"Studying my sickness like the Tuskegee Experiment."

- Ilajide

In a world with all kinds of options for DJs, there's a lot to be said for just two turntables, a mixer, and some crates!

This month's show has more new releases than the average episode, including some local heat. We also have a track from the late Guru (RIP always), and one or two of my headphone favourites finally coming out into the light!

Upcoming Manchester shows mentioned;

London Posse @ Rebellion, May 23rd

Kool G Rap @ Sound Control, June 21st

Twitter: @airadam13


Playlist/Notes

Sean Price : Definition Of God

It's a shame to think that all the Sean Price tracks we'll ever hear are already out in the world somewhere. On this posthumously-released single from this March, Sean blasts the Stu Bangas instrumental with his trademark mixture of rapping dexterity and casual, disrespectful brutality. I know I'm not alone in looking forward to the "Imperius Rex" LP - this is is right up my alley!

Ilajide : Dance Of The Psudo

Ilajide is the man behind the boards for the brilliant Clear Soul Forces, but he's also putting out some very good solo material that's definitely worth your attention! This is a burner from "Five Week Heet III", one of the lead-ups to the "Heet Tape" album release.

Tribeca : Wheel Of Fortune

A favourite of mine for years which I finally got a legit copy of (from the "Subway Series Vol.1" compilation) thanks to the modern convenience of digital purchase! Self-produced as always, the Bronx MC and MPC-batterer tells a tale of a dice game gone very wrong over a fitting 70s sample and some punching drums & bass. I won't give the sample away - to be fair, it's not a hard one to discern - but I do like the way it's been used. Using a three-bar segment for the title breakdown is awkward for a DJ, but it does sound good :)

Rapsody : Kingship

Making a return visit to Rapsody's "She Got Game" mixtape for a short and sweet cut with the legendary DJ Premier. Rapsody has one of those bell-clear voices that works so well for an MC, and lyrics to go along with it. Apparently Premo once tried to give this beat to Ludacris, but it was a little too experimental for him to do anything with!

KING : Red Eye (DJ Spinna Blissed-Out Remix)

My man Agent J from Groovement was up on this three-woman group out of Los Angeles very early, but I'm just getting up to speed on their 2016 debut "We Are King" now. It's a high-quality, ambient-flavoured R&B album with its own kind of flavour, and hopefully it's just a taste of the things yet to come! The great DJ Spinna is on the remix here and gives them some extra bass and head-nod drums to take the original "Red Eye" to new heights.

A.D. Carson : Dissertation (Part I The Introduction)

This project has something of a unique origin, which alone was enough to catch my interest. A.D. Carson was a Ph.D candidate at Clemson University who turned in his dissertation for the Rhetoric, Communication, and Information Design program in an unusual form - a full album. "Owning My Masters : The Rhetoric of Rhymes and Revolutions" is worth a listen on both its musical and academic merits, especially as a "name your price" Bandcamp release. Give a student a few dollars though! This track is a solid opener from the album, and A.D. makes excellent and appropriate use of a sample from "Malcolm X" after the hook. 

Pro P : Concrete Jungle

Almost pure drums here from one of Manchester's busiest beatmakers, on this track from the first "Concrete Jungle" beat tape.

Ran Reed ft. Sadat X : The God's Power

Hailing from New Jersey, Ran Reed was one of those guys who put in mad independent work in the mid-90s, with underground 12" releases, guest appearances, and mixtape cuts. Only this year has he finally released his debut album, and while longtime collaborator Nick Wiz contributed several beats, Ran also self-produces many, including this one. A Sadat X guest appearance is always a win, and he provides a nicely contrasting vocal tone.

Children of Zeus : Don't Say A Word

They just keep on killing it. This is the B-side of the "I Can't Wait" 7" and it knocks! Konny Kon and Tyler have a great album in them, and I am 100% here for it whenever it arrives; in the meantime, just follow them and be ahead of the curve.

Raekwon : This Is What It Comes Too (sic)

I couldn't have you thinking that I didn't know which "to" to use :) This is the lead single from Rae's new album "The Wild" (big up Dan Lish on the cover art), the first to have no features from any Wu members whatsoever! Xtreme on the beat, working a classic old-school drum break, and the rhyming is prototypical Raekwon street talk.

Guru ft. Branford Marsalis : Transit Ride

RIP Guru! I definitely wanted to play some Guru this month and was pleased to find a track of his with the same drum break as the preceding cut. He was a pioneer in making links between the Hip-Hop nation and the world of jazz, and the first "Jazzmatazz" was a landmark. Here's another link - Guru and Premier actually lived in Branford Marsalis' house for a while back in the day! That sounds like it could have made for an amazing TV programme :)

Focus : (Entry no.3) CisumovneZ

Georgia's Focus is a beast on the boards. I could happily have played any number of tracks from the "aNALOG iN a dIGITAL wORLD 2" album, but went for this one. I love the manipulation and warping of the beat as the track progresses, with all kinds of stutters and stops - almost like a modern-day, digital version of the Latin Rascals.

Geechi Suede : London Luton

A number clearly inspired by the globetrotting adventures of Camp Lo's Geechi Suede, from the "Fishnet Skyscrapers" mixtape. This one was so long in coming after the release of the single "Ask About Me", I figured it had been shelved altogether - but it finally came out this month. This actual track was recorded/released in 2016 via the Brapp TV platform, and features the production of NYTELIFE, Rexx, and SaL GuoD (all the casing styles there). It's a suitably spacey background for Geechi's abstract freestyling!

Clear Soul Forces : Fan-Ta-Sa-Ro

So talented, it's a bit ridiculous. Detroit's Clear Soul Forces channel the spirit of their hometown heroes Slum Village on this track, as Slum listeners will recognise from the title and the hook. Ilajide supplies the beat, and this tune from their debut "Detroit Revolution(s)" gave just a taste of the great work to come.

J Chambers : Thought From New Mount Street 2

A brand new freestyle from a Manchester artist on the rise as he prepares to release his "Moment of Silence II : The Road to Perdition" mini-album. Gorgeous beat, dope rhymes - what more do you need? 

Robert Glasper Experiment ft. Ledisi : Gonna Be Alright (F.T.B.)

Needed something with a certain kind of flavour to follow up the J Chambers cut and I think I found it with this beautiful piece from Robert Glasper's first "Black Radio" album. Top-notch instrumentation as you might have expected, undergirding the vocals of the exceptionally talented singer/songwriter Ledisi. Oh yeah, she acts too :) This track got a Grammy nomination, and rightly so. The meaning of "F.T.B." is "off the record", according to Glasper, so take your own guess - but it was also the title of the song this is based on, from The Robert Glasper Trio's "In My Element" album.

Beatnuts : Gonna Fly  (Inst)

From the old "Hydra Beats 5" collection of instrumentals (one of fourteen), just a head-nodder courtesy of Queens' own Beatnuts, some of the most dedicated diggers in the game.

Nas & DJ Shadow : Systematic

I did not see this collaboration coming! One of the greatest ever to pick up a mic, in combination with a legendary producer...on the soundtrack to the "Silicon Valley" TV series? You could have got great odds on that. The beat is funky at the core with the odd glitchy interjection and some synth bass and FX giving it a contemporary feel. Nas can be counted on to come through with the lyrics, and this track is no exception.


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_95.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 11:00am EDT

"...yo' ass lie like the president!"

- Ice Cube

This month marks twenty years since the death of Biggie Smalls - and yet it somehow doesn't feel like that long ago. The B.I.G man's influence still looms large over the culture and this show is no exception. Several Biggie tracks and others inspired by him dot the episode, alongside choices from the discographies of the late Phife and Nate Dogg. Besides those, a few classics and some fairly modern gems you may have missed!

Catch me DJing at Eastern Bloc Records on April 22nd for Record Store Day and then stay out for their big party in the evening! Just over a week later, check DJ Andy Smith at Whiskey Jar for a Sunday night session :)

Twitter : @airadam13


Playlist/Notes

Ice Cube ft. Chris Rock : You Ain't Gotta Lie (Ta Kick It)

The way things are right now, I should do a whole mixtape strictly on the subject of lying! Chris Rock was an inspired choice to guest on this track from "War & Peace Vol.2 (The Peace Disc)" for the adlibs, while Cube just goes in with venom on an assortment of unnamed dishonest people. Production comes from Chucky Thompson of The Hitmen, and it does have a little of that Bad Boy flavour - you could imagine someone like The Lox on this beat back in the day.

Da Beatminerz : Bentleys & Bitches (Instrumental)

Tough beat right here from instrumental version the "Brace 4 Impak" LP (can't believe it's 16 years old this year!) - definitely an album to have in the collection if the ruggedness is what you seek. 

ODB : Hippa To Da Hoppa

Two short verses of battle rhymes in Dirty's own truly inimitable style :) I don't play much ODB here somehow, but he was an MC unlike any other. This isn't one of the most often heard tracks from "Return To The 36 Chambers : The Dirty Version", but it popped into my head as one to bring out this month. The beat was one that RZA had in his archives and that Dirty had mentally bookmarked for himself when the time was right. 

Lords Of The Underground : Chief Rocka

I was well pleased to be able to cut this in and have it rhyme with the hook of the preceding track! A classic Hip-Hop single out of Newark, New Jersey, with K-Def on production. This is the video version, taken from the 12" single, with the original of course being available on the "Here Come The Lords" LP. This tune is quality all the way through, but we don't quite make it to the end of the third verse, because it made sense to loop up a notable Mr.Funkee line and then come in with...

The Notorious B.I.G. : Machine Gun Funk

...a track which happens to use it as a hook! The 1-2-3 combo on "Ready To Die" of "Things Done Changed", "Gimme The Loot", and "Machine Gun Funk" is phenomenal, but this is still an underrated cut in my opinion. Easy Mo Bee contributed an absolutely cracking beat, and Biggie's rhymes are enough for his son to rate this as maybe his favourite from the catalogue. Pure fire.

Mary J. Blige ft. The Notorious B.I.G. : Real Love (Remix)

If you weren't around at the time, it's hard to communicate how revolutionary this was. Hip-Hop and R&B were very separate things back then, and it was people like the Harlem DJ Ron G with his innovative and influential blend tapes who showed the possibilities of combining the two. When Puff Daddy (now P.Diddy) went to Uptown Records, he masterminded producing that kind of combination to the studio, and the "What's The 411? (Remix)" album is one of the most well-known examples. Ron G is actually on the intro to this track (just before the part I start playing from), but Puffy and Daddy-O (of Stetsasonic) are credited with the Hip-Hop-heavy production, blending several classic samples together to give Mary a fitting backing - which also works brilliantly for Biggie, when he comes in.

[Buckwild] Sadat X : The Lump Lump (Instrumental)

Classic boom-bap from 1996, Buckwild's bumping instrumental for the Sadat X track discussing... adventures about town. This was a quality single from the "Wild Cowboys" LP - remember when a tune like this could be a club banger?

Curren$y ft. Nate Dogg & Nijay Sincere : Let's Get It Crackin'

This has one of those hooks that just sticks in your head - Nate Dogg can do that to you. Just know that you cannot sing like him :) Anyway, this is kind of an interesting one; you may be familiar with Curren$y's recent career, the "lifestyle rap" and the sonic flavours that come with it, but this 2010 single sounds more like a move for the clubs and the radio - not necessarily a bad thing at all. He's firmly midtempo here over the DJ Taylormade beat with Nate supplying a hook that may not be catchy, but one that works for sure.

A Tribe Called Quest : The Donald

RIP Phife Dawg...aka Don Juice, apparently! Dancehall-accented tune with some nice turntable work (courtesy of DJ Scratch) for the sureshot combination of Tribe and Busta Rhymes on this closer from "We got it from Here...Thank You 4 Your Service", the final ATCQ LP. One of the only things I've heard in months that involves the name "Donald" and doesn't make me want to be sick!

Lexxus : Stress

I'm kind of mad I had to buy the "Mr.Lex" album a second time (on CD) because so many tracks aren't on the vinyl. Still, big tune here with Bobby Konders on the digital production! Lexxus only has two albums, but his singles discography is deep if you like what you hear.

Large Pro : Off Yo Azz On Yo Feet

(Note: I've just realised that this was also included on episode 76. First repeated track in the history of the show! #oops)

The live guy with glasses just keeps on going. His latest LP, 2015's "Re:Living" was a concise eleven tracks, with this being one that just stuck in my head. Self-produced, of course, with the snare smacking away relentlessly in the mix. Lyrically - I guess it's motivational music, after a fashion? The hook certainly leaves no doubt about the message :)

The Alchemist : The Thirst

Thinking about it recently, I realised that in this post-anthem world with an explosion of music availability, Alchemist has quietly worked his way into the pantheon of greatest all-time producers. A nice dark beat from the first "Rapper's Best Friend" beat compilation. 

Mega Ran : 10 Gamer Commandments

Random aka Mega Ran is best known for his skill at blending of video game culture and Hip-Hop, and he gives just a piece of it on this cut from his "Notorious R.A.N - Ready To Live" tribute album. Twenty years after the passing of Biggie, Mega Ran reworks some of his tracks in tribute, and this bonus track is of course his flip of "Ten Crack Commandments"; a step-by-step booklet on how to conduct yourself in the gaming world ;)

Kaytranada ft. Craig David : Got It Good

A year ago we heard a Ras Kass track based on this instrumental, but I thought it was worth giving you the original! Coming strong for the crown of best producer to come out of Haiti, the Canadian-raised Kaytranada made some serious noise among those who know last year with the "99.9%" album, and this was a standout cut for me. The highly underrated Craig David supplies a smooth vocal performance at the high end while the beat bumps along at the bottom - great blend.

Omniscence : Golden

North Carolina coming through! The likes of Bandcamp is a godsend for allowing independent releases to be easily obtainable by the fans, and after putting out stuff like the previously-unreleased "The Raw Factor" digitally, Omniscence then moved on to bringing new material onto the platform. This piece from "The God Hour" has some bump but the gentle keyboard work is a fitting backing to Omni's two contemplative verses.

Geto Boys : Leanin' On You

A group often missed when we discuss Hip-Hop legends, Houston's Geto Boys went through lineup changes early in their life, then settled for a while before changing again, and finally coming back together with what most consider the canonical MC lineup - Scarface, Willie D, and Bushwick Bill. Here, we take a reflective track from their seventh LP, "The Foundation", with each MC taking a turn to describe a missed person or a struggle in their own lives. The production comes from someone you may not associate with this style, and also may not have thought about in a while - Mr.Mixx of 2 Live Crew, a pioneer of the Miami Bass sound. This certainly has some heft in the mix but rather than the accelerated beats that he made his name with, this sample re-work is slow and somewhat solemn, perfectly matching the lyrics. 

Oddisee : Brixton

A bit of an old one (2010) from Oddisee's "Traveling Man" instrumental album; I don't know if he made this beat in Brixton or just took inspiration from there, but it's quality as usual. I'll likely play you something from his new album "The Iceberg" in the coming months.

Willie Evans Jr. : Nerd English

Finally, we come all the way back to the theme from the episode opener! A very amusing but sincere track about keeping it all the way real, staying in your lane...however you want to put it :) It reminds us that trying to be something we're not is stressful, hard work, potentially trouble, and just generally undignified. A solid tune from the "Introducin'" LP that always makes me smile.


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_94.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 2:55pm EDT

"All that happy, 'let's be friends' shit? Yo, this is the opposite."

