

This man just keeps pumping out the beats! March this year saw the release of his "The Tormented Revenge of Slick Jnr" instrumentals on which this track appears, worth checking out over on Bandcamp. This guy must have disk after disk of unheard material...may have to ask for a crafty listen!

Agallah : Propain Campaign Election

There isn't ever going to be another month in the future where this song will fit any better. I do like this record, it's a strange one - it's like they just crowbarred as many political references (accurate or not) as possible into a street record! Released just as Bush's presidency ended and Obama's began, the "Agobama" mixtape is politically-tinged all the way through, and on this cut Agallah's production fits perfectly, coming off like a Hip-Hop version of a news theme. I'd like to credit all the MCs here, but the copy I have of this tape doesn't have full credits and even searching the web isn't turning up much. Oh, one last thing; yes - Agallah called President Obama that several years before Larry Wilmore, but I dare say considerably after many Republicans would have done the same in an entirely less affectionate fashion...

Curren$y & Alchemist : 500 Pounds Of Gas

Just a short number, but I love the feeling. Alchemist digs down to give Spitta Andretti something sinister on this selection from the "Carrolton Heist" mixtape, something like if John Carpenter met Lord Finesse!

Travis Barker ft. The Cool Kids : Jump Down

Big up DJ A-Up for putting me up on this one a while back! For those who don't know, Travis Barker is the drummer from Blink-182, and while they may be on the punk vibe Travis is known to dabble in the Hip-Hop world. His "Give The Drummer Some" (good title!) debut solo LP sees him collaborating with a wide range of Hip-Hop artists, and right here he lays his drums down behind the Midwest's BMX bandits The Cool Kids. On the rest of the production, he manages to craft a track that fits them perfectly without actually biting their style - nice job.

The Mouse Outfit ft. Fox : Wrap Another Zoot (remix)

With their new remix album hitting the streets, I thought I'd play a Mouse Outfit cut which has been re-imagined by some solid guys on the Manchester scene, Band and Nymad. Jim Bane is a D&B DJ and producer who has been putting in work for years, and he got the green light from Chini to put together a new version of this cut from the "Step Steadier" LP. He and Nymad have crafted a track that you might have described as laid back if it weren't for the highly complex drum programming, blending electronic and acoustic sounds deftly. Also, being a DJ, I need to make sure the scratching gets recognised - like a chef with the salt, Jesterman adds just the right amount! Fox is a highly-versatile vocalist who does his thing over all kinds of beats, and this is a winning combination.

Jel : Special

If you are or have been a fan of the Anticon side of things, you might be familiar with Jel as a producer - he's done tracks for Atmosphere, Sole, and Sage Francis amongst others. He debuted as a solo artist with the "10 Seconds" album, a love letter to the SP-1200 drum sampler, back in 2001. The title itself refers to the total sample time on the machine, and each track is named after a control or function on it. This one happens to have a most fitting title as it's a clear standout, with Jel showing off his drum programming over a reggae-rooted groove.

Dr. Dre : Deep Cover (Instrumental)

This is one of the all-time great beats, thought I'd go do a little Halloween scratching on it before letting the whole track go!

Dr. Dre introducing Snoop Doggy Dogg : Deep Cover

Here we go with the full version, a hugely important single - Dre's first after leaving NWA, and the title track to the soundtrack for the Fishburne/Goldblum film of the same name. Few knew what to expect beforehand but from those first bass notes on the intro crackling into my room via the pirate radio, I knew it was a killer. This was Snoop's first on-record appearance, and in an era before Youtube - or even widespread MTV - we had no idea what this mysterious new MC looked like. As it turns out, he was about a foot taller than I imagined :) The voice he came with was quite unlike anyone we'd heard before, and as good as he was, there was little clue that the guest MC on the record would reach the heights he has! Apparently this was going to be on "The Chronic", but with the then-controversy around Body Count's "Cop Killer", I guess a track with a hook of "1-8-7 on an undercover cop" was considered a little too much...

Clear Soul Forces ft. Brogainz : Won Too

This one has missed the cut for a few episodes in a row but finally it finds a sonically-fitting place here. A one-off bonus cut available on Bandcamp, the Ilajide-produced beat bumps along really nicely and the on the mic...these Detroit MCs are showing off their skills for real.

Naughty By Nature : Chain Remains

This has always been a favourite of mine from the "Poverty's Paradise" album, essentially a Treach solo track where laments how many Black people are in prison and draws an explicit connection from slavery to modern-day incarceration. An extra-poignant note is added by having the voices of actual inmates played on the track between the verses; whenever I hear it, I always wonder what ended up happening to them.

dead prez : Behind Enemy Lines

Keeping the theme going from the previous track, we head to dead prez' 2000 debut "Let's Get Free". The strong opening verse makes specific reference to the jailed son of the Black Panther Fred Hampton, who was himself killed by the police & FBI (the recent film "13th" goes into some of the detail). As a whole, the track offers DPs perspective on the prison-industrial complex in general, an example of how someone with few options might find themselves there, and the impact on families. I think this is the perfect month to give this an airing.

Gaelle : Haiti (Interlude)

A gentle little instrumental from the very enjoyable "Transient" album, with Eddie "Ede" Wright taking the starring position on the guitar.

MC Trouble : Blackline

For all the enormous contributions Motown have made to Black music, they've never been a big player when it comes to Hip-Hop. They found a promising artist in the young MC Trouble, who released her debut and only album "Gotta Get A Grip" in 1990, only for us to lose her tragically only a year later at just 21 after an epileptic seizure triggered a fatal heart attack. This was easily my favourite cut from her album, conscious lyrics with an effective take on the "news interview" style. RIP Trouble.

Michael Jackson : Rock With You

One of Rod Temperton's many classics, and putting it into the hands of Michael Jackson allowed the song to be taken to the heights it needed to be at. Not much I can say about this that hasn't been said before, but make sure you have the "Off The Wall" album in your collection!

Patti Austin : Oh No Margarita

Rod Temperton did do some writing on this album, but not this track - however, I came up with the transition from "Rock With You" to this a long while back and the opportunity came up to do it for you! Patti Austin is a truly great artist who has turned her skills to soul/R&B, pop, and jazz over a career that started in the late 1960s. She has worked extensively with Quincy Jones and he's the man helming the production on this 1981 album, "Every Home Should Have One" - if we're talking about copies of the record, I agree wholeheartedly! This track was written by Patti Austin with Michael Boddicker and it's kind of an R&B-jazz fusion, with the jazz element most explicit when the track breaks down to a crazy rhythm part way through. I forgot about that when I played this in a bar once :)

Big Daddy Kane : I Get The Job Done

Always a pain when the snare drums on the track are double-hitting and make it sound like your mixing is off! Anyway, we keep it 80s with this cut from the second BDK album, "It's A Big Daddy Thing" where the topic is a staple for Kane - how he gets down with the ladies. Production comes courtesy of the New Jack Swing legend Teddy Riley; I would have said originator, but let's not forget Jam & Lewis' work a few years before that really fed into the sound. You can certainly hear his signature all over this one, and even though I was never much of an NJS fan I do love this track.

[Sean C & LV] Busta Rhymes : Don't Touch Me (Instrumental)

Drum madness all over this one! Originally recorded for Busta Rhymes' "Back On My B.S." album, it was for some reason omitted from the final release - a shame, as it was making some decent noise when people first heard it, and it's an obvious single. I picked this up on 12" and it should still be available fairly inexpensively. I may play the vocal version for you sometime in the future!

DJ Woody : Ready For War

It's been a long time coming, but the highly-respected turntablist and no-fader scratch legend DJ Woody has finally released his debut LP, "The Point Of Contact". I jumped on it early to get one of the limited number of vinyls, but the digital download version is an absolute bargain. The link I just posted has a way better write-up of the production process than I could give you, but it's been a process of going back and forth with other instrumentalists to create the final product, and it works really well. This particular track is fittingly kind of hectic with a real ominousness to it, and perfectly-chosen samples are scratched as expertly as you'd expect. Big up Woody!

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_89.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 2:00pm EDT

"We're an ice machine."

- Grace Jones

A combination of the tail end of summer and the recent upgrade of my car audio has prompted me to put together something I've been wanting to do for a long while - a low-tempo mix to ride slow to! The obvious thing would have been to go heavy on the Houston, Screwed Up Click style, but there's actually only one tune here that really fits that description; overall it's a very varied selection which will hopefully keep you entertained and impressed all the way through!

(I don't have the car in the cover art anymore, but I just had to use this photo. Check that colour coordination.)


Ski & Camp Lo : Back Uptown

It's always good to open up strong and this just bangs. Ski disrespects your speakers early with this seriously aggressive production and then laces it with the Bronx slick talk legends Camp Lo, who handle it as adeptly as any of the smoother tracks you might know them for. Ski's "24 Hour Karate School" has this and plenty more for you.

Alchemist : Smoke Break (Instrumental)

We've had the vocal version of this "Covert Coup" track with Curren$y on the show (Episode 29) but I just love the beat and after playing about with various things getting ready for this episode, this turned out to be a great fit. Alchemist does a top job with a well-known drum sample, which I didn't spot right away - but you might!

Slim Thug, Z-Ro, and Paul Wall : Pokin Out

I've been saving this one for ages, knowing I wanted to do an episode like this! The interpolation of the old Joe Jackson "Steppin' Out" sample by Scoop DeVille has an amazingly triumphant, celebratory feel, amplified by the (maybe just slightly?) off-key chorus. This is just a straight-out balling track about rolling on deluxe wheels with no apology - all the verses are solid, but I think Z-Ro on the second absolutely steals the show.

GQ : Think Of Me

Going back to GQ's debut album, "Rated Oakland", we catch him as he skips his flow over the Madonna-sampled beat by Eric G, letting you know that negative opinions - or any, in fact - don't concern him. He did record a whole song about it, mind, but the point is taken ;)

Oddisee : Wouldn't Be Surprised

Only short, but a perfect bridge here as we revisit the "AlWasta" EP, just talking about staying focused on the money in his professional life. One verse says it all.