- Konny Kon

As usual, we pay tribute to J Dilla, Big L, and Big Pun this month, but also two giants from a previous generation who both made a massive impact on Hip-Hop; Clyde Stubblefield and David Axelrod, who both passed in the last few weeks. Besides that, we have some great recent tracks from Manchester, some US classics and a few tracks that may have passed you by! Let's get it going...

Twitter : @airadam13


Playlist/Notes

D.I.T.C. : Best Behavior (Showbiz Remix #2)

From "The Remix Project", we go heavy in multiple ways right from the jump. Big Pun may not have been a charter member of D.I.T.C, but Fat Joe certainly is, and it's via Joe that we end up with this connection to one of the fiercest MCs of all time. One verse each over this Showbiz beat which somehow manages to be even darker than the excellent Amed-produced original

David McCallum : The Edge

I'd imagine a good number of you thought this was about to be an entirely different record :) This track from the "Music: A Bit More Of Me" album is definitely the most famous track by the actor/musician David McCallum, and one of the most well-recognised by the producer, the brilliant David Axelrod, who passed away this month. That intro is just a monster.

Big L & Jay-Z : Freestyle

Given the origin and the content, I hope you can excuse the sound quality! This is one of the great freestyle sessions of all time, with the then-rising Big L and Jay-Z trading serious bars over the beat for Miilkbone's "Keep It Real"; as it turns out, they'd already battled off-mic earlier the same night! While that clash is lost to folklore, it's good to have this back-and-forth preserved for posterity, thanks to Stretch & Bobbito.

Ras Kass : Soul On Ice (Remix)

Diamond D remixes the title track from Ras' debut, blessing Ras with a David Axelrod-sampling instrumental that is probably better known than the original. Ras is in the political lyrical mode many people would associate him with here, but as always managed to blend that with just vicious battle lines. "The waterproof MC, you ain't wettin' me/You need to stop rapping and start robbing banks like Steady B"? *Ouch*...

SoundSci : The Remedy (Jonny Cuba Remix)

This one has just missed the cut a few times but it fit nicely here! Super relaxed vibe all the way through on this closing track from the "Dig For Victory" EP.

James Brown : Funky Drummer (Parts 1 & 2)

We join this track about a minute and a half in - the full track is seven minutes long. At 19:25 though, one of the most famous, sampled, re-used, re-formulated pieces of audio of all time appears to grace our eardrums. Clyde Stubblefield claimed to not particularly like this song as a whole all that much, but these few seconds of solo drumming when he was given his shine have immortalised it - and him. 

[Jay Dee] Slum Village : Climax (Instrumental)

Easily one of my favourite Dilla beats, from the "Fantastic, Vol.2" album - a fantastic blend of samples and that clap on the two and four are perfectly crisp and clean.

Busta Rhymes : Genesis

Busta was one of those MCs who caught on to J Dilla relatively early and the two artists combined for some excellent tracks over the years. On "Genesis", Busta's fifth album, Dilla contributed this title track and "Make It Hurt", which sounds like it was done by a completely different producer, which just goes to show his versatility. 

Gang Starr : Mass Appeal

It just seemed to go well with the Busta record, and it's a great single, taken from the "Hard To Earn" LP. What you might not know about it is that DJ Premier essentially put the beat together as a bit of a mickey take! The track is supposed to sound like catchy elevator music, in keeping with the lyrical theme of rappers simplifying their material for a popular audience - but it just sounds so good! 

Souls of Mischief : 93 Til Infinity (Remix)

Do I prefer this to the original? Absolutely not - however, that doesn't mean it's not a quality track in its own right. If you listen carefully, you'll hear that it's an actual re-record, with the lyrics being very slighly different and the delivery also tweaked to better fit this alternative beat by A-Plus. The easiest place to find this is on the original 12" single, though it has been released by itself as well.

Masta Ace Incorporated : Saturday Night Live (L.A. Jay Remix)

Staying in '93 for a remix of a track from the "SlaughtaHouse" album - an LP notable for largely being a parody which a lot of people either took literally or assumed wasn't about them! This particular track has its own dark humour, showing about how live a Saturday night can actually get, and feaures Uneek, Eyce, and Lord Digga on the mic. L.A. Jay from the Pharcyde crew rocks the same sample heard on Gang Starr's "Jazz Music" for a beat that manages to surpass the album version!

Pete Rock : Dilla Bounce (R.I.P)

A fitting instrumental to include this month. Dilla came up idolising the work of Pete Rock, so it's poetic that after his passing (as in life), Pete pays respect to him in return. I feel that "Petestrumentals 2" may follow the same path as its predecessor - underrated on release, and retrospectively hailed as a classic.

Run The Jewels ft. Joi : Down

The "RTJ3" album came out on Christmas Day and ensured that we all got at least one present :) This was the opener and a worthy one - a look back at Killer Mike and El-P's pasts, and a look forward to where they plan to go. There's a kind of warmness to the beat which isn't a word I'd usually use to describe an El-P track, but it envelops your ears and draws you in to focus on the lyrics.

Ellis Meade : Kings & Queens

Ellis was kind enough to send me a copy of this a few months back and I finally found a good place to showcase it in a mix. The flow is crazy over a double-timed, almost southern-style Pro P beat. Another win for the Room 2 Records crew!

Chamillionaire : You Gotta Love Me

"Mayn, let the truth free". That shout-out to the then-incarcerated Pimp C firmly dates this one, a longtime headphone favourite for me finally making it onto the show! From the DJ Whoo Kid (hence the annoying adlibs) collaboration mixtape "The Truth", Cham focuses his anger on Mike Jones ("who?", you may now ask?) - that beef lasted for several years. I haven't been able to find out who produced this but that sped-up vocal sample is a serious earworm!

Don Jagwarr : The Cure

I've had this one hanging around for a long while, not sure it's everyone's speed but it fit tempo-wise into this selection and I think was a reasonable follow-up to the soul sample in the previous track. Don Jagwarr is almost certainly best known to most as the guest on Ice Cube's "Wicked", but he did have his old LP, "Faded", from which this track is drawn. The beat and hook are based around a replay of Diana Ross' "Love Hangover", which is a chilled backing for Jagwarr to spin his tale over.

Jake One : Oh Lord

We go back to the gospel-themed "#PrayerHandsEmoji" beat tape for this instrumental, a perfect warm-up for this month's closer...

Children of Zeus : Crown

An anthem already (wow, alliteration)! Tyler Daly goes straight rhymes alongside the always-ready Konny Kon over a no-drums track based around a stirring gospel sample; both MCs turn it out in fine style! Absolutely huge track from the "Two Syllables, Volume Thirteen" compilation and one that deserves as much shine as possible - on top of everything else, it also has one of the best videos I've seen in ages, so no excuse not to share and share again!


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

Direct download: Episode_93.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 12:38pm EDT

"...make you feel as if the Bill of Rights was counterfeit."

- Cuban Link

This month has just been hitting us over the head with "WTF?" moments on a daily basis, but in between I managed to put the show together - as you can tell, the finishing touches only made it in close to the end-of-month buzzer! While this is an all-Hip-Hop episode, I feel fairly confident that there won't be many people who know every track, so there'll be at least one new gem here for everyone. Let's run down this month's crate excavations...

Twitter: @airadam13


Playlist/Notes

Fat Joe ft. The Terror Squad : The Hidden Hand

It's bleak, but it's life. The whole Terror Squad weigh in on this cinematic cut (produced by Spunk Bigga) from the "Don Cartagena" album. Packed with cautionary tales, observations on the state of society, and ending with a touch of advice, this very much has the air of the person that's been through a lot trying to stop someone else going down the same road. In my opinion, this is a very much underrated deep album cut.

Oddisee : No Rules For Kings (Inst)

From the "The Beauty In All" album we get this lovely instrumental, heavy on the cymbals and drum fills.

3rd Bass : Gladiator

I've just realised that I've only played 3rd Bass once before on the podcast, so there are some great tracks in their small catalogue still for me to share with you. Here's one I think you probably won't know - their contribution to the soundtrack of the 1992 boxing-themed film "Gladiator". DJ Daddy Rich makes the beat boom, and whoever it is on the hook is battling me in the low voice stakes :)

J-Live : Worlds Apart

"The white man's burden still the brown man's backache"? That's just fire. The amount of clever, insightful quotes on this track is just unbelievable. It's well worth sitting and listening carefully to this one a few times - nothing but facts right here from J-Live on this Oddisee-produced piece from his "Around The Sun" album. 

Melanin 9 ft. Roc Marciano : White Russian

Melanin 9 is a UK MC who had somehow escaped my notice up to now but I stumbled upon this track with Long Island's street rhyme specialist Roc Marciano and knew I had to include it! The production by Anatomy channels the feel of the SP1200/S950 90s golden age; I love it, apart from the awkward 5-bar intro ;) Melanin and Roc go stream-of-consciousness in fine style on this one, taken from the "Magna Carta" LP.

Apollo Brown & Skyzoo ft. Joell Ortiz : A Couple Dollars

"The Easy Truth" was one of the picks of 2016 and the combination of Skyzoo, a real lyric fan's choice, and Apollo Brown's soulful production is a match made in Hip-Hop heaven. Adding Joell Ortiz to this story of the lure of money when you start off broke just takes the track over the top. The album is definitely worth checking!

Kappah : Supafly

Kappah from the Beatfonics crew flips some Curtis Mayfield inside out right here and adds some solid bass underneath for a highlight from the "Beatxploitation" beat tape. Heavy business as usual coming out of Italy.

Nas : Thief's Theme

A dark favourite, and an appropriate one as we see the dawn of a new kleptocracy! This was a great single from the "Street's Disciple" album - there might have been a radio mix, but you couldn't call this a radio record. Salaam Remi harnesses the "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida" sample (as played by the Incredible Bongo Band) while Nas goes full crime rhyme for three verses - and on the hook, re-using some of his own famous lines from "The World Is Yours". The video for this one is well worth a watch too!

Camp Lo : A Piece Of The Action

The recently released "On The Way Uptown" is the demo album Camp Lo recorded that got them their record deal and paved the way for the classic "Uptown Saturday Night". Well worth picking up if you're a fan, as you can hear early versions of some tracks that made the official album as well as others that were borrowed from or reworked. There's also a scattering of "lost tracks", and what later became B-sides. This tune, I believe, has been out on white label but is a tough one to get so I was very happy to find it included. Geechi and Sonny Cheeba showcase their back-and-forth skills on a great foreshadowing of killer records to come, while Ski gives us some boom-bap drums over a cleverly-chopped, sneaky sampling of a jazz classic. Heavyweight.

Talib Kweli : Gutter Rainbows

I think the world "lush" would fit this one when it comes to the production! M-Phazes brings a dramatic 70s flair to the title track to Talib's 2011 album, and Talib sounds thoroughly amped to be on it. You've all seen a gutter rainbow in the literal sense - the colours formed when oil spills onto the street, and while Kweli does point to that in the lyrics he also gives a more poetic alternative definition.

Pete Rock ft. Little Brother and Joe Scudda : Bring Y'all Back

"...catch a fist and a elbow"...Richard Spencer, come on down! Three very dope verses from LB and Joe Scudda over a Pete Rock beat; I think Phonte's is my favourite, but you can't go wrong with any of the three. Check this one on Pete Rock's third producer-driven compilation, "NY's Finest".

[Context] Maylay Sparks : Legacy (Inst)

One of those random independent 12"s that makes a DJs vinyl collection individual, rather than just an "essential hits" compilation! Context of the Danish crew "Nobody Beats The Beats" provides a quintessentially early-2000s instrumental.

WC & The MAAD Circle : Ghetto Serenade

RIP DJ Crazy Toones. This is a beat I've always loved since I heard it on MTV back in the day, and as Toones had his hands in the production (alongside Sir Jinx and Chilly Chill), I thought this was a good time to play the track. This is played from the 12" single which is itself taken from the 1991 "Ain't A Damn Thang Changed" album. You may not find the story as told by WC to your taste, but you can't deny that funk!

Main Source : Atom

Taking it back to '89, we have one of the first recordings from the Main Source crew. This is the B-side of the "Think" single and for me, a perfect case of "B Side Wins Again"! The mixing and engineering was done by the legendary Paul C, who sadly would be killed before Main Source released their debut "Breaking Atoms" album; his influence lived on, and not just in the name of Large Professor's publishing company

Mega Ran & Storyville ft. Wise Intelligent : I Know Who I Am

It's been great over the last couple of years to see Mega Ran's profile climbing. He's an extremely talented artist and on the "Soul Veggies" album he reunited with long-time friend Storyville, who both took the mic and produced on the project. For this knowledge-packed track, it was only right that both of them connected with Wise Intelligent of the Poor Righteous Teachers; in fact, it was actually him who got on the DJ Seedless track first and then brought them in! The production is funky, jazzy, African...the whole pot, a perfect home for some excellent rhymes.

DJ Quik ft. Mausberg and James DeBarge : Change Da Game

The "Balance & Options" album from the legendary Compton DJ/MC is a must-own for me, with some absolute killers on it - this one being the opening, a statement of intent from Quik and the late Mausberg. The timing and dynamics on the rhythm part of the track gives it a certain bounce that is harder to duplicate than your average beatmaker might think, and as always with Quik, the musicianship is right there for you to appreciate.

[DJ Premier] Gang Starr : Skills (Instrumental)

You could do a mix of just DJ Premier instrumentals and it'd be a satisfying hour! This is from the 12", one of the four singles from "The Ownerz", the final Gang Starr album. Check the full version if you don't already know it - personally, I'm really missing that trademark Guru monotone style.

Heltah Skeltah ft. Starang Wondah & Doc Holiday : I Ain't Havin' That

I decided to finish the episode on a seriously energetic note, with this banging track getting a well-deserved outing. The Boot Camp crew rip the beat from A Tribe Called Quest's "Hot Sex" and you can almost hear them falling all over each other to get their rhymes in - the session in D&D Studios must have been insane! Topping it off with the Redman sample from "Pick It Up" just seals the deal. This is a 12" well worth having but you can also find the track on the "Magnum Force" album.


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_92.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

"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...


Playlist/Notes

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.


Playlist/Notes

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


Playlist/Notes

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.)


Playlist/Notes

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!


Playlist/Notes

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!


Playlist/Notes

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


Playlist/Notes

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!


Playlist/Notes

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!


Playlist/Notes

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".


Playlist/Notes

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.


Playlist/Notes

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...


Playlist/Notes

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

"...and my verse didn't rhyme."

- Phonte

2015 has been a tough year for so many people - let's hope 2016 is ours! We round out the year's shows with a selection that starts on the heavy side but tends towards the light as it approaches the end. We visit both sides of the Atlantic, hit about three or four genres, and once again put speakers to the test. We shall...proceed...and continue...


Playlist/Notes

Raekwon : Treasurers

Bit of an odd route to playing this one.. I got a low-bitrate MP3 of it somewhere random a long while back and gave it a rare five-star rating in my library. Over the years I hunted for any way to buy it so that I could DJ it in good conscience, and eventually found it on the "The Da Vinci Code : The Vatican Vol.2" mixtape in 2010, so snatched up a copy. After getting the CD delivered and having a listen, I realised that the mixtape version had atrocious sound quality, with an unexplained EQ change partway through pretty much ruining it. I carried on looking for a better retail version, but had at this point put money in the artist's pockets and so was comfortable playing the version I had in the first place - on a mixtape, at least :) Great cut though, with a main sample I absolutely love and have only just had identified. The call and response between the horns and the other instruments always make me think of the difference between athletes or gladiators coming out ready for the contest versus the nerves and contemplation in the tunnels beforehand. No idea who produced this unfortunately, but they did a great job.

[Nick Wiz] Ran Reed ft. Shabaam Sahdeeq : Murderous Flow (Instrumental)

One day I may play the vocal version, but for now you just get the ill Nick Wiz beat from this 2000 Bronx Science 12" - just quality drum sampler work. I used this on one of my first mixtapes, so it's probably due another outing :)

Hip-Hop For Respect : Protective Custody

A song that sadly remains as relevant today as it was when it was recorded in 1999. Amadou Diallo was a 22-year-old Guinean ex-pat living in New York who was shot dead outside his home by four NYPD officers, who claimed to mistake his wallet for a gun. Forty-one shots were fired, and nineteen hit him. As per usual, the officers were acquitted on all charges - in fact, one of them just got a promotion. Shortly after the shooting, Mos Def, Talib Kweli, and Devin Roberson from Rawkus proposed the idea of a charity "Hip-Hop For Respect" EP addressing the situation, and police brutality more generally. This particular track from the EP is produced by Mr.Khaliyl and on the mic we have (deep breath) - Breezly Brewin, Dante and Main Flow (of Mood), El-P, Imani Uzuri, Jah Born, John Forte, Mr.Khaliyl, Mr.Len, Nine, Punchline, Talib Kweli, Tiye Phoenix, and What?What? (b.k.a Jean Grae) - all laying down fire for a righteous cause.

Essa ft. Brotherman : Evade & Seek

Killer track with Tall Black Guy on production (playing Manchester soon!) that I got from First Word's just-released "Two Syllables Volume 12" compilation. Essa is a mature, experienced presence in the UK Hip-Hop scene and together with Brotherman, a newer artist but one definitely deserving on the title, a tale of the perils of street life is spun. For my UK listeners, never forget that there are gems close to home!

Kosheen : I Want It All

I rediscovered this one in my collection this month and thought that even though it would be a bit left-field for some, that it deserved a play for those that don't know it. Taken from their debut album "Resist", it's got it all (no pun intended) - an alternately cracking and soaring vocal performance from Sian Evans, gritty guitars, well-fitted synth work, and a load of strings. In short, a great song from another excellent Bristol-based group; must be something in the water. I lost track of the group after the first album, so was surprised to find while doing my research for the notes that they've released five albums, the most recent being in 2013. It looks as though the band may have fractured, but I'll definitely be checking out their back catalogue.

Bronx Slang : Run Away Sucker

Bronx Slang is the union of my man Jerry Beeks and Ollie Miggs (f.k.a. Kasper Gomez), who have been putting in work on the mics for many a year! This new track sees them both in battling form over a raucous guitar-led beat from London's own Jadell. While roasting the competition, they also take time to pay respect to Shaun Tucker and Sammy, two fellow MCs from Co-Op City in the Bronx who passed before their time. The word is to expect to hear a mixtape and debut album from Bronx Slang in 2016 - repping for their borough!

J-Zone : The Zone Report (Instrumental)

Recently I picked up the 1999-2006 box set of J-Zone instrumentals from his Bandcamp page, and it was well worth the price; he's one of the most creative producers we've ever seen, and as good as he is on the mic, having the tracks without vocals allows you to appreciate the precision. The full version of this track is Zone giving his own opinions on each of his albums up to that point - a clever idea that is definitely worth you taking the time to listen to!

Krumbsnatcha : Never Grow Up

I've always liked this one :) The "Peter Pan" sample straight away lets you know the tone to expect - Krumbsnatcha indulges his playful and immature side over a heavy beat from Nottz. If nothing else, you have to laugh at him eventually owning up to some of his childhood...escapades! Great 12", easily affordable, with the Pete Rock-produced "Here We Go" on the flip. 

Grand Agent & Tribeca ft. Camp Lo and Raynge : Minivan

One of those tracks that I wasn't sure I liked at first. Then I played it a few more times. The shoulders started going, the hook got stuck in my head...and that was it. Grand Agent combined with Tribeca for the "Tribeca-Grand" EP, and this is arguably the standout. Grand Agent goes straight ahead, the always-dope Camp Lo bring the heavy slang, and Raynge (aka Liv L'Raynge) holds down the closing verse over Tribeca's playful but thumping beat. This one sneaks up on you. 

Little Brother : Whatever You Say

An early century classic :) From LB's debut "The Listening", Phonte and Big Pooh kick some fun rhymes about trying to get with the ladies. The 9th Wonder-produced beat is heavy, but the highlight of the whole track has to be Phonte on the second verse, from which this month's epigraph is taken. Genius!

Terrace Martin ft. AB and Ill Camille : Life & Times

Found this one on Spotify and it's been getting a lot of play from me this month! It let me know there's a lot more in Terrace's discography than I ever knew - in this case, the second "Locke High" mixtape which sounds like a great pickup. Vocals are handled by AB and Ill Camille, with AB telling stories of growing up in LA and loving Hip-Hop; one real fan can recognise another in these lyrics!

Hexsagon : VI

Friend of the show Hexsagon is one of the more prolific beatmakers out there, and this is a great pick from his "Aries" beat tape from March this year - one that gets your head nodding just right.

KwolleM & AJ Tracey : Hood Antics

In the last month or two I was introduced to the concept of "mellow grime", and found it interesting enough that I thought I'd play one of the first tracks I heard this month! Up to now, I can't say I'd ever enjoyed grime, and a lot of that was down to the production style - however, this new variant digs more into soulful grooves for the body of the track, rather than grinding synth sounds. My understanding is that East London's KwolleM (Mellow K?) is one of the standard bearers of this new sound, and this track from his "Mellow EP" is sweet but all too short! Definitely an artist to keep an ear on.

Sir Michael Rocks : Bahamas

This has been getting a few headphone rewinds this month, but would usually be a little too slow to blend with anything - as it turns out, it combines smoothly with the preceding mellow sounds! Sir Michael Rocks may be better known to you as Mikey Rocks from The Cool Kids, but on his solo excursions (including this, "The Rocks Report"), the vibes are more smoothed out than you might be used to. Fellow Chicago natives The Produktionix handle the beat on this one.

Massive Attack : One Love

Winding it back to 1991 for this selection from Massive Attack's debut "Blue Lines" album. The legendary reggae vocalist Horace Andy takes centre stage over the sparse but well-crafted sample-based backing. The components come from multiple places but the result is unmistakably British. An album you must have in your collection.

J-Live : Simmer Down

You don't have to be acting hard all the time. That's the message from this slow and low killer from J-Live's "Then What Happened?" LP, and he delivers it with his usual wit and verbal dexterity. Cap D from All Natural supplies a beat much slower than the average and it's a great fit! This track is a 21st century, Hip-Hop, much more moody take on The Wailers' debut single "Simmer Down" from 1963, as J acknowledges himself in the album's liner notes.

Three 6 Mafia : The End (Instrumental)

I don't really listen to this group so I can't remember what prompted me to pick this one up in the first place, but it fits just right here! This is the instrumental from the title track of the Memphis-based crew's second album, back in their early days. You may have heard their name after they won the Best Original Song Oscar at the 78th Academy Awards for "It's Hard Out Here For A Pimp" (hey, it surprised me), but they walked a long road before that.  

Janelle Monae ft. Prince : Givin' 'Em What They Love

When you have Prince as a guest star on your record, you know you must be doing something! The brilliant Janelle Monae brings the low-slung rock flavour on this track, which was the first vocal track on the "The Electric Lady" album. Unusually for a funk-inspired record, the emphasis is on the two and four beats of each bar, rather than the one - listen and check how it influences the feel. As far as the vocals, Janelle kills it. As usual!


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_79.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 7:30am EDT

"Use our music to get by."

- unknown

At times like these, you have to take your comforts where you can find them, and hopefully this month's mix can be a part of that. The month did have one highlight for me - I finally got to see the Zapp Band live in concert, after about thirty years of waiting for an opportunity! As such, I've decided to make them and some of the records that sample them the focus, but not exclusive content, of this episode. As usual, some you'll probably know straight off and some you won't, but I think the selection has come together nicely. 


Playlist/Notes

Zapp & Roger : Living For The City

Heavy in all senses - serious content and kicking on the low end. The Zapp band have a tradition of interesting covers going back to Roger's take on "I Heard It Through The Grapevine" (which was partly intended to help people understand talkbox-recorded vocals), and this was one of their last while he was still with us. I think it's a great re-work of the classic Stevie Wonder record, miles away sonically and also changing the lyrical emphasis slightly by leaving out the final verse, which was often dropped from radio play anyway. As far as I knew, this was only available on "The Compilation - Greatest Hits II And More", which is where this version comes from, but it apparently also got a promo single release with several remixes. I'm making no guarantees you won't hear one of those in the future.

Oddisee : Inglewood

He may be from the DMV, but Oddisee knows his West Coast funk! One of the many ill beats on his "Oddisee West Coast Beats" beat tape.

Redman ft. Erick Sermon : Funkorama (Double Green Remix)

"...the first one to bring the Zapp clap to rap" - Erick Sermon certainly has a strong claim. There's a subtle little sample in this tune, but it's just one element of this very satisfyingly chunky remix. Tucked away as the final track on the flip of L.O.D's "I Feel It" single, this was a tune I'd not heard for years until I got the 12" this month. Redman is still very much active and skilled, but it's still nice to go back and hear him wrecking the mic as a younger man! If you want to hear the original version, that and the L.O.D track are on Erick Sermon's "Insomnia" compilation.

L.E.G.A.C.Y : Nice

So many quotables that could easily have been the epigram for the month. "Seed made from a bad poppy". The Konami code. "Agony of the heat, carry the torch on". Legacy manages to sound thoroughly dismissive of anyone competing with him on the mic, and spits some great bars in his cause on this lead track from the "Project Mayhem" LP. There is a 12" release of this single, but the sound quality is pretty bad - I've got it but ended up using an MP3 here. Khrysis is on the boards (with the heat, as he would say), and the beat has a nice shuffle to it - check the changing volume and pitch on the shaker pattern, and the relaxed timing on the snare/clap sounds. The topper is the Greg Nice sample on the hook - one of the most distinctive voices in Hip-Hop history brought into play!

Tall Black Guy : I Wanna Play Summthin' For You

If you're a regular listener, you know how much I rate Tall Black Guy, and admire his consistency. I was flicking through his Bandcamp page at the few things I didn't already have, and found this on his "Hollyweird 2.0" album. That bass line should give you all the good feelings, and the piano samples and keyboard work float nicely over the top. Also, those claps...big.

Ahmad fr. Roger Troutman : The Jones'

 Straight up - it was the Roger Troutman guest appearance, not the big single "Back In The Day" that made me pick up this album, probably 1995. It's that same cassette I dug out of the shoeboxes to sample and play for this episode. Granted, the hook could have done with a bit less repetition - Ahmad does wear it out a bit - but Roger's accompaniment is absolutely worth the price of admission. On the whole though, I definitely rate this track. The Ahmad and Kendal beat is dope, and on the mic Ahmad has a vocal tone somewhere between Hiero and Das EFX.

Jake One : Computro Love

This was originally going to be the instrumental bed for the first voiceover this month, until I realised that the speed change halfway through made it ideal to bridge between the first and second mix segments of the show! It makes no secret of the fact that it's a flip of Zapp's hit single "Computer Love" (which presaged internet dating by more than ten years), but the divide means you actually get two different constructions from the same track. You can get Jake's "Seaplane" beat tape free on Soundcloud, and you really should - he's an excellent producer.

Keith Murray : Danger

Another Erick Sermon production, another Zapp sample, this time in the background on the hook. Last track on the A-side of Murray's 1994 debut "The Most Beautifullest Thing In This World", the sound quality of the pressing is every bit as bad as Jive were renowned for at the time. I gave it a bit of an EQ boost but it's still pretty sketchy!

Edo G : Let's Be Realistic

I once had a housemate who found it amusing how low-key Hip-Hop night names were; at the time, I was playing at one event called "Homegrown" and an associated night "Maintain". He'd have loved the title of this track :) Boston styles over Brooklyn beats, with DJ Spinna giving Edo a neck-snapper to get busy on. Sixteen years old now but still sounding great, you can get this on "Superrappin Vol.1" along with some other great examples of the underground flavour of the time.

De La Soul : The Pitch

Always a winning combination - De La Soul over J Dilla beats. If you want more - and you should, head straight to De La's website where the "Smell The D.A.I.S.Y (Da Inner Soul Of Yancey)" mixtape is available as a free download.

7 Days Of Funk : Do My Thang

I wouldn't blame anyone for not recognising the artist name here, but 7 Days is the combination of Pasadena's Dam-Funk, and Snoop Dogg (aka Snoopzilla); both artists have been dedicated to the funk on their very distinct career paths, and the union of the two came from real-life meeting and collaboration. Their eponymous debut is primarily influenced by the Parliament/Funkadelic style and the thump of the West Coast sound that went on to sample those records later. Only eight tracks long, but definitely worth a listen - top-down music!

BMB : CadillacLedy

I only heard of this Russian producer while looking up the credits for Dr Dre's "Compton" album, where a beat he'd originally done with DJ Premier made the cut, but then he popped up today while I was searching Bandcamp for "P-Funk". The "GP-Funk" EP is a very reasonably priced collection that shows that the funk can come from anywhere, as long as it's in your soul! The snare timing on this one is a little...laissez-faire, so it's not easy to mix perfectly, but the pure flavour of the track means I can't be too mad at that.

Roger : Breakthrough

Uptempo dance workout from Roger's final solo album, 1991's "Bridging The Gap". Just one thing to note on this track - is that mid-bass note at ??:?? supposed to be there, or do you think it's a mistake? It feels to me like either a mistake that sounds good and ended up being kept, or an absolute stroke of genius to know that just adding that one key hit would increase the funk level...

Compton's Most Wanted : I Don't Dance

I mentioned this track in the notes for Episode 56, and here it is at last! My man Nick L introduced me to this track way back when (well, some point after "Straight Checkn 'Em" was released in 1991) and it's a great mixture of the deadpan and the funky. You'll recognise a lot of well known samples in the mix, pretty much all notable for being big dance records, while Eiht lets us know how much he can't be bothered with actually getting on the floor himself. I wish I could communicate the vision I have in my head of him at the end of the first verse, in a daze watching an over-energetic mover :)

Public Enemy : 1 Million Bottlebags

The second I heard that a malt liquor company had sampled Chuck D's voice for an advert, I knew the thunder was coming right back at them; it was one of the most inappropriate sample uses of all time! He was well known for his criticism of these companies and their products, which were pointedly targeted at the Black community, and couldn't have his voice out there promoting them. This great album cut from "Apocalypse 91...The Enemy Strikes Black" leaves you in no doubt what Chuck thinks of the effects and marketing of malt liquor (for UK readers, our closest equivalent is something like the notorious Special Brew), and the Bomb Squad keep up the ferocity, backing him up with the "More Bounce To The Ounce"-sampling track.

Zapp : Mega Medley (with bonus beats)

Keeping that "More Bounce" groove going at the start, the Greg Beasley edit of some of Zapp & Roger's biggest hits first came to my attention on their "All The Greatest Hits" compilation, but this specific version with the extra drums at the end is a B-side from a 12" release - handy for DJs to blend over.

Nuyorican Soul : The Nervous Track

Struggled to find the right record to follow up with but I dug up this one and it offered the chance to blend out the "Mega Medley" drums just in time for this track's own drums to fade in - thought it was a nice little move! From the re-issue of the classic "Nuyorican Soul" LP, Masters At Work do a top job with the production on this; I didn't realise it, but apparently this was MAW's first track under the Nuyorican banner and preceded the original album by several years.