Grace Jones : Nightclubbing

A vintage piece I only really got up on recently, immediately recognising that it was used to great effect on Shyne's "Bad Boyz". It's the title track to her fifth album, the outcome of her work with masters like Sly & Robbie at Compass Point Studios in the Bahamas. Very much going with her Jamaican roots, the reggae influence is heavy and just sounds great. Another interesting point is that this is a cover version - Iggy Pop did the original, in collaboration with David Bowie. This version just destroys it though :)

Dr. Yen Lo : Day 811

Mysterious, no? I completely missed this album when it came out last year, but once I heard the first three songs this month I bought the whole thing. Dr Yen Lo (named for the character in "The Manchurian Candidate") is a project by the expert pensman and emcee Ka from Brownsville, and the producer Preservation (of Sonic Sum, and also Yasiin Bey's tour DJ), and the "Days With Dr. Yen Lo" LP is made up of twelve tracks, all named for a particular numbered day. Preservation nails the low-key production throughout, with a vibe that will be familiar to those who've checked for Ka albums like the capsule masterpiece "Grief Pedigree" - but when he does go a little louder, like the second part here, he makes it work.

Cutterz : Flip It In, Turn It Out

From Manchester's Taste The Diff'rence crew, Cutterz has been doing his thing on the turntables for a good while - now, we hear how he gets down on the beats. He sent this beat through a few months ago for me to hear and I knew that this would be the episode to save it for! The timing is so relaxed it barely made it onto the track, and it slumps along nicely with some deep bass buried in there.

Boldy James ft. Peechie Green : 50 Foot Razor Blade

Going more than a little dark here, as Detroit's Boldy James gives you a one-verse treatment on pain, before letting his man Peechie get on the second verse. Boldy is unquestionably stronger on this track, and he fits the vibe of the Harry Fraud-produced beat.

Ernie Gaines : When The Gun Gets Drawn

From the extremely hard-to-buy (thanks to T.S. Jones from Moonchyld's Entertainment blog for sourcing this one!) Prodigy-helmed soundtrack from "A Talent For Trouble" comes this bluesily-sung track with a very interesting mix of textures on the production side. Notice how that even though the track is essentially an acoustic number lead by the guitar, the electronic drums with those little rolls are a total contrast. That hi-hat on the hook is spitting like hot grease too. Ernie Gaines is a man not afraid to mix styles, which makes for an interesting listen. Check his new "Lost In Time" album to hear how he's built from 2009 to now.

Tall Black Guy : The Motor Is Running

Another one I'd been saving for this episode! Gorgeous instrumental from TBG, with his Rhodes work and warm bass notes mixing with backwards keyboards and some crisp drums which periodically break out into some very busy programming - then he brings a load more seasoning to the party. Top notch selection from the "8 Miles To Moenart" album.

The System : Don't Disturb This Groove (Redux)

Only discovered this remix this month, and after the third rewind I knew a home had to be found for it here. The System are one of those acts you probably won't know unless you were around at the time; previously working with Kleeer as keyboardist and road manager, they got their own recording deal around 1983. The original version of this cut was a #1 hit and title track from their fourth album, but this mix is taken from their 2013 "System Overload" project, bringing the sound bang up-to-date with a bassy and spacey vibe.

Onra : Tape This

All the way into the word of warping and distortion with this number from Onra's heavily 80s-influenced "Long Distance" LP. I really need to convert my vinyl of this to MP3, since Spotify don't have it at all...

Freddie Old Soul : Shopping In My Mind

Coming out of Chicago, this MC shows her very solid pen game on this lullaby-with-boom beat. Right now Soundcloud is the place to go to check out her work, but with any luck we'll get an album!

Sophie Barker : Say Goodbye (The Beauty Room Remix)

You may know Sophie Barker as one of the writers and vocalists who worked with Zero 7 on their first two albums, whether it be on the hook of the brilliant single "Destiny" or the beautiful "Passing By" to name but two appearances. She also has her own career separate from the group, and this remix is on a single released from her "Seagull" LP. The electronic vibe and (much) heavier drums and bass here are provided by The Beauty Room, a combination of the techno producer Kirk Degiorgio and the vocalist Jinadu. The original is very nice, but for my listening taste this is a great interpretation.

PJ : I'm Good

Anyone who says there isn't good music coming out these days just isn't paying attention. North Carolina's PJ is a singer-songwriter whose soulful new album "Rare" is definitely worth checking, and this tune is a great illustration of why. She mixes her rhyming and singing side nicely and the production sways between just dreamlike and low-key D&B. While PJ may not have wanted to be an artist at first, she shows here that it was just meant to be.

Unkle : U.N.K.L.E. Main Title Theme

This has been a four-star pick on my iPods for a long time, and this is finally the perfect place to include it! Unkle (sometimes U.N.K.L.E) is a project which has had many personnel changes over the years, but which has always been headed up by James Lavelle of Mo' Wax. At the time of the "Psyence Fiction" album on which this track appears, DJ Shadow was the lead collaborator and you can absolutely hear it all the way through here. Can't get enough of that lead guitar line!

Harry Fraud : Phoenix (Instrumental)

This is something I could imagine The Diplomats on! However, this is a beat Harry Fraud did for the New Jersey MC Eddie B's "The Johnny Utah Story" mixtape. Definitely worth listening to the vocal version - Eddie takes on the beat by following the hi-hat pattern for a rapid-fire flow with great control on the opening verse.

Natural Elements : Turning Tables

It's nice to hear some love for the DJs! The highly-respected NE crew take some time to respect the foundation on this track from their "NEp", with Charlemagne slowing things down on the piano-based, bass-augmented beat. I was wondering who they had singing on the hook, and then realised it was a sample that I wouldn't have expected - some of you might know it, but I'm saying nothing else ;)

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_88.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 2:00am EDT

"You get that, money?"

- Sean Price

Back with another episode, fresh off a trip to the Mecca of Hip-Hop, New York City! I didn't pick up any new vinyl on the trip but I did get a bunch of inspiration for the selection this month - I think you'll enjoy it. As promised, here are some of my photos from NYC, and here is a full album just of the Tools Of War Diggers Delight jam - it deserved its own extended coverage!


Cam'ron ft. Jay-Z and Juelz Santana: Welcome To New York City

Well, when else was I going to get the chance to start an episode with this? :) Big track from the "Come Home With Me" album, with a triumphant and defiant tone, especially in the wake of the World Trade Center attack that happened less than a year before. Just Blaze, then in his early days with Roc-A-Fella, absolutely kills the production on this, giving it a tone like something from a bombastic sportscast theme. And that 80s hair metal singer on the hook? That's him too.

Pro P : Cops and Robbers

One of the foremost Manchester producers for that boom-bap sound, Pro P brought it once again on his "Street Life Beat Tape". He stays knocking out the work - you'll have heard earlier work on past episodes.

Sean Price ft. Starang Wonder and Steele : Shakedown

Unapologetic roughness from the late, great Sean P's solo debut, "Monkey Barz", with three Boot Camp Clik MCs dropping some straight street talk. One bit of trivia for you; I've heard this same verse used on a separate guest appearance (recorded previously, I assume), and the sound of prison bars closing in the first verse is actually the censoring out of the name of a prominent industry figure...I think you can guess who if you think about it! Star.com and Justice are on production, basing their beat around those plucked strings and slow, pounding drums. Listen out for the bass as well; it's barely a bassline, just a low drone that gets turned up on the second beat of each two-bar phrase - but it's the perfect menacing undertone.

M.O.P. ft. Mr Probz : Hustle

Been playing this track a fair bit this month and it just so happened to fit well into this spot. Lil Fame and Billy Danze are kind of reflective here, but they never take that energy out of their deliveries! They definitely elevate the Beat Butcha instrumental, and while it may not be to everyone's taste, I think the slightly-autotuned hook by Mr Probz absolutely works here. This is the second time we've visited the "Street Certified" album, and there are a good few more solid tracks to find on that release.

Stephen Marley ft. Rakim and Kardinal Offishall : So Unjust

A recent release I thought you'd appreciate; a rare Rakim appearance on the new Marley album "Revelation Pt.II : The Fruit Of Life", speaking righteousness alongside Toronto's Kardinal Offishall, a man who excels at the nexus of reggae and Hip-Hop. This track apparently started with more of a Hip-Hop lean but was reworked into the shape you hear here; maybe in the future we'll hear it as a remix?

Sister Nancy : Bam Bam

One of the all-time classic reggae singles! Sister Nancy was one of the first, if not the first dancehall DJs (MC, to you) to emerge, and one who has worked with some of the great producers and sound systems. This track has been so ever-present, I was really surprised to find it was only released in 1982! It rides on the late Winston Riley's classic "Stalag Riddim", which has been so heavily recorded on and sampled that I bet most listeners will recognise it, and Nancy's voice cuts through on the high end - you might recognise that too. 

Gladiator : Run To Me

Another trip to the "Smooth Grooves Beat Tape" by The Beat Tape project; I don't have much info on Gladiator, but s/he did a good job here!

DJ Spinna ft. Phonte : Intergalactic Soul

I was scratching my head trying to work out what the following track reminded me of, and this was my closest pick. The sound of it fits the title perfectly, and it's the title track from DJ Spinna's second solo album (don't forget his Jigmastas work). The bar count is a little unusual for Hip-Hop, but Phonte handles it with no problem, and he's gone on to show he can rhyme on pretty much anything. A lot of the album is more uptempo, but this is a tasty headnodder.

The Mouse Outfit ft. Truthos Mufasa and Black Josh : Sit Back (Sivey Remix)

The Mouse Outfit have a remix LP coming out in October and they kindly gave me an advance listen and permission to share a little something with you! Manchester's Sivey works a little magic on a cut from the "Escape Music" LP, spacing it out and giving it even more of an explicitly live feel. The full remix project is one to grab - you heard that here first :)

Scritti Politti : Die Alone

From the "Anomie & Bonhomie" LP, which was laden with Hip-Hop influences and artists, we carry on that live feel but with more of a straightforward head-nod rhythm driving things. The album credits don't say who's on each track, so I'm not sure who's rhyming, but they mesh well with Green Gartside's vocal interjections. He's got one of the most unique voices in music, and if he was to collaborate with more people, I wouldn't mind at all...

Slum Village ft. J.Isaac and Kurupt : It'z Your World 

This is a track that's always been a personal favourite but which I've never heard outside my own selection! This is on the "Prequel To A Classic" LP, and is a real standout on there. Production is by J Dilla and Young RJ, bridging the original lineup and the changes that came after Dilla's passing, and it's just...so dope. J.Isaac is from Minneapolis and released just one LP, 2002's "Marriage Material" - so you could be forgiven for not being familiar. He's kind of animated vocally but I think it's a nice offset to the track, which isn't particularly busy. Kurupt puts in a short guest appearance, with Slum bringing him back after his verse on "Forth & Back" from "Fantastic, Vol.2".

Charlie : Mr Trustmaker

Taking it to Italy with this nice piece from Charlie of the Beatfonics Crew - this particular project based around the work of Bobby Hutcherson, who sadly passed away this month. At only one Euro for the whole thing, it's well worth picking up!

Masters Of Illusion ft. Kool Keith : The Bay-Bronx Bridge

Modern(ish) retro stylings here, from the 2000 "Masters Of Illusion" LP. Kutmasta Kurt cooks up a beat that could easily been on the Ultramagnetic MCs' 1988 "Critical Beatdown", and Motion Man's verse is very much a homage to Kool Keith; in fact, one part is a rework of a piece from "Ease Back". Keith himself comes in for the second verse and is definitely in fine form!

Future Troubles and Merciless : Man A Thug

Big dancehall favourite for me! I first heard this in the early 2000s, blended with the instrumental of Missy Elliott's "She's A Bitch", which sounded incredible - but I can't be a biter and do the same blend here! The late E.J. Robinson puts down a heavy riddim for the tag team to get busy on, and they do it justice. Picked this up this year on 7" and had to share it with you. 

Eric B & Rakim : Lyrics Of Fury

Probably the most sampled drum break in Hip-Hop history combined with some furious guitars from Funkadelic on this microphone throwdown from the god MC. If you're new-ish to Hip-Hop you may be hearing this for the first time - in which case, do yourself a favour and check the whole "Follow The Leader" album.

Hijack : Brother Versus Brother

Hijack are apparently releasing a new album within the next year, roughly 25 years on from the much-respected "The Horns Of Jericho" LP, from which we take this selection. Kamanchi Sly just brims over with indignance and frustration on this one, over a suitably urgent backing. A vintage bit of UK Hip-Hop!

Kwanzaa Posse : Wicked Funk

I don't know anything about this act unfortunately, but this is a nice bit of sample stew I first heard on a Martin Brew mixtape! Even the casual diggers amongst you will recognise some bits...

Marvin Gaye : Trouble Man

A classic bit of Marvin, the title track from the soundtrack of the Robert Hooks-starring 1972 Blaxploitation film. It's one of the vocal numbers which focuses on the main character, but the soundtrack is largely instrumental, with Marvin playing more instruments than many would expect! There's a whole backstory to the recording here that's well worth reading.

Has-Lo : Hindsight (Apollo Brown Mix)

I think that one of Spotify's recommendation playlists brought this track to my attention, so apologies if it was actually one of you! Short in the way that frustrates you, this is just fantastic. An Apollo Brown-remixed version (from the "Conversation B" album) of "Limit" from Has-Lo's "In Case I Don't Make It", it starts off with a long uninterrupted sample from Marvin Gaye's classic "Trouble Man" before looping it up perfectly under some heavy-yet-understated drums and on top of a nice bit of sub-bass. Philadelphia Hip-Hop is often overlooked (except perhaps for The Roots), but Has-Lo represents for his city here with some low-key quality MCing.

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_87.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 3:30pm EDT

"I speak to your soul, and that's above money..."

- Pusha T

A rough month out there. With yet more killings of unarmed Black people by police hitting the news and galvanising protests worldwide, the issue feeds into some of this month's selection. Overall, I've got a couple of good local tracks, one song almost everyone will know...and a stack of stuff you probably don't! It's certainly not an exclusively human rights/political selection, so hopefully I'm not out of line with this month's cover art.

Don't forget to get your ticket for Pete Rock & CL Smooth in Manchester in September!


Smif-N-Wessun ft. Junior Reid : Solid Ground

The first time I heard this, Smif-N-Wessun were performing live at The Roadhouse (RIP) and the second time, they were at Band On The Wall. Now I have my own copy of the "Born & Raised" project and I can play it at home as much as I like :) Great Beatnick & K-Salaam-produced track with the reggae influence that has marked so much of their work, highlighted by the featuring of the titan Junior Reid from Black Uhuru.

Sven van Hees : Flute Salad

Can't even remember how I first found out about this one, but it's a nice relaxed number from the Flemish chill-out master's "Gemini" album - good Sunday morning track.

Freebass 808 ft. Janelle Monae : Many Moons

Freebass 808 is a side project by Geechi Suede of Camp Lo and the group's sometime producer Apple Juice Kid, and for their first inclusion on the podcast we go to their 2008 debut release, the "MoonBass EP". At the time, I didn't really know who Janelle Monae was, but it was a great move of them to bring her in on this one - she fits the experimental vibe to a tee.

Pusha T : Crutches, Crosses, Caskets

Pusha is an incredibly adept MC, and what comes across in his bars here is an air of utter contempt towards anyone who thinks they can compete with him. The beat is apparently a Diddy production, and while I don't know if he was actually the man on the MPC or whatever, this is some quality work. Those muted horns work really well underneath the loosely-timed hats and tight kick drums, and where the barely-there hook comes in, you get some keyboard bass too. Straight fire from the "King Push - Darkest Before Dawn : The Prelude" LP.

dead prez : Hip-Hop

One of the classic Hip-Hop singles - I think most of you will know this one, or at a push, recognise the beat from a recent car advert in the UK! Truthfully - having first heard dead prez on tracks like "Selling D.O.P.E" and "The Rain & The Sun", I absolutely couldn't get my head round why this record sounded this way when it came out, and wasn't much of a fan. In fact, I passed on buying the 12" and got this on "let's get free" when that came out. Over time, this self-produced bomb grew on me, in no small part because the lyrics were always on point!

Levelz : LVL 07

Big crew coming out of Manchester, both in terms of their work and just sheer numbers - there are at least fourteen heads that make up this versatile collective. You'll have heard some of them on the podcast in the past, and this is pure "forms like Voltron" business, the first release from their "LVL 11" mixtape. On the mic here, we have T-Man, Sparkz, Skittles, Fox, Truthos Mufasa, Chimpo, Chunky, and Black Josh with a dizzying array of flows exploding all over the place! The production of the distinctly British-sounding, booming electronic track is headed by Biome, with Metrodome, Skittles, Zed Bias and Rich Reason all getting their oars in too. It might be a bit much to call this a modern Manchester "Protect Ya Neck", but you can't deny it's a hell of a first statement. And the video? Insanity...

Moxiii Double Dee : Hurt

Needed something around 80bpm here that was also kind of technological and after enjoying the production on Trae's recent "Another 48 Hours" mixtape, I sought out the men behind the beats to see if they had any instrumental projects, eventually finding the "Hurt" EP/mini-album. Not all my speed, but the Sade sample in the background on this one pulled me in!

Joyner Lucas : BakWords

Shout out to my man Black Robb for putting me up on this track! Interesting idea; each verse is made up of eight bars of lyrics, followed by another eight bars of (mostly) the same lyrics backwards. A kind of palindromic structure, in rhyme form! It's not perfect, but the difficulty involved in writing this way is something hard to comprehend for a non-lyricist. I've heard this likened to Nas' "Rewind", but that really is something different - a story told with time running in reverse. He's generously offered this one up free on Soundcloud, so get yourself a copy there.

Killer Mike : Don't Die

Many of you will primarily know Killer Mike as half of Run The Jewels, but this tale of an illegal police raid comes from "R.A.P Music", his most recent solo release - preceding the RTJ catalogue. This album was the genesis of the El-P/Mike combination, and the heavy, aggressive production of El-P matches the vocal performance perfectly. Oh, and just so you know - he really is the son of a cop.

Aceyalone : Takeoff

Originally coming out as part of the LA group Freestyle Fellowship, Aceyalone is a highly creative MC who's appreciated by the connoisseurs of lyricism. The 2003 "Love & Hate" album, his fourth solo release, isn't afraid to go left-field, and right here RJD2 gives him a backdrop derived from Jean Michel Jarre's "Equinoxe 4" to rhyme and rhyme over. No hook, just an absolute torrent of lyrics.

Above The Law : 1996

One of my (many) favourites from the outstanding "Time Will Reveal" album, I thought that for this year's commemoration of the passing of KMG that we'd go with this selection that of course is twenty years old this autumn. Cold 187um and KMG split each verse down the middle, going back-to-back over 187's ridiculously dope, dark instrumental work - once again showing he's one of the unsung heroes of the artform. This track makes me sad there'll be no more ATL releases...those contrasting vocal styles over those beats...classic.

[Ayatollah] Cash Brown : Last Man Standing (Instrumental)

Of the people who do recognise this instrumental, I think most will know it as the beat from Styles P and Pharaohe Monch's "The Life", but it originally came from this Major League 12", on the B-side of "Clubber Lang". I'm not sure how it came to be re-used at a time when such things were pretty uncommon, but it clearly made an impression on all three MCs.

Above The Law : One Time Too Meny

Back with just a piece of another ATL track which fit perfectly here, this time from the "Uncle Sam's Curse" LP, which is an expensive one to buy these days - wish I'd bought two when it came out! The creep on this beat is mean, and Cold 187 kicks a tale that some of us know all too well; being stopped by the police for no good reason. The second verse, while still a good one, kind of strays from the topic so I decided to cut it short - but it's still worth getting the full version, and the whole album if you can afford it!

R.C. : Let The Maddness Begin

I've seen this labelled as a Dr.Dre unreleased track, a Sam Sneed track, and as listed above - whatever it is, I picked it up in the dark, wild west days of the early 21st century internet, and as far as I know it hasn't had a commercial release, so here it is for you! It takes the same sample as Heltah Skeltah's "Letha Brainz Blo" as well as centring the "let the madness begin" lyric they use on that track. The vocalist R.C. (aka Ruben Cruz) released an album "Rubenaughty" that was so under the radar that Discogs have missed it from his discography!

Chalk : The Ghost

Now we come to an MC and producer from Manchester who's been honing his craft for many years! We performed together with me on the beats in his younger days, and he rose to the next level with his work with The Natural Curriculum before spreading his wings as a soloist. His first album, "One For Being Me", from which this is drawn, was as true a picture of the man and his outlook as you could imagine - one to check.