Dungeon Family : Follow The Light

I love the introductory words on this track, and while I originally had the idea of starting an episode with it, it fit in really well as a closer for this month. For those that don't know, the Dungeon Family is the Atlanta-based collective that spawned OutKast, Goodie Mob, and more - the "Dungeon" being the basement studio of producer Rico Wade from Organized Noize. Their "Even In Darkness" collaborative LP delivers many permutations of all the members over the course of the album, and this track features Big Boi, Big Gipp, Sleepy Brown, Cee-Lo, and Shuga Luv in fine form. A record absolutely worth picking up if you see it. 


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

Direct download: Episode_78.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 2:25pm EDT

'clipse.

"At the sound of the tone, leave me the f*** alone."

- Alchemist

With this episode being released on Halloween, the overall vibe is dark, spooky, and occasionally horrific, but there is the odd opportunity to come up for air ;) I was on holiday this month and even though that meant I was one week down on my usual preparation time, I'm pleased with the selection and think that even the really knowledgeable heads will get a surprise or two! Enter the lair...


Playlist/Notes

Agallah ft. Alchemist : Ride Out (O.G.G.G.)

As you'll find from listening, this month's epigram comes from this track - I always loved that line, together with the edited voicemail sample that follows. (Note to self: re-record voicemail message in similar style). Anyway, while Agallah is a dope producer in his own right, on this track from 2006's "You Already Know" he gives up the reins to Alchemist for this dark cut, and also invites him in on the mic. The lyrical layout is unusual and worth paying attention to - each MC rhymes three bars with an occasional slight overlap into the fourth, where you hear the "O.G.G.G" refrain. You still get sixteen bars between appearances of the hook, but it's an interesting way of organising the track.

[Charlemagne] Capone-N-Noreaga : Halfway Thugs (Instrumental)

I still remember going to buy "The War Report", but it was many years later before I found an instrumental version - even then, it was clearly taken from a different revision of the album. This Charlemagne beat was on both versions though, and fits perfectly - knocking drums with the reverbed stick/snare kit, deep bass, and the haunting piano and voice samples. Charlemagne did some great beats for people like Natural Elements back then and CNN were wise to reach out to him!

Guilty Simpson ft. Spacek : Power Outage

Great track from the tail end of Guilty's new album "Detroit's Son", going X-rated on the lyrics. Production comes from Katalyst, of the Quakers crew, and there's something of a Blaxploitation feel to the instrumental - although maybe that's the opening speech sample influencing me!

Darc Mind : Visions Of Blur

From the 1997 "Soul In The Hole" soundtrack, I feel like I can't be the only person who overlooked this! I can't think of anyone who sounds quite Kev Roc vocally, and he's intricate with the lyrics over X-Ray's dark, twanging beat. Their "Symptomatic Of A Greater Ill" album, from which this was originally taken, was unfortunately never released while they were on Loud Records, and after the label folded it seemed as though it might disappear. Luckily, Loud gave them the album back and it came out on Anticon in 2006. They've been active as recently as 2011, and you can check their Bandcamp for more.

Slum Village ft. DJ Babu : Bare Witness

I love the fact that Slum Village, in various forms, continued to power through despite losing not one but two members long before their time; their sixth album, "Villa Manifesto" isn't new but it's definitely worth having. This Khrysis-produced opener thumps and slides with a subtle growling bass and hard kicks undergirding the triumphant horns; this is also a track where the hi-hit pattern really determines how you react to it. On top of all that, the legendary DJ Babu (of the Beat Junkies and Dilated Peoples) comes through to contribute some of his world-class scratching. Big tune for me this month.

Ski Beatz ft. Jean Grae, Jay Electronica, Joell Ortiz : Prowler 2

Good rock guitars don't antiseptically lock onto a timing grid, and this track swings and lopes just as it should - but then, Ski is an expert in the beat game! Those drums make you rock side to side while your neck is going at the same time... and then there are those MCs. Jean Grae always has the sound of someone with total command of her craft, and to have her backed by the elusive Jay Electronica and Joell Ortiz makes this a beast of a cut. I only just got my own copy of the "24 Hour Karate School" album after more than three years - now that you know about it, don't sleep!

Greedy Fingers : There You Go (Instrumental)

I didn't know about this album until a week ago, but it was released sixteen years ago; "Shady Sirens" is the dark product of Belgium's DJ Grazzhoppa and the UK's DJ Greedy Boy, with some mic contributions bubbling up from the underground. MCs on the album include Cage and Necro - both of whom could go into scoring horror films - as well as MF DOOM, but here you get one of the instrumental numbers. Strangely, I can't much imagine this one being improved by a rapper, but it would be a good one for some heavy cutting...

Willie Evans Jr. : Dumbtron

Fire. Willie Evans Jr is the man for all things beats at This Week In Blackness - I heard a piece of this track on the "TWiB Prime" podcast, and knew I just had to find a copy! I'd never heard of Evans before but he's clearly got a truckload of talent, is equally at home behind the boards or on the mic, and walks his own path. The surprise on this track is undoubtedly the speed change - from about 89bpm it abruptly jumps to 103 (occasionally dropping back down), and the faster sections just kill. I think that Paton Locke features on this track - it certainly sounds like two MCs, and both Locke and Evans are a duo called "Dumbtron" - and the mic just gets brutalised for a minute and a half. Short, but nothing sweet here. More flavour available on the "Introducin'" album.

Above The Law : What Cha Can Prove

As ATL are underrated in general, I'd imagine this remix/re-record of "Untouchable" from "Livin' Like Hustlers" - a great album - will be a new one to most listeners. However, this version was actually the one the 1990 video was based on, with that heavily-used "Funky Drummer" sample banging hard (you'll rarely hear it nowadays), and Cold 187um and KMG slightly tweaking their deliveries to fit. To me, the original is basically perfect, but this remix is major.

Mobb Deep : Horror Flick

I should really remember the name of the well-known piece this track is based around, but it's just escaping me right now. Regardless, Havoc beefs it up with some low-end and a nice bit of drum programming; it's the open hats right on each beat that give it the feel, if you wind back and listen. I got this from the "Something Like A Horror Flick" mixtape - while I'd rather have had it without the DJ drops, it's not as though I'm claiming to be out here with all exclusives :) 2Pac is renowned for the depth of his unreleased catalogue, but Mobb Deep are arguably up there - there's a ton of their material floating about which never made any official album releases.

Gravediggaz : Here Come The Gravediggaz

Not my favourite, or even second favourite track from the "6 Feet Deep" album (originally titled "Niggamortis"), but it fit well here. It was around the time of this release that the term "horrorcore" started appearing; everything has to have a label, it seems. The Gravediggaz were Prince Paul and Frukwan (both of Stetsasonic), Poetic (RIP) and RZA, who rose to prominence as the head of the Wu-Tang Clan. While articles about the group often painted it as a RZA vehicle, this album was actually recorded the year before the first Wu album came out in 1993, but released in 1994; if anything, you could say it was a Prince Paul-led project! 

Funkmaster Flex : Six Million Ways To Die

I can't remember if I learned this track from pirate radio or Westwood back in the day, but it's a dope one. For those who don't know, Flex has been a huge DJ for years, best known for his long run on NYC's Hot 97 radio station, and like many DJs he has production experience as well. This 1993 12" had a wicked vocal version of the track featuring an MC called 9 Double M (later Nine, who amusingly denied in one interview that his name had anything to with guns), but here is the DJ-only mix which I heard first and think stands up in its own right. There are a few well-known samples here, but if you ever wondered where the much, much used titular sample comes from, it's  from Cutty Ranks' "Ah Who Seh Me Dun" - dancehall classic. 

Kuartz : The Block

Yet another quality piece from the "40 Fatal Beats" collection, only short so I had to do a little re-editing - but that just lets you enjoy it for a little longer :)

Roc Marciano : Jaws

This right here is the kind of dark, threatening track that fits into the theme perfectly. You can get this one on the digital edition of the "Greneberg" EP as a bonus cut, and it's well worth having. Oh No kills it on the beat, rocking the familiar underwater doom sample to great effect, allowing Roc Marc to bring it home with his trademark complex yet downcast rhyme style.

Dr Dooom ft. Jacky Jasper : Call The Cops

From one of Kool Keith's many, many aliases comes this track from the serial-killer themed "First Come, First Served" album. Super-bizarre lyrics (standard) from Keith and current gossip king Jacky Jasper, and the beat comes from KutMasta Kurt. Note to current producers - we DJs appreciate a clean 8-bar intro and long instrumental outro to mix with, like what you get here! Those sirens at the end also open the door to some interesting mix possibilities too...

Voodoo Black : Cassius Clay

Keeping it local with this low-key banger. Manchester's Voodoo Black sees Dubbul O, Ellis Meade, Sparkz, and DJ Cutterz combine into some kind of north-western Voltron, and they fully represent on the "OutSauced" EP. Production on this is uncomplicated but refined, the Muhammad Ali (formerly Cassius Clay, of course) samples are always welcome, and with this crew the rhymes can absolutely be relied on.

Skitz ft. Rodney P : Never (Dynamite MC Remix)

The "Sticksman" album never grabbed me as much as Skitz' debut "Countryman", but that doesn't mean there weren't quality tracks on there. You certainly can't front on the value, with the second CD in this package being crammed with remixes of the first, and that's where we find this conscious gem with one of the elder statesmen of UK Hip-Hop, Rodney P. The Riddim Killa covers everything from fakery in the music scene, to religion, to unrepresentative politics with the air of a man who's been around and seen some things; that last topic seems apt with the tenor of political discussion in this country right now...

K-Def & 45 King : Taste

Big producer connection here for the connoisseur. The 45 King has been recording since the early-mid 80s; all of you will recognise his track "The 900 Number" and many will know the work he did with Queen Latifah and the rest of the Flavor Unit. New Jersey's K-Def is probably best known as half of Real Live, but he has a extensive discography outside the group and gets all the love from those in the know. Their 2014 collaborative "Back To The Beat" album is the sound of two veterans with mutual respect flipping ideas off each other, and this is just one of the gems. For what it's worth...great programming music!

Jedi Mind Tricks : Heavenly Divine (Remix)

This track may have only been released with the curses edited out, but when you actually listen to the rest of the lyrics from Vinnie Paz and Jus Allah...I'd be amazed if this actually got any radio play! I even had to make an extra edit myself, for one line that was just a little too much.. This was the last track on the b-side of the "Heavenly Divine" 12" release, and I actually think the beat is far superior to the original from the "Violent By Design" album. Stoupe The Enemy Of Mankind gives it a dramatic, ominous feel which you settle into for most of the track, and then apropos of nothing during the third verse, switches out the drums for a killer drum & bass-style rhythm! By that time, we're up around 180bpm and even a lot of D&B doesn't go that fast - so it seems perfect to let the final note of this draw the episode to a suspenseful end.


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_77.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 11:50am EDT

Grounded Sound

"...serial numbers is Braille, so when you rub against it, feel all twos..."

- Raekwon

Just after the last episode was released, "Straight Outta Compton" came out in UK cinemas and a few of us went to see it opening night. Since NWA were one of the first Hip-Hop groups I really got into, I thought I'd try and include some work from each member's discography - without going for obvious picks - and I think you'll enjoy it! The selection doesn't stop there though, as we bring Manchester, the DMV, NYC and more into the mix. Let's get it going...

One link for the month - welcome back to NouGold, who return to the podcast world after an almost two year hiatus!


Playlist/Notes

C.I.A : My Posse

I’d been saving this for a while, though wasn’t sure what would make me break it out; I can’t say I expected it to be an N.W.A biopic! The crew you see Ice Cube with at the start of the film, before forming N.W.A…this is them. Not necessarily my favourite track on a pure listening level but as a piece of history, I’m glad to have it. The style is so different to what came after - Cube sounds like he could be an extra member of Run DMC or the Beasties, but that just goes to show how you define and refine your voice over time. I believe this 1986 track is his first record, as this 12" was C.I.A’s only release. The other members - Sir Jinx (one of the best rap names ever) and K-Dee - didn’t vanish though. They were both part of Cube’s Lench Mob crew, and Jinx did a lot of production for Cube throughout his solo career. Bit of trivia - I cut this track short, but the “Yo Dre - kick in the bass!” you hear on N.W.A’s “Dopeman” comes from here :)

Kool Moe Dee : Suckers

As I played only a piece of the preceding track, I decided to give you something else so you didn’t feel short-changed! From pretty much the same era, which was the only way to get a mix that was going to work, we have a record from one of the real movers and shakers of the time. This track is from the platinum-plus "How Ya Like Me Now?" album, 1987 style all the way. One little thing I noticed; part of Kool's lyrics are scratched up on the second hook of Ice-T's track "Ricochet", and both Ice-T and Kool Moe Dee (check the album cover) had beef with LL Cool J in the past - a coincidence more than likely, but an interesting one.

[The Neptunes] Noreaga : N.O.R.E (Instrumental)

One of those late 90s synth beats that I actually liked! Title track from the first Noreaga solo album; it was overshadowed by "Superthug" which was a massive hit, but still a good track. The album as a whole - I wouldn't say it's a must-buy if you don't already have it, but it's worth checking out.

Black Josh : Paul Scholes

Opening up the segment with some Manchester material, this is something I first heard on Soundcloud that had my head nodding regularly enough that I had to let you all hear it. Great display of rhyme skills from the Ape Cult representative, with really heavy use of multi-syllabic rhymes through both verses, listen closely! Morq gives him a simple (but not plain) beat to flow over, and the result is a quality piece of work. Get this on Bandcamp as part of the "#blahblahblackjosh" album. 

Curren$y : 100 Spokes

A fairly recent release from Curren$y from this year's "Even More Saturday Night Car Tunes" EP, and once again it lives up to the title - short, sweet, and about that ridin'. I still haven't found out who did the production, which is a shame because they have that bass doing some very serious things, especially near the start. Big downside of digital releases - often credits get left off!

Torae ft. Rapsody : Let's Rap

A couple of new school MCs just showing the skills, getting on those mics with no gimmicks! This is a selection from the Peter Rosenberg "What's Poppin'" mixtape which you might still be able to find if you have a dig around online - I just came up with dead links. Khrysis is on the beat and comes up with a clever vocal sample for the hooks, then just laces it in classic Justus League style.

Bootsy Collins : Hollywood Squares

A bit of funk from one of the legends! I wanted to play Eazy-E and Ron-De-Vu's "L.A. Is The Place" on this episode, but it just didn't fit speed-wise, so instead I went with this track - which is sampled for part of the hook. Bootsy Collins has been part of the original J.B.'s (James Brown's backing band from early 1970), as well as a core member of Parliament/Funkadelic, and a solo artist/bandleader with a stack of albums to his name. If you're not a funk follower, you might have even heard him on Deee-Lite's "Groove Is In The Heart"! This track comes from the 1978 "Bootsy? Player Of The Year" LP by Bootsy's Rubber Band - definitely worth a listen if you're not familiar.

Stanley Clarke & George Duke : Wild Dog

The last track made it necessary to stay with something on the funk side of things, but we have a little jazz in the mix as well, with 1981's "The Clarke/Duke Project" providing the perfect cut for this spot. The album is ok, but you really need to check the rest of their catalogues - so much music to enjoy.

Eazy-E : Neighborhood Sniper

Uplifting message? Nope! Eazy-E understood his lane, and he made it work. As I put this episode together, I realised that he was a great example of someone who absolutely maximised the talent he was born with; he wasn’t a rapper to start with and would take all day to lay a track, but ended up with three solo and two group albums (plus an EP and a compilation). This track is from the "5150 : Home 4 Tha Sick" EP, and Cold 187um comes through with a great beat, dark and threatening, for E to spit his serial killer rhymes. I'd probably have just gone with two verses here if I didn't love the beat so much - the nice long instrumental outro was fun for mixing too. Also note the instance on the hook of the de rigeur early 90s dancehall toaster!

MC Ren : Mad Scientist

In the modern era, a very much underrated MC - Ren had good reason to feel neglected in his portrayal in the “Straight Outta Compton” film. Back when N.W.A had their run, he was very much respected on the mic and was the only member besides Ice Cube who wrote all his own lyrics. That pedigree is very much in evidence on this cut from his second solo LP "The Villain In Black", where he speaks on what he saw as the decline in lyricism and quality of Hip-Hop at the time. The grinding, bass-heavy beat comes from Dr. Jam and the Madness 4 Real team; an all-Danish affair (though Jam was based in L.A.), showing that good work can come from anywhere! Dr. Jam is apparently now a host on one of the Danish national radio stations - hope he manages to sneak some Ren in there...

Raekwon ft. Lyfe Jennings : Catalina

Dr Dre on production for this one, and while it wasn’t an immediate favourite for me compared to some of the sonically grittier selections on “Only Built 4 Cuban Linx…Pt.2”, as I listened to it more I came to appreciate it. Originally titled "Congo", it got a rename in time for the album release and somehow seems to fit the new title better - even though there's no explanation for it in the lyrics! Vintage Raekwon gangster rhymes, and the hook definitely adds on - "cos I don't know when my karma gon' catch up" - love it. For those into production, check how the beat sounds with a total absence of hi-hats, the rhythm being totally carried by the kicks and claps.

[DJ Yella] Eazy-E : 2 Hard Muthas

I didn’t have the solo DJ Yella album (“One Mo Nigga Ta Go"), so needed an alternative. While I could have gone with any number of the NWA tracks he had his hand in producing, I opted for this specific track from Eazy-E’s first album “Eazy-Duz-It”, where he shows his skills on the drums! This is a re-edit where I looped up the start of the beat, then let it go after the voiceover and jumped to the end, where he gets to give you some solo flourishes.

Oddisee : Own Appeal

After seeing Oddisee play a storming show in Manchester this month, it was only right to include one of his tracks. This isn't the latest, but comes from the 2013 "Tangible Dream" album and very much fits into the theme set by the title - talking about how he's dedicating himself to his career in the ways that really matter. It's a centred, inspiring message, and he delivers it with polish. Trivia for this track; right at the end of the final verse he shouts out Cru, who used the same guitar sample for the core of their single "Just Another Case" - giving credit where it's due :) 

Gang Starr ft. Total : Discipline

Reasonably well-known for the heads, but I don't think this built a huge commercial profile despite the Total feature. One of the new tracks that was included on the "Full Clip" greatest hits compilation, the only classic Gang Starr feature this is missing is the DJ Premier scratched hook! He does come through with a solid beat though, pounding drums and some chopped-up 70s jazz, and Guru takes on the weathered elder (but not old man) role with his trademark monotone style. Every track on this compilation should be somewhere in your collection!

DJ JS-1 ft. O.C. & Pharoahe Monch : Ridiculous

Queens' DJ JS-1 spent a long time assembling the incredible roster of guests on the "Ground Original 2" album, and the fact that he got these two legends on a deep album cut speaks volumes! They dominate the beat here, with Pharoahe having the edge in my opinion - you really have to be going some to out-rhyme him!

Large Professor : Off Your Azz On Your Feet

I half wonder if this track should be part of a public information campaign encouraging people to exercise! Can't really fault a track which simply tells you to get up and apply yourself as much as you're able. Self-produced as usual (come on, why go anywhere else?), the beat smacks hard, and the legendary DJ Rob Swift drops in at the end to bless the proceedings with his cuts. If you want to hear more, then Large Pro's latest release "Re:Living" needs to be added to your shopping cart.

For Beat’s Sake : Magician

I was trawling Bandcamp again as I do every month trying to dig up instrumental gems, and this one just happened to come from an album called "Straight Outta Consoles"! An collection of beats made from video game music, it's a "name your price" release from this Fort Myers, Florida producer that's definitely worth checking if you're a fan of the 8-bit sound.

2Pac : Until The End Of Time

Nineteen years since Tupac passed, and I wouldn't be surprised to hear that there was yet more unreleased material still to hear. I can't even front, I like the tune that was sampled to be the basis of this ("Broken Wings" by Mr. Mister), and Johnny J and the Trackmasters don't change it much; it was even supposed to share the same title but had to be renamed just before release. Apparently, there's a version with Mr. Mister's Richard Page guesting on vocals in place of R.L. Huggar, but I've not managed to find it yet. When it comes to the main lyrics, it's textbook Pac style from the latter stages of his career - he even uses the trademark "Hennessy/enemies" rhyme :) This is the title track from his 2001 posthumous LP, one of the first to be constructed without his input aside from the lyrics - if you're a fan, you'll probably want to get yourself 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_76.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 4:30pm EDT

R.I...P!

"...they give us free like Amistad."

- Sean Price

Hip-Hop took a terrible blow this month with the great Sean Price returning to the essence at just 43 years of age. From his early work with Heltah Skeltah to his more recent solo career, he was a consistently excellent MC who blended incredible skill and ferocity with wit and humour - and he was still improving right to the end. His material has been played many times before on this show, but this month we're going to have several of his cuts in the mix, along with some other classics and new gems. I hope it's a worthy tribute. P!


Playlist/Notes

Sean Price & Agallah : Rising To The Top (Vocal/Instrumental)

One of the earliest tracks from this pairing. Agallah hooks up a great beat based on Dexter Wansel's "What The World Is Coming To", and just check what he's done with adding the extra bassline - it's quality work. This was part of Sean's demo to get a solo deal, which he and Agallah worked on regularly at Game Records. When Rock Star came calling looking for some music for "Grand Theft Auto III", Game included this track in their submission and it made the cut! I'd been thinking about opening an episode with this tune for a long while but this month, with Sean's son on the intro, it couldn't have been a more perfect time.

Bumpy Knuckles & DJ Premier: Takeit2thetop

Dipping back into the 2012 "StOoDiOtYmE" EP (I won't front, I had to copy and paste that title) for this one, Bumpy and DJ Premier combine once again for the solidness. The EP was a warm up for the "Kolexxxion" LP - and at only £2.49 on iTunes, why not grab a copy if you don't already have it?

A&E (Masta Ace & Edo G) : Ei8ht Is Enough

No hook, just rhymes and more rhymes! These two veterans go back to back, swapping eight-bar sections - hence the title. Toronto's Frank Dukes gives them enough space in the track so that you catch every word, and they don't disappoint. I picked up the "Arts & Entertainment" album that this comes from after a Masta Ace show - it's a 2009 release with a good selection of producers and features, worth checking out.

Heltah Skeltah ft. Louieville Sluggah : Prowl

Taking it back to the start of Sean's career as Ruck, this was a low-key banger from Heltah Skeltah's "Nocturnal" album. It's also a record about which people who don't (or don't want to) know better would say "oh, they just took that Portishead song and then rapped over it" - not grasping that both groups based their tracks around a common sample, Lalo Schifrin's "Danube Incident" to be precise. Mr Walt of Da Beatminerz hooks it up lovely, with some smacking boom-bap drums and filtering of the main sample weaving in and out during the verses. It's stuff like this that had me ignoring "Reasonable Doubt" when it came out ;) On the vocals, while Rock had the voice that was instantly distinctive, on the low it was Ruck who had the better bars - not that there's any slight there, you're talking about an all-time great!

Portishead : Sour Times

From the first Portishead album "Dummy", this shows you that they were a group that came out the gate with their skills already at a very high level. With lighter drums (fittingly so) than the preceding track, this is great production and with Beth Gibbons' haunting vocals and lyrics floating over the top...classic. The rare piece of genuine excellence to reach the upper reaches of the pop charts, this deserved every bit of acclaim it got.

Kay & Luke of The Foundation : Everybody's Here

Not even sure how I found this - maybe a tweet/post from FWMJ's "Rappers I Know". The Foundation are a large crew out of Houston, and this project ("Laura Mvula Chopped") is helmed by two members; Kay on sampling/sequencing/drum programming and Luke on keyboards/synths. They take as source material a performance by British West Indian vocalist Laura Mvula (who I need to start studying) and Metropole Orkest, and turn their hands to re-interpreting it. The result, as you can imagine from this one track, is a beautiful listen - and on top of that, an absolutely free download!

J-Zone : Time For A Crime Wave

While I'll always be a vinyl fan, the modern practice of digital releases makes it a lot easier to release singles out to a wide audience, and also makes them very affordable! J-Zone has made very effective use of this channel on his return to the music industry, and as a fan I'm glad of it. This particular track and its remix are available on Bandcamp and it's typically excellent; Zone sounds like he's totally wilding out but if you listen properly he's actually making very cogent points! Backed with his distinctive production style, this is dope as hell.

Sean Price : Boom Bye Yeah

Huge stomping track from "Monkey Barz", Sean's debut solo album - when this first dropped, it was getting a lot of play from guys like me and DJ Mathmatics, who was the one to put me up on it. Toronto's Tone Mason production crew come with something noisy, gritty, and booming which destroys everything in its path and forms a great backing for Sean to get busy. Definitely pick up this 12", with the nice little B-side "60 Bar Dash" sealing the deal.

Side note: for the longest I assumed this track's title was drawn from Buju Banton's "Boom Bye Bye", but someone suggested recently that it's a corruption of "Ali boma ye" - never thought of that!

LMNO : [more] Pawns [than] Dons

Another track that Mathmatics put me up on - and one I probably never would have encountered on my usual record shopping! LMNO ("Leave My Name Out") is an MC from Long Beach, California, but connected to the skate/surf scene - a different side of things from someone like Snoop or Warren G. He wouldn't categorise himself as a "Christian rapper" but that content is definitely there on this track from the "Economic Food Chain Music" LP (and the B-side to "Hit"). Production comes from Oh No, and it's just...a weapon of bass destruction. The kind of crowd who liked D&B, grime, and dubstep loved this record.

Sean Price : Pyrex

I don't know who Amp is, but he basically did a very DJ Premier beat on this one! From Sean Price's final studio album "Mic Tyson", he kicks some of his trademark witty thugged-out rhymes, at one point winking to the listener "I'm lying, just like the rest of these dumb-ass rappers" :)

[DJ Premier] Jay-Z : So Ghetto (Instrumental)

This popped into my head as a similar sounding beat to "Pyrex" - not identical, but reminiscent with the hard piano and drums. The full version of the track is on Jay's "Vol. 3 : Life & Times Of S.Carter".

El Da Sensei ft. Sean Price : No Matter

Was looking for one Sean P's many, many collaborations to feature here and ended up choosing this one partly for this episode's epigram, but of course it's just dope overall. From El's "The Unusual" album, the MC split the first verse and then solo the second and third, which is an unusual layout - I kept expecting the other to jump in. El is solid as always, and Sean P's bars are brutal but also clever for those who get all the references - very much his style! Production is provided by 3rd Rell; all the guitar stuff going on is kind of discordant - it's not my favourite, but it does the job.

Dr Dre ft. Anderson .Paak : Animals

Talk about a major, major come up - and on the other side of the ledger, a meeting of the minds. The original production was done by DJ Premier with the young Russian producer BMB (aka Spacekid), and when MF Doom had to bow out of recording due to illness, Anderson.Paak stepped in. This was just after Freddie Gray was killed in Baltimore, and the rightful anger is all over the verse. When Dre heard the track, he wanted it on his own album, and added an extra verse - he may not have written it (Anderson and King Mez did), but he does an excellent job delivering it. This isn't even my favourite track on the new "Compton" album, but it did fit well here. Oh yes - that sample of DeRay McKesson speaking on Baltimore isn't part of the track, but I thought that would fit well too.

Blak Twang : Creme De La Crop

The "Dettwork SouthEast" album was originally scheduled for release in 1996, but record company machinations meant that it was shelved and from that point it took on a legendary, mythical status for all those who had never heard it. Tony Rotton went on to record many other albums, even using some of the rhymes from the unreleased project, and yet the desire of the fans to hear that initial record never waned. Finally, it got a release in 2014 - meaning there were adults around on the release date who hadn't been born when it was first recorded! I jumped on a vinyl copy on a trip to London and am glad I did; it reminds me of the particular era in British Hip-Hop production that turned me on to more of our domestic product. This track is centred around the low end, but the little guitar licks and flute sample combined with the cuts add crucial extra flavour. When you consider that Rotton did all the rhyming as well as the production (alongside DJ Rumple), you have to take your hat off - and remember, this is eighteen years old!

First Division : Pure

Canada stand up! I came across First Division in the last couple of weeks after seeing a link to their video for "This Iz Tha Time". I went to iTunes to buy it and found that the album it was on was up for pre-order, with only two tracks currently available - that one, and this. Even though this isn't the tune getting the big push, it's one they can be proud of! BeatWyze is on the boards mixing up Eastern-sounding pipes and strings with quintessential boom-bap and bass sounds while the MCs Expertise and Shylow (also on the cuts) speak on their dedication to the artform. Let me just go back to the cuts for a second - some serious work was clearly done to find all the phrases that go into the scratched hook; some rhyme, and some just fit together to form a coherent whole. As someone who once put together a sixteen-bar verse from samples, I respect that effort!

Vanilla : Real Thing

This month's random Bandcamp find isn't a million miles from home, with this smooth number being part of UK producer Vanilla's "Sweet Talk" project, available as a "name your price" release! S/he's also on Soundcloud, so be sure to have a listen.

Sean Price : Sabado Gigante

"When god made me, he broke the mould, set that shit on fire, flushed it down the commode" - pretty much. I found this freestyle very recently and it turned out to be a perfect way to end the show, with Sean spitting his trademark disrespectful bars straight over...Keni Burke's "Risin' To The Top", thus bringing the episode full circle. 


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_75.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 1:30pm EDT

I Want Mine.

"I hide behind the dank, I hide behind the drink..."

- Cold 187um

I've got to say - I think this is a good one! There are knowledgeable DJs I know out there who might only have heard six or seven of these tracks, even though maybe only one is particularly rare. We start things off fairly downtempo, paying homage to the late KMG, taking a step up in tempo in each section until you might want to hit the floor! There are some 90s head-nodders, some modern UK cuts, and even a little dance in the selection - so let's get it cracking...


Playlist/Notes

Above The Law : Promise Me

A downbeat track to open up but one I've always thought was excellent, lyrically especially. Ice-T often says he knows which supposedly gangsta MCs are fake because they never talk about the downside of the game, but fellow West Coast natives ATL have always covered that aspect. Taken from their fifth album, "Legends", which is well worth having, this track sees Cold 187um and KMG speak on the stress that the street lifestyle has on the innocent families of the participants. The hook is an adaption of an old Luther Vandross tune, and Cold 187um meets the heaviness of the lyrics head on with a booming but haunting beat.

Tall Black Guy : Funky Drummer

Got hold of this track recently and had to play it for two reasons. Firstly, it sounds great. Secondly...what...did...he...do?! If you know Hip-Hop, you've heard James Brown's "Funky Drummer" sampled many a time and would recognise it backwards, but this is way past backward. A fantastic re-edit which should serve as a reminder that you should check for everything this man puts out. Now.