Termanology : Sorry I Lied To You

Going back to Termanology's first studio album "Politics As Usual" (following on from the "Hood Politics" mixtape series) for a reflective cut produced by the legendary Large Professor. Along with the low speed, check how the groups of three hi-hats - with the "fourth" missing - affects the pace. That bassline is the star of the beat though, expertly done.

Kay & Luke of The Foundation : The Moon Sings To Me

Glorious instrumental from the free "Laura Mvula Chopped" project, a tribute to Birmingham's own songstress! As with the rest of the tracks on it, they chop up a tune from her live performance of her "Sing To The Moon" and then add layers of extra flavour. This is a beat project that every appreciator of the artform should make time to go and download.

Jerry Beeks : I'm A Cop (NYPD)

Recorded in 2007, but thought this was a fairly fitting month to break this out. Jerry Beeks of Bronx Slang is a personal friend and friend of the show, and when I was more in the flow of making beats, we had a little routine of me sending him a few things, him picking from there and writing/recording his lyrics, and then me assembling everything back over this side. As I recall, I wasn't necessarily expecting him to pick this beat, which I cooked up while on a family trip with whatever records were immediately to hand - but he made it work, as always! Great lyrical approach, personifying the dirty cop and referencing real-life incidents from Eleanor Bumpurs to Amadou Diallo to the NYPD officers who acted as hitmen for the Mob (yes, really).

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_86.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 2:45pm EDT

"Bombs in the city centre and we rebuilt it."

- Strategy

Wow, here we are at the seventh birthday episode! I had this title in mind way back, long before I knew if it'd be realistic to record for so long, but we got here :) Thanks to you all for your support, and please do introduce anyone whose listening game needs a step up!

A couple of links, as mentioned during the show;

"Put It In The Air", Oddest, July 30th

Pete Rock & CL Smooth in Manchester, September 3rd


Pep Love : Act Phenom

Pulled out one of my old beat juggle routines to start off this special show! If you were a beatmaker on the net many moons ago you might have seen the video of Domino putting this beat together - definitely an interesting watch. This Domino (not the one from Long Beach) and Pep Love both represent the Hieroglyphics crew heavy, and this cut appears on Pep's debut album under their umbrella, "Ascension". It's got a great bounce to it and I like it enough that I have three copies on 12" :)

Easy Mo Bee : Sunstroke (Instrumental)

I wasn't grabbed by Sauce Money's rhymes on the vocal version of this track from "Now Or Never : Odyssey 2000", but this instrumental from the 12" version fit here perfectly - one of those great opportunities to dig up an overlooked piece.

Dhark Citi : Petrified

If you're only ever going to release one track, make it something like this. This crew got their sole shot on the "Game Over" compilation of video game sampling/inspired tracks; I know DJ Rob and Domingo produced it, but I wish I could tell you more about the MCs - because all of them get the job done right here. If you only listen in the background and only catch the hook, you might think it's a typical street record - but give it a little closer listen.

Trife Da God : Drugz

I was quite surprised to find I hadn't played this one before! Trife from Ghostface's Theodore Unit solos this one from the "Put It On The Line" album, and I think his delivery really communicates the exasperation and anger appropriate for the situation he's describing. Dirty Dean harnesses an oft-sampled old soul classic for the backing; I don't know who the singer on the track is as there's no credited guest, but maybe someone else does?

Camp Lo ft. Jungle Brown : Blind Photography

"Short Eyes" was one of those unexplained Japan-only releases that artists put out sometimes, and I had an MP3 copy for a long time before I could locate a brand-new CD copy of this 2001 EP last year - as a big-time Lo fan, I had to get one. Pure slang density alongside their sometime collaborator Jungle Brown, killing it on the mic despite the sound quality of the vocal recording being a bit questionable! I can only find five credits for the producer, Portiay, who s/he cooks up a nice beat here - nothing complex outside of the drums/percussion, but just the thing to get my neck and shoulders going :)

J-Live ft. Asheru and El Da Sensei : 3 Out Of 7

I was reminded of this great track just this past weekend and decided to shift things around to include it. The 2002 "All Of The Above" album was a refined piece of work by J-Live, and this cut brought along two of the excellent independent MCs of the time as guests, alongside the mighty DJ Spinna on production - check out his signature keyboard work adding extra flavour to those crispy drums and the guitar.

[Dr. Dre] Ice Cube : Hello

An unexpectedly great mix with the J-Live, featuring more crisp drums and keyboard low end from the West Coast master of the style. The vocal version, reuniting Cube with his NWA rhyme partner MC Ren and Dre on production is on the "War & Peace Vol. 2 (The Peace Disc)", second of the pair released in 2000.

A.G. : Gigantic

You probably know this Diggin' In The Crates MC best as half of Show & A.G, the creators of gems such as "Fat Pockets" and "The Next Level", but he also recorded a solo album, "Get Dirty Radio" which featured an array of different producers, many of which we'd not heard him work with before. Right here you have Oh No out of Oxnard lacing him with a slightly hectic beat which he handles with veteran know-how.

E-40 ft The Clipse : Quarterbackin'

This joint from the "Breakin' News" album just bangs. A track I've been saving for ages and one of my favourites from E-40, E-A-Ski & CMT cook up a thumper for the slang maestro to spit his street experiences over, which he does with quality as always alongside coke rhyme specialists The Clipse. This sonically isn't a million miles away from the kind of stripped-down harshness they made their name with on "Grindin'", and they do a great job here. If you get the chance, peep the video, which I've always loved - I think it's the stepping crew that make it for me!

Focus : eAST & wEST

No I didn't mess up with Caps Lock, that's how the title appears :) Atlanta's Focus, son of the late great Bernard Edwards of Chic is a beast of a producer who's worked with everyone from Chino XL to Christina Aguilera. I heard an interview where he referred to this release, the "Analog In A Digital World" album, with some really tasty instrumentals on it. Peep how this track starts with a bassy digital re-interpretation of the Bob James "Take Me To The Mardi Gras" break before switching up to something with even more grit and grind at the low end.

DJ Kemit ft. Carl McIntosh : Digital Love

A former member of Arrested Development, Atlanta's DJ Kemit has been a highly-respected DJ in his city for going on twenty years, and on his 2012 "Everlasting" project he shows his quality as a producer. This soulful electronic number features Carl McIntosh, who was the guitarist and male vocalist for the influential and much-loved UK soul group Loose Ends, demonstrating he's still bringing it! I've been wondering for a while how I was going to fit this one in, but this seems like a good spot.

Tall Black Guy : Drift Away (To Where I Don't Care) 

Just another great piece of music from top-grade producer and friend of the show, Tall Black Guy. It's always interesting to hear how he has his own signature sound/feel but at the same time is not a formulaic beatmaker. This is the A-side to the "Mini Therapy Chops 2" 7"/digital release - for £2 a download, well worth picking up.

EPMD : Get The Bozack

The essential second EPMD album, "Unfinished Business", opens up with the classic "So Watcha Sayin?", follows it up with the still-dope "Total Kaos", but then? This underappreciated killer, which blew my head off when I first heard it. No hook to speak of, just Erick and Parrish going back to back with battle bars. They were also great self-producers, and here they loop up a wicked BT Express sample - which the slightly younger listeners may have heard first on DMX's "Get At Me Dog". The first time I heard that, I wondered who this guy was biting (no pun intended) EPMD!

Brady Watt ft. J-Essential, Pleasure Pete, Ski Beatz, and Statik Selektah : Deeper

Not a name I'd heard before - shout out to Vicky of Rhyme & Reason for putting me up on this track! Brady Watt is an experienced bassist who's worked with some great producers in his career, but on his "Lifetronics" album he grabs the reins for himself and digs into his address book to put together his own project. Collaborating with Ski Beatz on the production for this track, he brings the funk in a way that makes me think the rest of the album is worth investigating!

De La Soul ft. Snoop Dogg : Pain

New track from the forthcoming "And The Anonymous Nobody..." LP, with a guest you may not have expected but who's always welcome! Grab the album when it's released in August.

The Brand New Heavies ft. Ski : You Can Do It (Roc A Bloc Remix)

One for the dancefloor in a major way. I heard this on the "Elephantitis" remix compilation (well worth having), and after tweeting at Ski to tell him how ill this was, he reminisced about how long ago he'd done it! The original (from the US version of the "Shelter" album) is very nice, but not as sonically heavy as this version which hits you with more low end and stuttering hits, and generally bears the hallmarks of the sampler/drum machine work it is. 

Broke 'n' English : Manchester Shit

Busta Rhymes put on for his city on the "original" version of this, "New York S***", and in true dubplate fashion (this was a special done for DJ Semtex on 1Xtra) Manchester's own Broke 'n' English flipped it for this dedication to their home city. Strategy and DRS are making all kinds of moves right now, but it's still nice to go back to their earlier material!

[Pete Rock] Pete Rock & CL Smooth : Check It Out (Instrumental)

The no-vocal version of a track from Pete & CL's second LP, the must-own "The Main Ingredient". I needed something organic-sounding to follow up the break from the last track, and there are few better for smoothly harnessing those classic sounds than Pete Rock.

Parliament : Aqua Boogie

In memory of the legendary Parliament/Funkadelic keyboard player Bernie Worrell, who passed away this month, we have one of their most well-known and frequently-sampled tracks, taken from the 1978 "Motor-Booty Affair" album. If you listened to any amount of Hip-Hop between maybe 1991 and 1996, I'm sure you'll recognise a little bit somewhere! This is just classic P-Funk, with some of the best known members of the family - Worrell, George Clinton, Bootsy Collins - all throwing down like the legends they are. The character Sir Nose D'Voidoffunk makes an appearance, initially refusing to dance or swim, but eventually he can't fight the feeling...

Please remember to support the artists you like! The purpose of putting the podcast out and providing the full tracklist is to try and give some light, so do use the songs on each episode as a starting point to search out more material. If you have Spotify in your country it's a great way to explore, but otherwise there's always Youtube and the like. Seeing your favourite artists live is the best way to put money in their pockets, and buy the vinyl/CDs/downloads of the stuff you like the most!