Fatal : Ghetto Star

I went to my record library to pull something by Fatal Hussein for this episode and on looking at the vinyl, realised that this was one of the first tracks I used to learn how to rock doubles; I'd found copies of the "In The Line Of Firesampler cheaply, they weren't warped, and even though I was on the least-suitable turntables you can imagine, I picked it up. Just a bit of personal history, but back to the track; it's got a very mournful feel, somehow feels like the one to play. Fatal and The Artifacts' Tame One, both New Jersey MCs, put the bravado in the lyrics but the vulnerability is in the hook, where you also get a nice little change-up in the beat from Reef. While best known for being a member of 2Pac's Outlawz, this track shows what Fatal could do following his own path. RIP.

Main Source : What You Need

Those drums are thumping nicely. K-Def takes the beat reins on this track for the second incarnation of Main Source after the departure of Large Professor, who was not only the sole MC but also the producer! This was the first and only single from the 1994 album "F*** What You Think". Mikey D took over the mic duties, and while he's no Extra P he does a solid job. Incidentally, if this track sounds strangely familiar to you even though you've never heard it, there's a good reason - Dave "Jam" Hall and Madonna sampled it heavily for the track "Human Nature" from the "Bedtime Stories" LP.

Omniscence : Touch Y'all

A bit of an obscure one here - a 1996 release (video caption is wrong, apparently) from this North Carolina MC had people warmed up for the release of the "The Raw Factor" LP...but it got shelved by the record company and that appeared to be the end of that. However, in November last year the entire LP emerged on Bandcamp as a digital release, and after a nineteen-year enforced hibernation I thought I really should pick up a copy :) Quality nineties underground flavour with the production being handled by Fanatic, hooking up a classic smooth soul sample that you'll have heard used on a past episode...start digging...

Pete Rock & Smif-N-Wessun ft. Tyler Woods : Monumental

Although I knew I liked this track, I'd somehow managed to overlook it for ages until it came up in shuffle recently! The title track from the collaborative album from these New York legends, this one swaggers along with those triumphant horns and makes its claim to be every bit as solid in its own way as "That's Hard", which got a lot more light when this was released.

Enes Suleman : Anomalia

A little independent interlude here, with this coming from a beat tape I found while browsing Bandcamp. Enes is an MC/producer/label head I believe is from Barcelona but now in Singapore; I thought this cut from his name-your-price "StreetSoul" release was just the thing to keep things going with quality while slightly dipping the energy before stepping up to...

The Mouse Outfit ft. Bam (Jungle Brothers) : What'd I Do?

*airhorn* Big new single - and a free single, if you'd like - from the Manchester crew who continue to make noise, whether it's live shows or an appearance in session on BBC 6 Music! The beat is ill as expected, and the special guest on the mic for the whole tune is Bam (aka Afrika Baby Bam) of the Jungle Brothers in solid form; in fact, I'd love to hear more from this combination...

Triple Threat ft. Zion I : Hit 'em Off

The last track I selected before recording, this was a real back-of-the-crate find! In the days when the turntablism resurgence was making itself felt in Hip-Hop, DJs Apollo and Shortkut (both of Invisibl Skratch Piklz) and Vin Roc of 5th Platoon came together to form Triple Threat, who are still going strong today. My understanding at the time was that the three threats alluded to were scratching, beat juggling, and mixing...but I wouldn't be surprised if I'd got that wrong! Anyway, they only recorded one actual album, 2003's "Many Styles", and so it's there we go to pull this energetic track featuring Zion I. The album is worth having just for the skits of different people pestering the DJs - fellow sufferers will be able to relate ;)

Slum Village ft. Samiyya : Tainted (Remix)

I failed to find this on YouTube, which means it might be a much rarer release than I thought it was! Absolute killer white label, with the beat mercilessly chopping James Brown's "The Big Payback" on a jerky, shoulder-working rhythm.

Children Of Zeus : Push Push On

The soulful Manchester duo of Konny Kon and Tyler Daley with another quality track; they're making a habit of it and need to get an album out so I can buy it! In the meantime, their Soundcloud is the place to go to check the catalogue. That drum line reminds me very much of an 80s soul hit (though I don't think it's a sample) and the electric piano and bass fit it just perfectly. Another victory!

[Rich 5] Bumpy Knuckles ft. Nas : Turn Up The Mic (Instrumental)

I'd never actually noticed the name Rich 5 before but he's definitely put in work for Boston MCs like Edo G and Krumb Snatcha, so he has a solid pedigree. Right here his skipping drums and trilling guitar make for a clean but not too clean beat on which you can find Bumpy and Nas trading verses on this 12" - worth having in my opinion! This track was remixed by DJ Premier on "The Kolexxxion" LP...but this is the one.

Ras Kass ft. Kendrick Lamar, ProVerb, and LaToyia Williams : Focus

I love the way this beat pushes along, it's almost got a bit of a Prince vibe in the drum and bass foundation! If you've got some sunshine where you are right now, this West Coast cut is a more fitting soundtrack than it is for Manchester at the mo. Either way, one of my favourites from the "Barmageddon 2.0" album, with Ras, Kendrick, and ProVerb (who I've actually not heard of before) doing the business over Focus' production, plus LaToyia on the hook. The album is worth having, digital-only I think but one I've given a solid number of listens!

Julius Papp ft. Lisa Shaw : Way Back (Extended Album Mix)

I checked out this track on the strength of Lisa Shaw's name - her phenomenally clear and controlled voice is one I absolutely love. As it turns out, the whole track had me moving, and when I did my research it turned out that Julius Papp is no neophyte producer, but a veteran who's been DJing for the last thirty years! Right here he shows how to give you what is essentially a four-to-the-floor beat but keep things interesting with the way the drum dynamics and percussion programming are done. That's not even getting into that lead/bass synth sound, or the warm pads running through the track. This 2010 EP has nine tracks, but this is the one right here.

Samantha James : Enchanted Life

I played a track from the "Rise" album fairly recently, I'd thought - until I checked back and found it was three years ago! With that kind of time gap, returning to this LP is more than justified, especially with a beautiful cut like this. Samantha's voice sounds like she could turn it to a number of genres (actually, she's done acoustic versions of some of her tracks, including "Rain" which is gorgeous), but this feels like home. Vikter Duplaix is on the production, putting a little samba flavour in the groove, and the mix and overall polish of the track is top notch. If you've got half an ear for this kind of stuff, pick up the album.

Chic : Good Times (A Touch Of Jazz Remix)

Now this is brave - "Good Times" is one of the canonical Hip-Hop breaks, with the original bassline being one of the most recognisable in history (think "Rappers' Delight") - and yet, here's a remix! DJ Jazzy Jeff's "A Touch Of Jazz" collective (in this case, him alongside Darren Henson & Keith Pelzer) take on the classic and change up pretty much everything save the vocals and the strings. At times it actually feels to me like the vocal is running just a sliver behind the beat, but it's not as though the original was recorded to a drum machine! Jeff adds some extra flavour with the cuts and Philly's Ivan Barias drops in with the short rap section. I got this on a 12" but it's more easily available on the 2002 "Ultimate Chic" compilation.

[Just Blaze] Joe Budden : Pump It Up (Instrumental)

Some real heat here, with the Kool & The Gang "Soul Vibrations" sample being the basis for this big 2003 single. I used to do a little beat juggling with this one, so did some to lead this track in. The vinyls are so nice, I didn't even bother backing it up into Serato!

A Tribe Called Quest ft. Leaders Of The New School and Kid Hood : Scenario (Remix)

Didn't want to waste the opportunity to link this track with the Just Blaze beat it  inspired! One of the truly great Hip-Hop remixes, this should really just be called a re-record since both the lyrics and the beat are completely different from the original "The Low End Theory" track. The complete lineups of Tribe and LONS take the mic, alongside the opener, an MC called Kid Hood who was killed just two days after recording this verse (hence being referred to in the intro as being "in spiritual essence). I believe this is his only recorded material -  a fierce verse  to be remembered by.


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_74.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 6:03pm EDT

"Confederate flags I burn..."

- Nas

Somehow, someway, we've reached the sixth birthday of the show! To celebrate, I'm bringing out a few favourites that I kept saving for "just the right time", and blending them with some other gems from the crates. Goodness knows, after the horrors of this past month, I think we need it...


Playlist/Notes

Little Brother ft. Joe Scudda : Lovin' It / Diary Of A Mad Black Daddy

The lead single from "The Minstrel Show", the second LB album, this is the one with the video that BET infamously allegedly claimed was "too intelligent" for their viewership - quite the insult. Great tune regardless, and I felt like I just had to let it play off the end into the skit that follows it on the album, as it always makes me laugh :)

Kuartz : Runna

One of the most prolific beatmakers about came back with another project in the last month - the "40 Fatal Beats" cassette, which he kindly sent in for me to have a listen to. There were a good few tracks I'd happily have played, but settled on this one, with its beautifully laid-back air - had to loop it up a bit to give you chance to hear it and still leave room for me to speak, but on the tape this is one of forty short and sweet gems. Keep an eye on this man!

SPOX PhD ft. Apani B.Fly : Actual Fact

That. Beat. Eagle-eared (or maybe moth-eared?) listeners will recognise it from aaalll the way back on Episode 3, where it was a b-side DJ Spinna instrumental called "Spirit of '94", and it's a killer. Wisely, it got brought back to life as the beat for this wicked track from the collaboration project between Spinna and Oxygen, and once again it's a b-side - this time, on the "Chicken Scratch" 7". Apani B.Fly drops in to add some hook flavour and put this track even further over the top. Bottom line - you need this record.

Kool G Rap : Blowin' Up In The World

This one always makes me reminisce. First heard it courtesy of DJ Greenpeace, who included it on a mixtape he gave me while I was still in high school! Kool G Rap is in biographical mode on the mic on this album cut from his first solo release "4, 5, 6", showing why he's very much the MC's MC. When you've got lyrics like this you need a beat that can stand proud alongside, and DITC's Buckwild certainly delivers; as an aside, I can't believe that I've only just realised what the sample is - it sounds so mournful somehow.

O.C. ft. Yvette Michelle : Far From Yours

You know what? Buckwild again! This time, he takes a piece from what would then have been a relatively recent track and is just subtle with it, looping it just right, adding some steady drums and beefing up the bass. This was the lead single from O.C.'s second LP "Jewelz" - now well-regarded, but very underrated when it was released!

B-1 : Hustle

I think it'd be accurate to describe this as a very obscure release, and also to say that it's a shame! B-1 has recorded with big names from Kool G Rap to Large Pro, but for whatever reason never quite broke out there. According to Discogs he was one of the first artists signed to Rawkus, which really does speak to his underground credentials. Getting back to this track, it was the b-side to the UK-only release of the "Put Yo' Self In My Place" 12", and it's just an unapologetic street record. Production is credited to Kool G, who it turns out is fellow Queens native Ayatollah, producer of many great records including Mos Def's "Ms. Fat Booty", and there's nothing about this beat I don't like. The bugged thing is that I can barely describe it, it's just dope! There are a couple of interesting details to point out though - check those little low-frequency drum rolls, and the fact that there's no hook at all - not a word, not a scratch! 

Pete Rock : Cosmic Slop

Love this beat, nice work from one of the best ever to touch a drum machine. Fourteen years after the release of his "Petestrumentals" album as part of the Beat Generation producer series, "Petestrumentals 2" is here and this was the first cut I heard. Like the first album, I think this one is going to take time to really marinate and get into people's consciousness - I know it's going to be getting a bunch of listens from me while I'm at work.

Pumpkinhead : Rock On

Just wanted to play something from the underground stalwart who passed away unexpectedly this month. I had the chance to see him live many moons ago at C'mon Feet, and heard bits of his work as part of Brooklyn Academy - he was just a man devoted to his art. This track is a tribute to that devotion, a career rundown which I feel couldn't be more appropriate right now. Find this on 12" or on the respected "Orange Moon Over Brooklyn" LP.

OutKast : Two Dope Boys In A Cadillac

Great track from "ATLiens" - Organised Noize killing the beat for real. No deep background on this, just a recommendation that you must have this album in your collection!

The Coup : Cars & Shoes

Shout out to anyone who's on first name terms with their garage! Funky as hell and funny into the bargain, this is a great cut from one of the most conscious - and still entertaining - crews in the artform. The broken-down car anecdotes are hilarious on the face, but the track subtly makes a serious point - if you're poor, sometimes you end up having to take the long-term cost-ineffective choice in order to survive in the now. Just one of the great tracks from "Steal This Album" which you should...buy.

DJ Jimmie Jam : Jimmie's Jam

Representing Richmond (California), DJ Jimmie Jam gets busy on the wheels for his contribution to the second in the "Return Of The DJ" compilations from Bomb Hip-Hop Records. I picked up this album right when it was released back in 1997, when the turntablist movement was really picking up some steam, and the first ROTDJ record did play a part in that in my opinion. It had been years since DJs in rap groups got tracks to themselves to shine, so getting a whole album of that material was huge. So many sounds in this one, anyone who listens to a reasonable amount of Hip-Hop will recognise a few of the pieces Jam cuts up :)

[Solid Scheme] Das EFX : Straight Out The Sewer (Instrumental)

Heavy beat, instrumental of the closing track of Das' essential 90s debut, "Dead Serious". The duo of Derek Lynch and Chris Charity produced the bulk of the album plus several tracks on the follow up; sadly, Chris Charity has left us but he did leave us with work to remember him by.

Domino : Jam

Not to be confused with "Getto Jam", the big single from the same album, 1993's eponymous debut! While that was a favourite for many, this cut was also one of my top picks and I've always enjoyed it - proper Cali P-Funk workout on a party vibe. DJ Battlecat is on the beat, and if you like synth bass runs, you're in luck here! Random note for the b-ball fans - a custom remix of this under-played track made it onto one of the "NBA Superstars" VHS tapes, used as the musical backdrop for Alonzo Mourning's highlights. Big up Long Beach!

Guru ft. The Roots : Lift Your Fist

Didn't give this one the correct credit on the voiceover - it's not just Black Thought, but the whole group featuring! "Guru's Jazzmatazz, Vol. 3 : Streetsoul" brought some different flavour to the series of collaborative albums, and I think this was one of the more inspired choices. Black Thought is a fearsome MC to go head-to-head with but it works, and the rest of The Roots get busy on the instrumental side. Definitely an album worth checking.

Visoneers ft. Voice : Replay (Terry Tester Remix)

This was one of those late picks I made while scouring the shelves, but I think it fit well here and made a solid bridge. I'd never heard of Voice before hearing this track, but that's probably due to the fact that she's only got the one solo album, and a handful of 12"s, but she was clearly visible enough for 4hero's Marc Mac to pull her in for this track, which she handles solidly. Copenhagen's Terry Tester is on remix duties, ably blending digital sounds with more natural-sounding instruments. This is one the "Dirty Old Remix EP", available pretty cheaply on vinyl if you see it around, or with a bunch more tracks as a digital release!

India.Arie ft. Akon : I Am Not My Hair (Konvict Remix)

Love the message as well as the music on this one, talking primarily about the judgement of women based on appearance, although Akon throws in a little on a different angle. I picked this up on 12" and of all the versions, this in my opinion clearly had the most fitting instrumentation, so that was what got it the nod over the others. The lyrics seem to me like they might especially resonate with Black women, who are very often judged by their hair in a very specific way, but the last verse is a specific reference to Melissa Etheridge, who performed at the 2005 Grammy Awards while bald due to the chemotherapy she was undertaking to beat breast cancer. Powerful tune - find the original on "Testimony: Vol.1, Life & Relationship".

Dela : West Side Story

Looping and then warping a track from one of my favourite groups of all-time, Dela gets his galactic funk on on this pick from his "Translation Lost" project.

Nas : Doo Rags

Such a classic, if not as well known as it ought to be - an inclusion on Nas' "The Lost Tapes" compilation, this clearly slid through the cracks when first recorded. An ode to the African-American experience from his own perspective, Nas is just masterful on this, jumping around from his own youth, to the cynical recruitment of Black men into the military before they even had full human rights at home, to self-image, to upliftment - and a lot more besides. This Precision-produced track absolutely deserved your full attention, and it's one reason I've saved it; it needed to play in full and close an 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_73.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 5:00pm EDT

Tropic T'unda

"It's all for you."

- Ronnie Laws

A good amount of this month's listening for me has been a mix of 80s stuff on a Miami Vice vibe and 80s soul, along with all my Hip-Hop, so that's the kind of flavour I've tried to bring to this episode, coming at it from a variety of angles. I'm really into this selection and I hope you feel the same!

Thanks to everyone who has left 5* reviews for the show on iTunes - I've given you a shout out on the show! It only takes a minute to leave a review but really helps the show, which did make it into "New & Noteworthy" on the UK store this month!

Dedicating this one to my man Juma, who passed away at the start of the month. He will never be forgotten.


Playlist/Notes

Camp Lo : Bright Lights

One of the first singles from the brand new Lo LP "Ragtime Hightimes," which features Ski on production for the whole album for the first time since their debut "Uptown Saturday Night." Sounds like Ski broke out the live guitar, to name just one element - the stuttering keyboards, the snare hit every couple of bars with the panned delay on it, a little electric piano...it all comes together into a gleaming final product. With the rhymes...Sonny Cheeba & Geechi Suede are doing what they always do, which is why I love it and as good a reason as any to give this record the opening spot for the month.

K-Murdock : Star Stories

Whether you know him for his solo projects, his production for Mega Ran, or his work as part of Panacea, you know K-Murdock is always going to do something interesting on the beats. This was a beautiful little track from his "Soundscapes, Vol.1" album, the first in a series that will be making previously-unreleased Panacea instrumentals available for the first time! The main sample in this is also present in a classic mid-90s unreleased single...nice to hear it again.

Ras Kass : Miami Life

Going back to Ras' debut "Soul On Ice" to lead off the first four-song mix of the show, and he's an MC that's always going to give you the business on the mic - this time out it's the street hustle, with Crockett & Tubbs references and all. A lot of people fronted on the production on this album but I think it's much better than often claimed - this particular track is a collaboration between Ras Kass & Michael Barber, and it's a winner.

Above The Law : Extasy

That spelling just kills me. I can never find the track when I need to look it up. Anyway, this quasi X-rated selection from the "Sex, Money, & Music" album makes it on for two main reasons. Firstly, the sonics; there's just something about Cold 187's production here that makes you just want to rock back and groove to it, most of that comes from the interplay between the high and low parts of the synth work. The drums are slightly unusual, check the handclap on the two of each bar but then having snare only on the four - only picked up on that after a bunch of listens. Second reason is the voice of KMG (RIP) on this cut - he just sounds so good, regardless of what he's saying! This digital-only album may not have been their finest, but it was their final release before KMG passed.

Compton's Most Wanted : It's A Compton Thang

The obvious move to play a track with this sample would be to go with AZ's "Sugar Hill," so of course I didn't do it :) Instead, we go with the title track from the very first CMW album, released all the way back in 1990. MC Eiht had settled into his voice even then, but you can hear that his flow wasn't as developed as it would become later; also, this track is *almost* completely radio friendly! On the beats, DJ Slip and Unknown load up all the 80s samples for this one - not going to expose any of them though ;)

Zion I ft. Goapele : Boom Bip

Many moons ago, when I might at times acquire the odd record before release via unofficial digital channels, I knew this as a track from the "Deep Water Slang" LP labelled as "We Staying" - which certainly fit the chorus. A while later, I picked up a Zion I 12" which included a track called "Boom Bip" which turned out to be this...but with a Goapele-less hook. It was not an upgrade. Thankfully, the official album version on "Deep Water Slang v2.0" has all the flavour of the original but with the new (?) name. Amp Live's beats really don't sound like anyone else's, and he's versatile with the styles - liable to be wildly different from track to track, and he's a master of working the synth sounds into something with the right amount of bump and thump. On the lyrics, MC Zion isn't going to hit you with the slick one-liners or the mixtape punchlines, but thoughtful lyrics and a willingness to rock over pretty much any type of beat. Zion I records are always an interesting listen, and if you've not heard this album then it is very much worth buying!

Jasper Byrne : Miami

As I mentioned in last month's notes, I've actually been playing a few video games lately and recently picked up "Hotline Miami." After my first game ended, I heard this tune playing and after my brain melted a little bit, searched Google to find out if I could buy it anywhere! For a kid raised in the 80s and into the synth styles, this simple/subtle track is incredible. Unmistakeably video-game music (in the best way), somewhere between Out Run and Miami Vice, with that crime thriller feel...dope. Nice low-end to it too. Jasper Byrne is a D&B producer by trade, working under several aliases, but he switched his style impeccably here. Find this one and more on the Hotline Miami EP.

Natural Elements : Paper Chase

From one of the original 12 inch releases from this fierce crew of NYC mic-melters, NE exemplify the adage "B-Side Wins Again" here on the flip of "Bust Mine". Mr.Voodoo conjours up a few "Scarface"-esque visions on the first verse, with the song overall talking about trying to come up after spending years paying dues. Charlemagne does a great job on production though, slowing and chopping an 80s sample to haunting effect.

Kidz In The Hall : Make It Last

Got a little fancy with the mix on this one - looped up a section from the end to use as an extended intro (as there was no open instrumental area on the preceding track) and then used it again to fade out of the vocals during the second verse. Truth be told, I thought the end of that verse got kind of slack and seeing as I'd always created a way to mix out...apart from that though, I think this track is heavy - can't go wrong with that Keith Sweat sample. Check the "Geniuses Need Love Too" mixtape, where these Chicago boys do their thing over a selection of dope beats mostly constructed from 80s/early 90s tracks. 

T Gaston : Anita Baker Remix

Found this one on SoundCloud and have been caning it with plays all month - great instrumental cut from this NY producer, who you should definitely check out if you want some work doing! He's got the sample stuttering crazy and some seriously tight drum programming here - a little gem.

Reks : Winners & Survivors

Out of Lawrence, Massachussetts (same hometown as Termanology), Reks has quietly fashioned an eight-album career to date, and this is from his seventh release "Revolution Cocktail." Befitting an industry veteran, the topic of the day is trying to stay afloat and relevant in the music industry. Seattle's DeliBeatz supplies the production, which with its particular flavour is what made it an inclusion for this episode!

Onra : Hold Tight

Onra has been on the 80s sampling tip for a while, reanimating some of those old slow jams into modern instrumental(-ish) bangers. The swing/timekeeping on this one flips all over the place, which you can hear in some of the drum rolls. This version is on the 2012 "Deep In The Night" EP, but apparently there was an unreleased version with rhymes from Chuck Inglish of The Cool Kids - available free!

Tony Bullard : Don't Hurt Me, Jan Hammer!

There's no shame in not knowing this one - found it during an internet scouring mission! Tony Bullard is a musician and developer out of Atlanta who, on discovering that there was a whole underground niche of people doing retro synth music, threw his hat into the ring with this cut which could easily have fit into the world of Crockett & Tubbs. The track name reflects this, while also being a little nod to MC Hammer, I assume! Most of his Soundcloud is on more of a metal vibe, so this was a bit of a departure - but a welcome one.

MF DOOM : The Finest

I know many people who are much more into DOOM than me, but I loved his post-KMD debut album "Operation: Doomsday" - just sounded like someone lashing together beats in their bedroom and then rhyming on an old beat-up mic, proper underground tape style. Onto a cassette. One that had previously been used. A lot. This track is probably still my favourite; I don't think it's any secret at this point that DOOM took "The Finest" by the SOS Band. He correctly worked out it didn't need much doing to it, and just jumped on the mic alongside Tommy Gunn to just go back and forth in 100% raw style. Fire.

Loose Ends : Hanging On A String

Now this is an 80s classic. It might surprise some of the younger ones of you out there to know that UK soul was actually popular and influential in the US, and London's Loose Ends were one of those groups who definitely got love out there. This is a big tune from their second album ("So Where Are You?") which reached the top of the US R&B chart and went into the UK top 20 as well. As it happens, the drum programming on this track is a pretty straight borrow from the SOS Band, but a lot of the rest is done by group member Carl McIntosh on multiple instruments - check his interview at RBMA!

DJ Quik : Tonite

I first heard this on Pete Tong's Rap Selection (here's a different episode) on Radio 1 back in 1991, when it was the brand-new second single from Quik's debut LP "Quik Is The Name". It seems in retrospect that non only did he have to censor it (in the pre-digital editing age) for language, but also for content - with the curses and the drug references cut round, it was a bit of a bizarre listen! It was years later that I finally heard the whole thing, and it makes a lot more sense. That said, I can't personally relate to the story of drinking too much, but I know quite a few of you can :) The production was top-notch too, with Quik working in Kleeer's "Tonight" and a few other bits alongside some extra keyboard and guitar work. I was actually planning to mix out during that great breakdown after the second verse, but keeping the third verse for the humour won the day!

Ronnie Laws : All For You

Taking things in a jazz fusion direction with the opening track from the 1978 "Flame" LP, well worth picking up if you see a copy; this is from the vinyl but I hear the CD availability has been pretty wavy over the years. I've heard pure jazz fans front on Ronnie Laws a little, but I always pick up his stuff when I see it on a digging mission. "Tidal Wave" basically gives him a lifetime pass to my record collection.

Jan Hammer : Too Much To Lose

The don, the composer and performer of all those great Miami Vice tunes! Great instrumental track, a cover version of one of his older tunes from the "Melodies" album which originally featured vocals and Jan getting busy on the Minimoog. This version, I heard somewhere, is an outing on the now-vintage (and always incredibly expensive) Fairlight sampling synth where he handles all the playing himself. This one from "Snapshots" fit best here, but you can't go wrong with either.

Stezo : It's My Turn

"I'm putting dancers to the maximum test." Damn right! Stezo came out of New Haven, CT back in 1989 with his debut release on Sleeping Bag Records and once again, when it came to the lead single...that B-Side kills it. "To The Max" is dope no question, but this track on the flip is a monster - at least two classic 80s samples which a lot of heads will recognise, and one of the illest drum breaks of all time. Only one complaint; "anthenem" is not a word ;) That said, if Dickens can make up words, I'm giving my man here a pass :)


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_72.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 12:15pm EDT

me.

"The rejected stone is now the cornerstone..."

- Guru

Besides putting the sounds and notes together this month, there's been one extra task for the podcast happening in the background that's paid off - it's finally in the iTunes Store! For those of you on iPhones or with iTunes installed on your computer, it's now super-simple to subscribe, just search for the show and press the button.

What anyone with iTunes can do - subscriber or not - that would really help is to leave a review (with a five-star rating). Write a five-star reviewtweet/mail me when it's up and tell me which country you're from, and I'll give you a shout-out on the show!

Some good current affairs/political podcasts, as promised;

Citizen Radio, Radio Dispatch, The Black Guy Who Tips (lot of great jokes in this one, but knowledge too), Democracy NowNWAP


Playlist/Notes

Gang Starr : You Know My Steez

A classic Gang Starr cut, a solid opening shot from the "Moment of Truth" album which was also the first single - so with the intention of paying respect to Guru this episode, it was a good choice to start with here. While the samples used for this track are widely known to beatmakers and detail junkies, I don't know if they were ever cleared, so I won't reveal them; I'll just say that DJ Premier cooked up a great blend of old-school Hip-Hop and classic soul, topped with his then-emerging use of the multi-phrase scratched hooks. Do the knowledge.

[DJ ALK] Underclassmen : 365 Live

Switzerland represent! I needed something with a little weight in the drums and some guitar licks to transition from the previous track, so after a good deal of scouring the shelves I came up with this one. This 12" has been featured before (the B-side "Crush Competition" all the way back on Episode 18), so just the instrumental today!

MindsOne & Kev Brown : Equinox

Can't remember how I came to find this one on Soundcloud but I had bought the whole "Pillars" EP before even getting through a single listen of this track! MindsOne are a group hailing from North Carolina, New York, and DC, and on this one Landover's Kev Brown comes in to give them some of that MPC magic on production, chopping up some nice piano and knocking drums. KON Sci and Tronic on the mic represent very well for their crew, and overall this is a project well worth checking for.

The Last Poets, dead prez, and Common : Panthers (Tony Galvin Remix)

The degree to which the police are out of control makes me think we need the Black Panthers back right now. As it happens, I only chanced on this track this month, and it seemed like an appropriate one to play. I picked it up on a 12" and this is one of the remixes but I believe it's also on a mixtape for "The Boondocks" too. It feels a little like the vocal and beat don't quite mesh, but I like the Tony Galvin (no, not the footballer) instrumental, and the lyrics are on-topic, unlike one tune I know! There seems to be one error though - Common keeps talking about the "five point plans" but the Panthers were known for their Ten Points - is there something I'm missing?

Royce The 5'9" : Ding

The obvious Royce & Premo track to play would have been "Boom," or something from the "PRhyme" album, but you know I like to be a little different. The B-side to the mighty "Hit 'Em" as well as a cut from "The Bar Exam" mixtape, this has a much less abrasive and more reflective sound, and with Royce bringing some boxing references in to describe himself, it serves as a nice warm-up for the middle section of the show...

All City : Just Live

The closer from All City's patchy (if we're being real) sole album, "Metropolis Gold," and it's a good one. Latif King is on the beat with a super-smooth jazz sample accented with some in-the-cut drums and nice work on the keys - check the little bridge starting at 18:14! Lyrics are solid, and Greg Valentine does double duty, taking half of the rhyming and singing the hook too. I can't quite decide if he's hitting the notes in the hook right or not, but I enjoy it enough anyway :)

Dela : My Ni@#a [Instrumental]

Back to the "Changes Of Atmosphere" EP after a long time on the shelf, picked out the instrumental version of this Elzhi-featured track, just because I felt it deserved an airing!

Fashawn : Manny Pacquiao

First track this episode getting the nod due to the big fight coming up, and it's all in the name! Fresno native Fashawn is in full battle mode on this cut from the "Higher Learning 2" mixtape. Andy Peek put me up on this track, and the producer Phonix does a great job with a Queen track that I don't even like that much (note: Queen do have some tunes)! Apologies for the slight sonic distortion, but it's part of the original recording - needed a little lighter hand on the mix/master. On the vocals, intro could have been better in my opinion but once Fashawn gets going...

stic.man ft. Zayd Malik and Baba Jim : Joe Louis

Keeping the pugilistic theme going as well as the rock-influenced, abrasive sonics, we head to stic's innovative "The Workout" album for this self-produced track that all the boxing trainers should appreciate. "Speedbag sounds like I'm programming drums"? Yes, I am fully on-board with this tune. 

Raekwon : 100 Rounds

From the much maligned, and dare I say it, underrated "Immobilarity" album, we get a track representing Floyd Mayweather, who as a much younger man appears in the video (with a cameo from Zab Judah). Of course, the album was no "...Cuban Linx..." (which is why it was so savaged) but there are a surprising number of decent tracks on it, and we'll definitely be revisiting it in future. Triflyn of American Cream Team is on the synth production, kind of glossy but that high end is what you remember and it's got just enough in the bottom to keep it rooted. Good track for heavy bag sessions, I find!