Direct download: Episode_85.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 3:25pm EDT

New York Undercover.

"A cloudy brain, train tracks but there's no train..."

- Rasco

This month's episode slotted together really nicely I think, and I managed to get a couple of tracks in that I'd been saving or struggling to fit in in previous months, so I'm really interested to get your feedback!

As mentioned in the show, don't miss out on the chance to see EPMD live in Manchester on June 7th - tickets here! Also, do check out the Rhyme & Reason site, group, and podcast, good work over there!


EPMD : Chill

With the brothers from Brentwood, Long Island getting ready to visit Manchester, there were a bunch of well-known classics I could have chosen from, but I decided to go with a deep album cut from the 1992 "Business Never Personal" album, working an 80s rock B-side sample. EPMD have a history of finding the funk in that kind of material going all the way back to the ZZ Top and Steve Miller Band replays and samples on "You're A Customer" from their debut album.

[Alchemist] Curren$y : Scottie Pippen (Instrumental)

As always, Alchemist digs deep in the crates for the source material that makes up this instrumental version of the Freddie Gibbs-featuring cut from Curren$y and Alchemist's "Covert Coup" project. Youngsters, pay attention - sampling dodgy Youtube uploads isn't the way! :)

Ghostface Killah ft. Raekwon : The Watch

A classic bit of unreleased Ghost, which didn't see the light of day properly due to a problem with clearing the Barry White sample which provides the material for the beat. Thank goodness for white labels! Ghost is one of the more imaginative MCs out there, and here you have him having an argument with his watch (played by Raekwon), and his watch criticising his then-recent career moves. Crazy concept, but they make it work.

Raekwon ft. Ghostface Killah : Missing Watch

Switching things around, now we get Rae taking the lead, and a track about a watch! Raekwon's 2003 "The Lex Diamond Story" LP was patchy but had a few cuts I really enjoyed, and this was one. Mizza takes a well-used sample and keeps it pretty basic to allow the MCs to flex their street storytelling muscles - shout out to the supposedly wheelchair-bound man in the club who gets up and runs when the gun goes off :)

Rasco : The Unassisted

Decided to keep a little chain going, by playing a song using the same sample as "Missing Watch" but chopped in a different way. Taking it back all the way to 1998 here, this 1998 track from Rasco's debut "Time Waits For No Man" is produced by Fanatik and features the legendary scratch DJ D-Styles on the turntables. A solid pick from an era of very strong independent Hip-Hop.

Grand Agent & Pete Rock : This Is What They Meant (Ge-ology's Hot Sauce 'n' Grits Remix)

Truth be told, I was looking for another remix of this track, but just couldn't find a legal copy for purchase! On the other hand, this one probably fits a little better in this spot. The "This Is What They Meant EP" gives you a few versions of this cut and the instrumentals, so with the availability of digital downloads you can pick and choose to get the variants you want. 

Tom Caruana : Wanderlust (Instrumental) 

Bringing proceedings over to the UK, we have here a nice beat from the prolific producer/remixer (and Dr Syntax collaborator) Tom Caruana, taken from his "Instrumentals Vol. 4" release. I remember meeting Tom when he played at a "Go Dumb!" party a few years back, and it's always good to hear quality work from him.

Lay. : YinYang

Layfullstop is an extremely promising artist on the Manchester scene (originally coming from Birmingham) who is part of the up-and-coming group Cul De Sac as well as a gifted soloist. She's one of the rare examples of someone who can sing and rhyme equally well, and this soulfully-produced track gives her the chance to do both! Definitely someone to keep a keen eye on.

Kev Brown ft. Ken Starr and Quartermaine : Say Sumthin

Subtle but deep bassline, crispy drums - Kev Brown trademarks! The "I Do What I Do" album has it in spades, not least on this track featuring fellow Low Budget artists Ken Starr (no, not the lawyer/prosecutor) and Quartermaine (no, not the civil engineer). Add to that the little pieces of piano and guitar, and you get an overall jazzy feel. One thing that stands out on a modern re-listening - given the way production tools have ended up going, I wonder if the sentiment of "computer programs that don't slam" is still there?

Grap Luva : Neva Done

Kev Brown on the beat again, with those squelching noises reminding me just a little bit of DJ Spinna. It's no small matter to get the nod to produce for Grap Luva, who is a highly-talented producer himself and of course, also the brother of Pete Rock. Despite Grap's long history in the game, it was 2011 before his first solo project, the "Neva Done" EP was released, and at only $7 on Bandcamp it's a worthy pickup.

Jay-Z : Blue Magic (K-Def Remix)

K-Def is one of those producers whose name and catalogue are only familiar to the heads that dig deep into Hip-Hop (despite being responsible for tracks like "Chief Rocka"), and he's highly respected in production circles. That's what this podcast is for though - now you know about him too :) With the use of the accapellas of Jay-Z's "American Gangster" soundtrack, K-Def flexed his beatmaking muscles to give us the "Real Live Gangster" remix album, from which we draw this excellent bit of work. If you pay close attention to one element in the track, make it the guitar - it's actually a very famous funk sample...backwards.

[Agallah] Purple City : It Ain't Easy (Instrumental)

The vocal version is an anti-social tour-de-force, and with it being a track I wasn't sure I'd ever get round to playing in full, the opportunity to at least drop the instrumental had to be grabbed - in planning, I was working backwards from my chosen closing track and this ended up being a good choice to precede the third segment. Agallah goes full on rock here, taking some big samples and then beefing them up heavy on the low end, plus adding some solid drum programming of course. Get the original cut on the "Road To The Riche$" mixtape - it's one we'll probably revisit in future.

Genaside II ft. Sharon Williams : Come To The Fools

One group no-one could ever accuse of biting - I truly thought their "New Life 4 The Hunted" album, from which this is taken, sounded unlike anything else. The processing on Sharon Williams' lead vocal slots it in masterfully with the amazingly varied palette of instruments in this slow and low number.

Harry Fraud : How U Feel

I heard this instrumental from Brooklyn's Harry Fraud on his "Blue/Green" EP, and thought it was a great piece; I didn't realise until much later that he'd previously given this track to someone to rhyme on. Truthfully...this version without the lyrics is a mile better.

Oddisee : Lifting Shadows

March's "Alwasta" (very loosely translated: "the hookup") is apparently the first of three planned releases this year for Oddisee, and it's a promising start! On this, my favourite track from the EP, he covers the struggles as a member of the Somalian diaspora sending money home to people who need it and the post-9/11 climate of suspicion against people who almost without exception are going about their business contributing to the country where they live. When you consider that he self-produced this as well as writing and rhyming it, you have to give Oddisee all the respect.

Trae : Comin Thru

Lullaby for a swanger? The low speed and gentle keyboard sounds give it that end-of-the-night feel, but the banging bottom end reminds you that this is Texas, after all. Platinum Hands cooks up the beat for one of Houston's rhyme veterans, Trae, for this track from the "Undisputed" mixtape.

Photek : Halogen

I realised when doing some looking over the archive that this is the second time I've blended Trae with Photek - the first time being on Episode 49, one of the classics if I do say so myself! This cut from Photek's sophomore "Solaris" LP has the feel of living in the 70bpm rather than the 140bpm world, and is just a broody, booming killer piece of production.

Michael Trapson : Billie Jean & I Dab

I saw a video posted on Facebook (I think) recently titled "If Michael Jackson Made Trap Music (Part 2)" and it had me rewinding and laughing hysterically! The video was low-budget and very much in the style of a lot of trap videos, as was the beat, and the song was hilarious. As I rewatched, I realised that...this guy was kind of nailing the MJ impersonation - as much as a mortal can, of course. The vocal style, the adlibs, the dance moves and physical tells were all being done really well, and I found myself wanting a full-length version. It turned out one was on the way and I got the free download, followed by a commercial version on iTunes. The full release got a new video which was more polished than the original...but I still prefer the first version :) As for the premise - if MJ was still with us, it could have happened! He did rock on "Thriller", New Jack Swing on "Dangerous", and had a Biggie verse on his final album while living. Who knows?

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_84.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 2:15pm EDT

"Across the seas and deserts, through the trees and grass..."

- Guru

In the month when we remember the life of Guru, we also say goodbye to not just a legend, but a true musical genius - Prince. I've blended some of his work into this episode's selection, along with various eras of Guru, some solid Hip-Hop picks and a little weaving in and out of different genres along the way. In the next hour, you're pretty much guaranteed to hear something for the first time!


Kardinal Offishall : Ill Eagle Alien

I'd be willing to bet that many people who've heard Kardinal don't really appreciate just how nice he is on the mic. He absolutely slays it right here - just check that second verse where he uses all those abstract nouns ("-ility") in a row to end his lines. On top of that, he passes Guru's "Mostly Tha Voice" test with flying colours! This was my favourite track on his "Not 4 Sale" album, and the beat is nothing to sneeze at either - Nottz with a speaker-thumper for real.

Da Beatminerz : Take That (Instrumental)

"Brace 4 Impak" was an excellent producer album in my opinion, and still gets fairly regular play from me fifteen years after release! This low-end killer comes courtesy of Mr.Walt, and is a masterclass in simplicity. Check the drumline - kicks only on 1 and 3, snares only on 2 and 4, and the hats are just on the 8th notes; it just keeps the time for the other sounds (and the MCs) to work within.

Doujah Raze ft. A.G. & Sean Price : Fahrenheit

Dug this one out for a listen and was struck by how brave the Alexandria, Virginia MC was to invite both A.G. and Sean Price along - as competent as he is, the others are big names with long histories of ripping tracks. This is the B-side of the 2006 "Little More Time" 12", slightly obscure but not expensive even now. Arythmetic supplies the boom-bap beat, and if you had to pick the best verse - got to be Sean P!

The Roots ft. Maimouna Youseff : Don't Feel Right

The "Game Theory" album is a bargain right now, so it's the perfect time to get yourself a copy! This was the first single from that album and Black Thought speaks on all the things he sees in the world that just aren't...right. I don't know if you'd call him an underrated MC or just an oft-forgotten one, but people in the know respect his skills immensely; check the technique right here. The combination of the Roots crew and singer/songwriter Maimouna Youseff got them a Grammy nomination - one occasion when they actually made a decent call.

The Mouse Outfit : Sip A Little Bit Of Rum

I was considering including this, and then the next day checked Facebook to find it had just had a new video released! Must be a sign ;) Anyway, this fine Manchester crew return once again with this beautiful head-nodder from the "Step Steadier" album, their trademark polished production undergirding the lyrics of local mic specialists Sparkz and Fox. Remember folks, drink responsibly.

Clear Soul Forces : Mars On Life

Strange to think that for years Detroit wasn't thought of as a Hip-Hop city, considering the outrageous amount of talent that has come out of the city in the last fifteen years or so! This crew represent well for the D, not least on this track from last year's "Fab Five" album (nice Michigan reference there), almost falling over each other to drop lyrics over a beat by producer Nameless. Never let it be said there's nothing good coming out these days...

Loose Ends : A Little Spice (Gang Starr Remix)

I managed to accidentally buy the "Tighten Up, Vol.1" compilation twice in the last month, a clear sign that I may need some rest. Anyway, Loose Ends were a tremendously influential UK soul group who made some noise in the US market and are highly respected - you may know them best for "Hangin' On A String", an 80s classic. "A Little Spice" is the title track from their 1984 debut LP, has been sampled at least once to great effect, but here it gets a little of that adopted Brooklyn flavour with Guru and Premier on the remix. Expect me to play more from this group in the future!

Prince : Let's Go Crazy

I had to think about it to be sure, but I think this is my favourite Prince track - and as it happens, heavily quoted in the last few days due to the first words in the intro. The opener on "Purple Rain", this is just a beast of a cut. You probably think of the guitars when this song comes to mind, but the drums are worthy of note too, making use of the Linn LM-1, which was the first drum machine to contain actual samples of drum sounds. Whatever it took to get the right sound...Prince was about that.

Leaders Of The New School : What's Next?

L.O.N.S are often only referred to these days when talking about Busta Rhymes' origins, but never forget that they put out some very good records during their short run! This was the Dinco-produced lead single from their second and final album, "T.I.M.E. (The Inner Mind's Eye)" and did very well when it came out - I remember seeing the video a few times in an era where you couldn't just click on what you wanted to see! Big shout to my man DJ Omas for hooking me up with this vinyl :)

Gang Starr : Comin For Datazz

An absolutely underrated track from the "Hard To Earn" LP; at best, it gets glossed over, at worst, I've heard it described in very unflattering terms. Personally, I've always enjoyed it and thought it was a good closer. Guru's monotone flow gives plenty of low-key quotables that I don't think would have worked from anyone else, and Premier's fly and uncomplicated beat bumps along at a fairly high tempo for the era. It doesn't even have much of a hook - just an instrumental break and the odd cut (Run DMC - that one escaped me for ages when I was a kid). Makes me sad to know we won't be getting any more of this. 

Ras Kass ft. Aaron G West : Pop Life

If it wasn't for Ras' lyrics, this would be pretty much a straight cover version of the song of the same name from Prince's 1985 "Around The World In A Day" album. It's a little more smoothed out and less stark than the original, and of course Aaron G West's vocal has a different character to Prince's, but I think this cut from the "Quarterly" mixtape was very well done.

[Cold 187um] Above The Law : Call It What U Want (Instrumental)

I'll definitely play the vocal version of this "Black Mafia Life" track for you sometime; not only is it quality Above The Law material, it's also one of the earliest 2Pac guest appearances - people just weren't checking for him that heavily at the time. In the meantime, enjoy the pure funk from Cold 187um aka Big Hutch - the true father of the G-Funk...

India Shawn & James Fauntleroy : Let Me Show You

This has been racking up an impressive amount of headphone time for me this month. Soulful, seriously uptempo, with a little electronic edge, this is absolute fire. An experienced singer and songwriter, India combined with Cocaine 80s frontman James Fauntleroy for the "Outer Limits EP", which doesn't sound like anything else I'm listening to at the moment. You can hear the whole thing on Soundcloud, so if you like it then make sure to buy a copy and support!

DJ Spinna ft. Heavy : We Can Change This World

We'll definitely revisit Spinna's "Intergalactic Soul" project in the future, but this track makes it on as a great tempo and thematic follow-up to the India Shawn cut. It's got a bit of a broken beat vibe, and the album as a whole swerves from this to Hip-Hop to soul and house, always maintaining his individual spark. Well worth picking up for those of you with eclectic taste!

Pure Pimp : Can't Fade The Funk

This is vintage, origin story stuff right here. If you recognise the voice, you might even have heard it on past episodes...this is none other than the man now known as Suga Free! Under that name, he dropped his debut LP in 1997, but 1992 saw him release a four-track project entitled "Pimp Of The Year" on Gueno Recordings. Solely produced by Lee Bo, who brings the West Coast funk to the underpinnings of this cut, it likely didn't sell many copies but this track and one more were included on the CD of Free's "Sunday School" album as bonus tracks. Even at this early stage, you can tell that Free (who also went by the name Royal Rock at the time) is a highly talented MC, who could have ripped many of the rappers of the era a new one! So what happened between 1992 and 1997? Hey, the game is to be sold, not told...

Gang Starr : 2 Steps Ahead

Taking it allll the way back here - back to "No More Mr. Nice Guy", the first Gang Starr album. Is it just me, or does Guru have a very Ultramagnetic-era Kool Keith flow on this cut?

Taxi Driver : We Don't Care (We're Gonna Do It Mix)

I don't know much about this one, truth be told - Discogs has it in the "House" and "Future Jazz" categories, but I got it on a "Beach Bar" collection. The drum track definitely has a House blueprint but the bassline is a little more live than most, and combined with the woodwind action you end up with a great little groove.

The Time : Cool

There was a future episode I might have otherwise saved this for, but I thought with the passing of Prince it was a good one to end on - you can't help but smile when you hear it! Despite being credited to The Time, a group formed by Prince to allow him to have an outlet for this kind of sound, he actually wrote this track (with Dez Dickerson) and then played every single instrument! The vocal lead is taken by Morris Day, who faultlessly plays the rich playboy image he cultivated. I'll just give you a taste here - the album is very affordable, and I recommend lovers of the funk grab a copy!

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_83.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 4:45pm EDT

"Money, please, I get loose off a orange juice!"

- Phife

That's my first iPod in the cover art, which was laser-engraved with "Beats, rhymes, and life" - so you get just some idea of how important A Tribe Called Quest's music is to me. The passing of Malik Taylor aka Phife Dawg this month at the age of just 45 was a huge shock to the entire Hip-Hop nation and the tributes have been absolutely pouring out. With him very much in mine, I did a late re-plan of the episode to make sure some of his fantastic work with Tribe could be included; it was only right. RIP Mutty Ranks!

As well as taking you down memory lane with those tracks, we also honour Biggie, Nate Dogg, and Sean Price (who's birthday would have been this month), and give you plenty more besides. A lot of work went in, and I hope you enjoy it.

One podcast recommendation this month, as mentioned on the show - The Light Podcast, and especially the track-by-track breakdown of Biggie's "Ready To Die".


Public Enemy : Shut 'Em Down

When I first picked up the "Apocalypse 91" album, I wasn't really into this track much, but it definitely grew on me over time. I'd imagine most people these days know it more for the famous Pete Rock remix, but here's just a taste of the original - you should absolutely go and hear the whole thing.

The Notorious B.I.G. : Ten Crack Commandments

As much as I love this tune, you can see why Chuck D sued the record label over the use of his voice! This infamous instructional guide for the street-level dealer (and apparently, other kinds of entrepreneur) from "Life After Death" has quite an interesting origin story; DJ Premier originally produced the beat for Jeru The Damaja, but was then used for Angie Martinez' "Top 5 At 9" radio show. Long story short, Biggie & Puffy convinced Premo and Jeru to let them use it, and with the additional voice sample for the "ten", the basis was there. Incidentally, that main sample for the track is absolutely tiny, and it was a work of genius - my understanding is that it would have totally slipped under the radar but someone snitched (you see how often I don't reveal samples here?) and Premo ended up getting sued...

Tall Black Guy : Slow It Down

I've said it and I'll say it again, TBG is one of the top producers out there right now and there's a lot of material for you to catch up on! This is a 2009 cut from the original "Hollyweird" album, kicking off with a classic soul sample before spiralling off into its own solid, thumping thing. Don't sleep!

A Tribe Called Quest : His Name Is Mutty Ranks

I freely admit to being one of those people who generally didn't enjoy "The Love Movement" all that much, but there were a few good picks - with that much talent, how could there not be? Coming in at under two minutes long, this track features Phife going solo on the Caribbean flex, which was just part of the flavour he brought to the group. 

Smif-N-Wessun : Hustler's Prayer

I was thinking of going all the way back to "Dah Shinin'", but decided to give you something from 2005's "Reloaded" album. Man, eleven years already? Anyway, Tek and Steele put their souls into this street anthem while longtime production partners Da Beatminerz do the honours on the beat. Smif-N-Wessun have always had that reggae influence from Brooklyn in their music and this is no exception, working a classic roots reggae sample for the groove and hook. 

Mos Def & Talib Kweli : Definition

One that I think most of you will know! Decided to keep the reggae influence going for another track, going all the way back to the lead single from the seminal Black Star album. Flipping the hook from Boogie Down Productions' "Remix For P Is Free", both the young and hungry MCs give their own take on "Stop The Violence" over a quality Hi-Tek beat.

Tall Black Guy : Sweet Europe

Giving you a taste of another one of the big man's dope beats, this time putting a little bump under some beautiful guitar strumming. Cop this one on the "Mini Therapy Chops" single!

A Tribe Called Quest  ft. Large Professor : Keep It Rollin'

So incredible, and one of my favourites from "Midnight Marauders". Tribe brought in fellow Queens native Large Professor to produce and guest on this track and he did not disappoint, giving them a laid-back slice of Roy Ayers-driven gorgeousness. Phife starts proceedings off, and as per usual he shows how to make an entrance on a track!

The ARE : Keep It Rollin' 

The "Manipulated Marauders"  beat tape takes some of the original samples that made up each track of the "Midnight Marauders" album and flips them a different way, so it made sense to follow up the Tribe cut with this one. Definitely a project to get hold of.

Sadat X ft. Cormega & Lanelle Tyler : On Fire

Some of the bar counts around the intro and hook are a big strange-sounding to me, but it's a solid song regardless. It's great to see Sadat X continue to record, and on this selection from 2015's "Never Left" LP, he links with fellow veteran Cormega to build on their legacies. The NYC vocal triangle is completed by Brooklyn's Lanelle Tyler, and the classy production is provided by a new name to me, North Carolina's Real McKoy

Curren$y : Rain Stunts

I love this kind of subtle, reflective beat when it's done with polish as Cool & Dre have here. Curren$y's "The Owner's Manual" mixtape came out hot on the heels of his "Canal Street Confidential" album, and if you like his style then you'll want to pick up both. It's only a short track, where he laments how his success changed those around him, but I guess he said all he had to say in those few bars.  

Ras Kass : The Chase

I love the face that modern distribution channels mean that someone like Ras, who suffered from all kinds of label drama early in his career, can get his material out to us fans with speed and efficiency. January's free "Lyrical Hip-Hop Is Dead" EP takes a selection of beats from the "Instrumental Hip-Hop Is Dead" project by the Montreal producer Kaytranada and reworks them into his own tracks. This one in particular was my favourite - definitely in terms of the beat, and Ras has more than enough experience to say how futile the quest for fame can be.

Sean Price : Remember Me

It would have been Sean's 44th birthday this month, and I thought this track was a perfect one to include. It's not that long - a mixtape cut from Scram Jones' "Loose Cannons" but it's got the trademark lyrical dexterity and self-depreciation that really epitomise the second half of his career. Mix that with a brooding beat and the scratched hook, and you have a quality piece of work.

[F. Graham] Channel Live : Mr.President (Instrumental)

One of those "flicking through the shelves" inclusions - I had long forgotten what this sounded like! Since the vocal version is about George W. Bush and we're getting ready for the first post-Obama election ( :( ), I figured I may never get round to playing it and instead went with the F.Graham-produced instrumental.

Nate Dogg : No Matter Where I Go

Nate Dogg is probably the most notable and respected hook man in Hip-Hop history, and while his long list of features are celebrated, his solo material is much less well known. To be fair, label/legal problems at Death Row meant that the "G-Funk Classics, Vol.1 & 2" double album didn't see the light of day until 1998 on Breakaway, and so didn't get the promotional push that would have been expected. I found this track a few years back on a compilation, just after he passed I think, browsing around Spotify. Nate not-so-subtly takes his shots at his former label on this one, and his 213 partner Warren G gives him a smooth track that may be too gentle for some but works for me! Of course, the hook is on point. What did you expect? :)

Cormega : Journey

I got this from the first disc of Cormega's "Raw Forever" LP, but it originally appeared on his "Born and Raised" album. Large Professor blesses Cormega with a quality beat for him to reflect on his path through life, which he does with aplomb as always. "Raw Forever" is definitely worth adding to your collection; a compilation of past work on the first disc, and a full album of new material backed by the Brooklyn live band The Revelations.

Eighties Babies : Man's World

When this is your track title, it's logical to want to sample the James Brown classic, and if you want to flip a classic then the man you want on the job is Tall Black Guy, who smashes it down on this track from the "Sonic Music" album. The MC, Shogun, is a new name to me but definitely holds up his end of proceedings on the mic. There's plenty more quality on the album, so it's well worth checking!

Kidz In The Hall : Day By Day

The 2006 "School Was My Hustle" album was a very solid debut from this pair of Ivy League-graduate artists, and here's one of my personal standouts. Double-O's beat is is definitely centred around the drums and percussion (in fact, all the low-end comes from the kick drum) and Naledge holds down all three verses with class. I had to let this one play all the way through to the end, just because I thought the spoken parts at the close were very much worth including for everyone to hear.

Jay Dee : Pause (Instrumental)

Classic Hip-Hop instrumental, from the 12" of a track from Dilla's "Welcome To Detroit". Any crowd that know anything about Hip-Hop will respond to this banger.

A Tribe Called Quest : Buggin' Out

You may not realise this, but Phife wasn't on the first Tribe album much, and his skills were far below the level he eventually developed; apparently, he wasn't super focused on being an MC and almost saw himself as a kind of hypeman. Q-Tip helped convince him to take rhyming more seriously, and this classic cut from "The Low End Theory" really served as a coming out party. Many people from the average head to the now-legends of the artform will tell you how they reacted to him setting it off with "Yo! Microphone check, one two, what is this? The five foot assassin with the ruffneck business"! Couldn't leave this one off.

A Tribe Called Quest : Phoney Rappers

"...then I came back and just FUCKED UP his head!" Now that is what is known as a Precision F-Strike, and while any other month that could have been the epigraph for the show, Q-Tip's line has to take a backseat to Phife's bars. I think what I really love about this opening track from "Beats, Rhymes, and Life" is that they've managed to make it sound less like a song and more like an actual conversation about street battling experiences; it's the little asides and interaction between the MCs that makes it work so well. Phife's verse here is one of my favourites, and it's a perfect way to end the episode.

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_82.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 4:00pm EDT

"Now let me say it again, and say it with feeling."

- Jay Dee

Ten years since the passing of J Dilla. Feels odd just thinking about it being that long. As always on the show, we pay tribute to him with a solid selection of his work, and the title of the episode; in reference to his refusal to be boxed in by the orthodoxy of any particular style, I thought it was fitting. We also give respect this episode to the late greats Big L, Big Pun, and Maurice White of Earth, Wind, and Fire, who left us this month, and I hope this mix does them all justice.


Jay Dee : The $

Some months I like to start with something gentle and refined. This is not one of those months. Big time slammer from the "Ruff Draft" EP, exemplifying the rawness he speaks of on the intro! Oh yes, if you know the track well and notice a difference - yes, I did sneak in a couple of extra sounds at one specific point, just for emphasis ;)

J Dilla : Go Get 'Em

From the recent "Lost Tapes, Reels + More" collection, I believe this is based around the same sample as KMD's "Nitty Gritty (Remix)", and bumps along nicely with the added keyboard and harder drums.

Q-Tip : Go Hard

The "Amplified" album, by and large, did not get much love when it came out back in 1999, going gold at a time when platinum sales were definitely achievable for Hip-Hop releases. The singles "Vivrant Thing" and "Breathe & Stop" made a little commercial noise, on the underground tip "Let's Ride" is a popular one at J Dilla tributes, but this track never seems to get any shine! The beat is upbeat but kind of austere, with Jay Dee channelling some late-70s synth sounds and adding some sharp drums. 

E-40 : The Slap

Always been a fan of this track, and it's been sitting here for the longest waiting to be played - finally, it makes the cut once I realised how perfectly it blended with the Q-Tip track! Living up to the title, this Rick Rock produced beat slaps crazy while E-40 goes into unrestrained Vallejo game spitting mode. This is on a 12" with "7 Much" on the flip, but you can also find this on the 2002 "Grit & Grind" album.

Camp Lo & Pete Rock : 99 Bottles

Not the longest track, but the kind of quality you'd expect from the union of Camp Lo and one of the greatest producers ever to do it! It's got that 70s cop show vibe to it, and while the samples sound familiar, I can't place them exactly; either way, Lo ride the instrumental impeccably on this gem from the second "80 Blocks From Tiffany's" free mixtape.

The X-Ecutioners ft. Kool G Rap & Big Pun : Dramacyde

An interesting combination of personnel on this one, with a legendary battle DJ crew hooking up with Big Pun and one of his biggest influences, an MC he called "Master" whenever they met. The production matches up to the title and gives a worthy setting for the MCs to go straight crime rhyme all over it, but the DJs absolutely get their shine here, with plenty of space to feature the cuts. The "Built From Scratch" album is definitely worth having for the varied track styles and collaborations throughout - we could do with more such experimentation!

Dela : Jay Electropietricus

It's not been that long since we visited the "Translation Lost" album, but when I heard this track while kicking back and relaxing I thought it might be time for a return! Nice boom-bap drums on top of some lush keyboard work, straight from Toronto.

Big L : Flamboyant 1

A little something from the all-too-short Big L catalogue, a freestyle which you can catch on the "Harlem's Finest" compilation, if you can find a copy! These lyrics eventually made their way onto the officially-released version of the track "Flamboyant" from "The Big Picture" LP. As for the beat, see below...

Lord Tariq & Peter Gunz : We Will Ball

I could have saved this for another month, but with the recording quality of the previous track being pretty ropey, I thought I may as well draw on the original beat in all its shiny glory! When I first heard this on Westwood's show, I recorded one verse (not sure why) and didn't even hear what it was called, so it was a mystery to me for a long while. Eventually some lyric googling turned up a result, and I picked this up as a used 12". Lyrically, they're celebrating their success, going back and forth over a thumping, piano-seasoned Dave Atkinson track with flossy finesse. The 12" I have doesn't mention the guest MC on the third verse, and I can't even find her name on Discogs; you may see the correct credit given on the "Make It Reign" LP.

Panda One : The Essence

Even if this tune hadn't been fire, I might have been tempted to play it purely because of the artist's name :) Excellent 2002 underground release with Chops of the Mountain Brothers on the beat; solid drums, the bass backing the low horn sounds and some nice flute riding on the top! Panda himself was formely owner of Good Vibe recordings, but stepped out from behind the desk to the mic for three solo 12"s - he's not Rakim, but he's certainly competent and makes this a pleasure to listen to.

Janet Jackson : Together Again (DJ Premier 100 In A 50 Remix)

This was a big C'mon Feet record and I was lucky enough to be gifted my own copy of this vinyl! You already know about the quality of Janet Jackson's catalogue (or you should), and she has the nous to call in Hip-Hop royalty to remix this track from "The Velvet Rope". Premier has this one absolutely bumping, and spare enough to allow Janet's voice to breathe. On the same 12", there's an even more stripped-back remix with the non-drum/bass instruments removed - good enough that I had a hard decision working out which one to play :)

[Waajeed] Onra : The One (Waajeed Remix Instrumental)

When a noted producer hands the reins to another practitioner of the craft, it shows a huge level of respect; in this case, that respect is well earned. The original was dope, and the remix? Might be better. Both are available on Bandcamp, at a very reasonable price.

Slum Village ft. 5 Elementz : 5 Ela (Remix)

From the very early days of Slum Village comes this incredible flip of Patrice Rushen's "Remind Me", just a great example of how chopping up a sample (actually, two different ones from the same track) gives a beatmaker a lot more versatility with the composition than a straight loop would ever allow. The trademark relaxed drum timing and handclaps are in effect even at this early stage, prefiguring a lot of the work that was to come later. Depending on which version of "Fan-tas-tic Vol.1"  you see, this may be labelled as "Slow Up", but it looks like on the now-official version that the title here stands. As far as the lyrics...kind of up and down throughout the cut really. 5 Elementz is another crew from Detroit, and they take their place on here alongside the regular Slum MCs to administer a vicious verbal beatdown to some unknown antagonist...glad that wasn't me they were talking about!

Termanology ft. Big Pooh, Chaundon, and Joe Scudda : Pay Jay

My favourite cut from Termanology's "If Heaven Was A Mile Away" tribute mixtape. Taking the Michael Jackson-sampling "Inhuman Nature", one of my favourite unreleased Jay Dee beats as a basis, you get Termanology and a contingent from the Justus League paying homage and weaving Dilla-related song titles and other references into their flows. On the cuts, DJ Statik Selektah does the business to add a little extra flavour. The overall sound quality is kind of trash, but I included it despite that, just because the track is so ill!

Nas : It Ain't Hard To Tell (J.Period Meets Spinna Remix)

The original track from "Illmatic" is primarily based around the intro piece of "Human Nature", but this remix by J.Period and DJ Spinna from their "Man Or The Music 2" project takes the groove from the verse instead, which makes for a very different feel despite it being the exact same record! If you're an MJ fan at all, be sure to download this top-notch mixtape.

Tall Black Guy : Nature's Miracle

Again. He kills it again. This time, "Human Nature" gets the treatment from TBG on his 2010 "Tall Black Guy vs Michael Jackson" remix suite - he just atomises it and turns all the pieces into his own personal sonic puppets. Recommendation for the month - if you don't know his catalogue, get to know!

Rapsody ft. Heather Victoria : Black Girl Jedi

Five years old already but only just coming to my notice, the "Thank H.E.R Now" LP was a solid pickup for me this month. Rapsody is always going to give you that work, and she brings in Jamla's Heather Victoria to handle hook duty while she gets busy on the verses over what I think is a 9th Wonder beat - it's certainly got the sonic characteristics. Black girl magic on that next level!

9th Wonder : Volume 3, Beat VII

A little something from a vinyl of unreleased instrumentals from 9th - although some of them were used on official releases eventually. I'd love the chance to go through his folders of unused material...

Earth, Wind, & Fire : Fantasy

The passing of Maurice White, founder of EWF, demands that we take some time to appreciate some of his work right here. From 1978's "All 'N All" LP, the lyrics were partly inspired by the film "Close Encounters Of The Third Kind" - you can hear the space traveller vibes in there. It's beautifully smooth, and the perfect wind-down ending to the month. RIP Maurice White.

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_81.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 6:00pm EDT

"They don't make 'em like me no more..."

- Murs

I guess it's been a strange start to the year; this month both the UK producer Mark B and David Bowie have passed on, so I've included them both in this month's selection, one that ranges from the conscious to the without conscience! There was a lot of re-planning to come up with something that fit together well but I think I've achieved it, so let's get into the detail...


Rakim : The Saga Begins

I'd not played this song from "The 18th Letter" for years, but was reminded of it on a recent episode of the Juan Epstein podcast. The intro is impossible to blend with anything, but playing this track at the very start allows it to get an airing; it's the sound of Pete Rock testing out the samples in his SP before he lets the beat drop. Add that beat to Rakim Allah on the mic, and you have a winner. 

[Harry Fraud] Eddie B : Splash (Instrumental)

Eddie B isn't an MC I've been familiar with but I picked up the mixtape "The Johnny Utah Story" on the strength of the Harry Fraud production - after "Muslim Wedding", I'll always check for him in case he smacks me with a track like that again! This beat is a world away from that sonically, but it got my attention and it works well here.

Reckonize Real ft. M-Dot, Torae & Tribeca : Business

This one turned up for me recently while searching for Tribeca tracks on Spotify. Very grateful for that long drum intro (producers, please take note) that allows for a nice-sized blend to bring the track in! The MC out of Boston heads to New York to recruit Torae & Tribeca to bless this beat produced by Reckonize Real. This particular copy comes from the digital release of M-Dot's "Jake LaDotta" album, but also appears on Reckonize Real's "Dopamine" project.

Reks : Martyrs (Steve Biko)

I'd had Reks' "Eyes Watching God" collaborative album with the producer Hazardis Sounds bookmarked for a while, and finally got round to giving it a listen in the last couple of weeks; this was a standout for me. Unlike another excellent record which uses his name, this record actually is about Steve Biko, the South African activist who was killed by the police in 1977 - truly a man who died for the people.

Murs & 9th Wonder : God Black/Black God

Murs and 9th have a history going back to 2004's "Murs 3:16 : The 9th Edition" album (re-issue here), which made serious underground noise at the time. It's great to hear them come back together for a sixth collaboration on the brand new "name your price" release "Brighter Daze", which is a recommended pickup for everyone this month! On this cut, 9th's beat skips along at first before switching towards the end while Murs explores Black economic empowerment, survival, leadership, and more besides in confident fashion. Again, this New Year's Day release gets the thumbs up from me.

Mega Ran & Storyville ft. PT Starks : Medici Lions

MC extraordinaire and videogame superfan Mega Ran linked up with longtime friend and fellow underground head Storyville for last year's "Soul Veggies" album. While he's primarily known for incorporating video game sounds into his material, on this album Mega Ran explores a more live sound, exemplified on this cut. While we're here, bonus points for the Bodie and Stringer Bell samples from "The Wire"! On the mic, Ran is on point as always and comes with just the right flow to fit.

[DJ Premier] Prhyme : Prhyme (Instrumental)

After the sudden speed drop in the last track, we come up with an instrumental around 78bpm to match it; DJ Premier working with a (fully cleared!) sample from Adrian Younge and then adding some extra beef with the drums. The idea of sampling a single artist for a whole album was not something Premier had explored before Prhyme, but he took on the challenge and made it work!

Mark B & Blade ft. Lewis Parker : Intense Preparations

The union of Mark B and UK Hip-Hop veteran Blade was one of the most notable and successful in the history of the scene, and achieved some unexpected but deserved commercial success. However, that success was several years away when the "Hitmen For Hire" EP that this track is drawn from was released. Back in 1998, this was just a talented and dedicated producer matching up with an equally-skilled MC to give us a short set that was fantastic at the time and also just hinted at what was to come. This particular track works a classic library record sample that the diggers amongst you will know, and brings the Canterbury don Lewis Parker along for the ride. RIP Mark B.

Torae ft. Phonte : Clap Sh_t

Torae has given us six albums in eight years and his latest project "Entitled" is already pulling in solid reviews. I heard this joint and it just jumped out as something I had to play; Nottz' beat puts the thump and bump under some eerie pianos while Tor and Te kill every MC in sight with some incredible verses.

8Ball & MJG : Break 'Em Off

Memphis in the house! This is the radio version of the closing song from the duo's 1995 "On The Top Of The World" LP. T-Mix gets the synth action going on this dark uptempo track. Dope record, but that album cover... :)

Jay-Z ft. Beanie Sigel : Ignorant Sh*t 

In my opinion, this track (certainly the original, which I'll come back to) has the greatest use of the Isley Brothers' "Between The Sheets" of all time - pure fire from Just Blaze. For one thing, it's brilliant chopping and arrangement of the sounds from the original break. In addition, it's much faster than the original, and the thumping four-to-the-floor drum programming drives it forward to match the increased speed; most producers use this sample in slow jam mode, but not here! The original version had no Beanie and some different lyrics from Jay, but once it got leaked it never got a proper release in that form, resurfacing instead in this form on the "American Gangster" soundtrack. If you can find a decent copy anywhere, grab it!

Maticulous : Simple Minded Miracle (Simple Minds Flip)

Perfect beat for this spot, though I had to edit it a bit to make it a suitable length! Brooklyn's Maticulous gets very busy on this cut, chopping up a Simple Minds sample for his contribution to "The 80s Beat Tape" from the Producers I Know camp.

David Bowie : Let's Dance

I've never been a big Bowie listener, but if I had to name one song of his I enjoy it's this every time! The great Nile Rodgers from Chic helmed the production on this one and the combination of the two legends is a straight winner. This title track from Bowie's 1983 album (recorded in just seventeen days!) was a big single in its own right and deservedly so.

Prince : Extraloveable (Reloaded)

This show is usually about me digging back into my archives, but this song in particular is an example of Prince doing the same! The original was planned for Vanity 6 and recorded in 1982 but then shelved. In 2011, a new version was recorded, and then 2013 saw a modified version released for free on Prince's website. A rediscovered gem from one of the greats!

Rick James : Cold Blooded

Even if you never particularly followed his music, everyone knows the sound of at least one Rick James record - if it's not "Mary Jane", then for sure it's "Super Freak", either in its original form or after MC Hammer sampled it! On this title track from his 1983 album, James played all the instruments on this track, which with its synth-heavy construction is very different to a lot of his previous material - he could definitely get busy with a guitar! I only just read that the woman he's speaking to in the lyrics is his then-girlfriend Linda Blair - every day's a school day!

The Time : Jungle Love

I admit it, I've never seen "Purple Rain", and partly for that reason, didn't know this song until recently! Morris Day and the crew slay on this funk number from the 1984 "Ice Cream Castle" album, written by Morris Day and Prince (under the alias Jamie Starr). Some of the lyrics are pretty suspect though...

Missy Elliott : I'm Really Hot (Instrumental)

One of the good things about doing the podcast is that it sometimes forces me to give a listen to records in my collection I'd normally just flick past. I think I bought this vinyl for "Pass That Dutch" but this beat ended up coming in handy here!

Mark B & Tommy Evans : Move...Now

I closed many a set with this! Mark B gives us a seriously uptempo track built around a serious Bollywood sample, giving Leeds MC Tommy Evans a quality backing to flow over. This made the playlists for some mainstream radio stations, and worked every time on the dancefloor! Very affordable release available on all formats even now if you look around, well worth having in your collection.

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_80.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 9:40am EDT


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