Jadakiss : The Champ Is Here

Title track from Jada's "The Champ Is Here" mixtape. No feature credit for Will Smith? ;) The voice sample for the hook, along with the little African drum flourish is taken from the "Ali" biopic - at the point where Ali (as played by Smith) comes in to disrupt George Foreman's training session before the "Rumble In The Jungle." Great grab by Green Lantern.

[Timbaland] Clipse : Re-Up Anthem (Instrumental)

Kind of a third-choice beat here! I originally wanted to go with the instrumental for "Grindin'," which I thought would mix well with the Jadakiss track, but I found I didn't have a copy and couldn't get a legit one in time to finish the episode. Had a browse in Vinyl Exchange and this 12" turned up - at first I thought I'd found a vinyl of "Re-Up Intro" but no, just a similar name!

P Lo : Let's Go

Had utterly forgotten about this one until I was at home having a big Justus League shuffle binge this month! I don't know if P Lo ever did much outside these early 2000s JL mixtapes (this was from "Just Us, Volume 5), and can't find any info on him out there. With that said, it's this beat (probably 9th Wonder) that gets this track included this month - I love the sample as well as how it gets pitched down every four bars, and I feel like it's an obvious one but I can't place it for the life of me. Could have mixed out of this right before the last hook but the switch-up where the whole track slows down presented an opportunity for a change of pace...

DJ Spinna ft. J-Treds & Breez Brewin' : Making Your Way In The World

Spinna's "Sonic Smash" album definitely didn't get the light it deserved; I at least used to be able to point people to it on Spotify but when it even went from there, a lot of people totally missed it. Anyway, this is one of the many dope tracks. If you followed late 90s-early 2000s underground stuff, you might recognise the MCs - nice to hear them still active. They get a gem of a beat from Spinna, with a lazy neck-snapper of a drum beat, an Asian-sounding string sample, and if you listen carefully you'll hear some of his trademark squelchy synth sounds in the midrange. If you see the album, it's worth picking up! 

Camp Lo : Diamond Crookz

I've been playing a lot of "Payday 2," (add me if you want to link up) and combined with a recent incident down in London...this track popped into my head! Camp Lo have had that jewel-heisting motif since the first LP, and the "Stone and Rob : Caught On Tape" release kept it going. Standardly-dope Lo lyrical fare, though probably not quite as impenetrably slang heavy as some of their other cuts, with Smoking Apples on production adding the boom to a slice of Faith Evans' "Reasons." Top down music.

Children Of Zeus : Happiness

Great tune coming from Manchester, the duo of Konny Kon and Tyler Daly bringing their trademark mix of Hip-Hop and soul in a much more genuine way than many who try to do the same. The album isn't out yet, but you can find this track on their Soundcloud page, along with plenty more good stuff.

T-Mos : Famoso

Low-key beat from The Beat Tape Project's "Return of the Tec: The Beatnuts Beat Tape," where each producer takes inspiration from The Beatnuts. To my ears, this one doesn't wear too obvious an influence, but it stands proudly on its own.

Scorzayzee : Great Britain

"Could've spent the war money on homes, food, and water." Yes. One to think about with our General Election coming up in less than two weeks, and Trident being debated...

The show closes with this powerful track which I only heard for the first time in the last few months (live, which was amazing), but which actually came out more than ten years ago, right after the last Iraq War was started. Scorzayzee is one of the most respected MCs in the country, and could never, ever be said to be watering things down for mainstream appeal! Right here, he lays down a verbal scourging on the corruption he sees in the nation, relentless from end to end. Apparently, it wasn't going to be released at first, but the P Brothers included it on a compilation and built up buzz from there. This song kicked up a serious fuss after it was played on BBC Radio, and there were some people who were even saying it should be banned. I don't expect anyone to agree 100% with what anyone says (and I wouldn't be surprised if some nerves are touched with this selection), but I think it's important for artists to push boundaries, and Scor certainly shook things up with this one.


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_71.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

Waterscape

"Tourbillon don, in sync with the sun and moon."

- Agu

I thought I'd try to touch on just a few events of the month in this episode's selection. We go from some underground legends making their return after a long absence, through classic crate material to a young artist making his mark on the modern scene in a big way, and finish up with something for International Women's Day. Along the way, we mark the anniversary of the passing of Biggie Smalls, as always in March. Enjoy the show!


Playlist/Notes

Natural Elements : All Hail NE

They're baaaack! My goodness, I was so happy to hear that these devastating MCs had returned after a long period out of the spotlight, and sometimes working on other projects. "The NEp" was an instant purchase decision... Looking forward to more material from the newly-reformed crew, and they deserve everyone's support. I believe this was the first track released from the EP, and it's been on heavy, heavy rewind all month. Anthony Cruz (p.k.a. A-Butta), Swigga (p.k.a. L-Swift), and Agu (p.k.a. Mr.Voodoo) work their trademark "three-man weave" technique through the track, bouncing ridiculous lines off each other rather than the usual approach of giving everyone a solo verse each, and it generates an energy that just can't be achieved any other way. The beat is ill too, Scram Jones getting busy on the board but not upstaging the rhymes - a great complement. Loving this track. A lot of MCs might brag about their flashy watches, but who else could casually liken themselves to a very specific, highly technical component from the world of hand-made timepieces?

[Nashiem Myrick] The Notorious B.I.G. : Who Shot Ya? (Instrumental)

Originally this beat was a "blink and you'll miss it" interlude on Mary J. Blige's "My Life" album, with Keith Murray rapping on it; but then it found its way to Biggie and became what it needed to be. One of the classic instrumentals, still amazed by how they got such a hard track from such gentle source material...

Mobb Deep ft. Tragedy Khadafi : First Day Of Spring

I have to admit - it took me a little while to really appreciate Mobb Deep. Remember, a lot of acknowledged classic Hip-Hop isn't retro or what some call "old school" to me - I'm not that old, but if it came out in 1989 or later... Anyway, when "The Infamous" album was the only Mobb release out there for most of us, I was actually a bit lukewarm on it at first. What really flicked the switch for me was when someone passed me a copy of DJ Mister Cee's "Best Of Mobb Deep" mixtape - it was crammed full of remixes, features, and unreleased cuts, and when mixed in with the already-released tracks, I understood. This track in particular I managed to get on "Pre-Hell" - a compilation of unreleased Mobb that didn't make the "Hell On Earth" LP, and very unusually, Prodigy isn't on it! Havoc takes the second verse, but cedes the opener to fellow Queensbridge alum Tragedy, and it's just straight-up street business. It's listed as being produced by Mobb Deep, so I'd guess Havoc's hand is on this pretty heavy. Bad sound quality on this pressing, but I hope you like it anyway!

DJ Adam 12 ft. Erule and Ed O.G. : Lessons (Remix)

Dug up this track from DJ Adam 12's "World Wide Originals" EP, which I've featured on the show once before. The Mike Caren beat is nice, Boston's Ed O.G. is on point as always, but Erule steals the show for me. Just rhymes after rhymes after rhymes, it's a huge shame he never blew up the way he deserved to. If you want another example, wind back to the episode featuring his track "Worldwide"; absolutely nuts.

A Tribe Called Quest ft. Consequence : What Really Goes On

A more appropriate hook is rarely heard, because this track bumps for real! Definitely one of the top picks from the "Beats, Rhymes, and Life" album, and one that I think bridged the gap nicely between what they were doing on "Midnight Marauders" and the production style brought by The Ummah.

The Isley Brothers : You Still Feel The Need

Some serious funk for your ears right here - there's just something about those Ohio groups! I don't think my parents had much/any Isley Brothers vinyl in the house, and I actually first knew of this song via the Ronnie Laws jazz cover on his "Harvest For The World" album. Went back to hear the original and knew I was going to have to include it on the show one month! The closing track on the Isley's original "Harvest For The World" LP, this is a classic tale of pulling heartstrings wrapped between some funky guitar sheets. See what I did there? ;) 

Kuartz : Tammi Thai

Manchester/Oldham-based Kuartz came out this month with a new beat tape on Brainfood records, and I mean that literally - he actually came through with a real cassette, which was a nice surprise for someone like me who still keeps a working tape machine handy. Luckily, there's a digital download code for everyone else too :) Anyway, this particular beat was done a while back but he gave it the nod for inclusion on the latest release. He takes "All I Do Is Think About You" by Tammi Terrell (which he says he found pretty easily and for a good price) and dices it up under a nice staccato drumline. This is a very limited release, but if you want a copy - or want to buy a beat for your project - get in touch with the man himself!

DJ Jean Maron & M-Dot ft. Punchline & Keith Murray : Beautiful Thir[13]teen (Remix)

I totally can't remember how I found this one - probably while looking for some Keith Murray tracks for digital purchase. Had a quick listen and the calm, steady production from French producer DJ Jean Maron sounded good to me so I thought I'd grab a copy for this month's show. I'm usually a Keith Murray fan but I have to say Punchline and M-Dot carried the day on this one, with some top verses!

Phat Kat ft. Dwele : Rainy Days

The other end of the mood spectrum from the previous track, but still with a beautiful instrumental courtesy of Jake One - a rare call outside of the incredibly talented Detroit production community, but an excellent one. From the "Undeniable" album (and EP), Phat Kat pours his heart out over the loss of loved ones. I chose this just for the sound and then after recording realised how it might resonate given this month's news...

Grand Agent ft. Declaime & Li'l Dap : The Right Way (Remix)

Nice little track I've had on deck for inclusion for a long while now - it just fits really well into a mixtape format. The well-travelled Agent gets busy on this alongside a few MCs, but I just love Dap's verse - his voice is just so dope when he rhymes! You can find this on the "Fish Outta Water : The Remixes" album, in collaboration with Beat Society who let a whole load of producers loose to do their thing. This track in particular is handled by Street Orchestra who have all kinds of horns and things filling out the sound, making the tune all-round solid.

The Notorious B.I.G. : Juicy (Remix)

The first of the two definitive Biggie "come up" tracks, both of which make it onto this episode. While this is labelled a remix, it actually has a more interesting history than meets the ear. A Pete Rock composition which Puffy happened to hear on a visit to The Basement ended up..."inspiring" the beat that ended up on the "Ready To Die" LP. The main change was the removal of Pete's hard drums in favour of the softer, 80s R&B drum sound, but the use of the main Mtume "Juicy Fruit" sample was otherwise identical. Pete Rock was eventually brought in to do this remix, which if I understand correctly is pretty much what the track was supposed to be in the first place!

[Mr Pink] Mr.Pink & Mr.Blonde of Hijack : Jamaica Crimewave (Instrumental)

Deep into the post-"Horns Of Jericho" era, Hijack may not have had their original lineup but there was still some music coming out and this was a highlight for me. The vocal version of this cut is ill but it is brutal; it goes in on British prison and street life with the air of those who know that of which they speak. The instrumental has been stripped down even more than the original cut, which is a shame; if you do check the original though, you'll find it's not complex, but highly effective - when you combine it with the lyrics, that balance is just right. This is a 12" I think is well worth having in your collection.

Kendrick Lamar ft. James Fauntleroy and Ronald Isley : How Much A Dollar Cost

It's just too early to say if Kendrick's surprise release ("To Pimp A Butterfly") this month is a classic record, but I think it can be agreed that it is definitely an important record. An absolutely recommended purchase, it sounds like nothing else that's out right now and is pretty overwhelming in terms of density and scope, as well as being a very clearly Black album and centres on his perspective of the Black experience. I would say to have a listen, but have a few and then you may begin to digest it all. It's not an album that lends itself to picking and choosing but nonetheless I wanted to feature one track and went with this; a tale of Kendrick coming across a homeless beggar which has strong parallels to one particular Bible passage. Great storytelling and rhyme skills, and the production is right there with him - so many people involved in the project overall, it's worth me pointing you to this article to give them their due. I hope some of the younger generation of rappers and producers listen to this album and take it as a cue to step their respective games up!

The Mouse Outfit : Saga

At last, the second album from The Mouse Outfit ("Step Steadier") has been released and it's another excellent one. This track is the closer, probably not one that would be a single release but that bassline and accompanying piano tickles my brain just right! The Mouse Outfit are knocking out top-line production with amazing regularity and have just the MCs on hand to complement it; Sparkz and Dubbul O bless the mic on this one. Definitely a crew and a release worthy of your support!

Black Moon : This Goes Out To You

Why is this here this month? Well, it's from the "Total Eclipse" album ;) Ok, we only had about a 90% eclipse in Manchester, but still... Anyway - this album is nowhere near as well known as it should be, it's definitely one to pick up as there are some top tracks on it. We'll definitely be revisiting this one. Coptic is on the production for this particular track, and Buckshot reflects on the struggles the group went through to build a record label and a career. Low-key dopeness.

The Notorious B.I.G. ft. 112 : Sky's The Limit

The second "come up" anthem, this time from the posthumously released "Life After Death" LP. Very smoothed out, with DJ Clark Kent on production with a Bobby Caldwell sample, really not doing much to it but arguably not needing to! 

Kardinal Offishall : U R Ghetto When... (Instrumental)

T Dot in the house! Nice bit of self-production on this smooth track, which I think did make a little underground noise at the time as the second A-side track on the "Mic T.H.U.G.S" 12", back in 2000.

Katch 22 ft. Malaika B : Enigma

This is one of those that I've always had on my various MP3 players, always loved...and most people probably don't know at all! One of the great UK Hip-Hop crews of the early 90s, "Dark Tales From Two Cities" was an ambitious double album showing how far their range stretched, and I remember at the time a lot of people were not ready for this track. The poet Malaika B takes the lead on this spoken word piece and illustrates one face of the UK Black female experience in fine style, clear as a bell, with an instrumental reminiscent of the classic 80s UK soul style. Of course, International Women's Day is every year, but I thought I'd play something to mark it on this episode and felt like this was a worthy choice.


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_70.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 5:00pm EDT

Way Past 11

"...do yo' city love you?"

- Mr. Wrong

My goodness, getting this one out on time was tough! I think it's a good one though, and I do like the shot I put together for the cover art too :) As always in February, we celebrate the lives of J Dilla, Big Pun, and Big L - all make an appearance on the episode, alongside some other greats. Enjoy!

Oh yes - one excellent thing I heard this month was an interview with Joe Schloss, absolutely exceptional scholarly discussion on the Hip-Hop culture, origins, and ethics. A must-listen!


Playlist/Notes

Xzibit ft. KRS-ONE : The Kenny Parker Show 2001

This popped into my head recently, and with that intro it was a good candidate to lead off the episode! Despite the words of KRS-ONE, this track from Xzibit's "Restless" LP was actually produced by X and Thayod, with Dr.Dre taking Executive Producer credit as with the rest of the album. As far as I know, Kenny Parker himself isn't on this track but this is basically a retouched cover of the original track from the Boogie Down Productions "Edutainment" album; Hip-Hop doesn't do covers often, but this one clearly has the blessing of the original artist. Respectful.

Sepalot : Measured Amount

For some reason, I was sure I'd already played this one for you but it must have been on a mixtape somewhere, away from the podcast. Straight out of Munich, Sepalot has very much shown he can work that jerky-rhythmed electronic angle to good effect (I recommend "She Likes Me" with Frank Nitty of Frank N Dank), and this one jumps and tics along nicely. Find it on the "Beat Dimensions Vol.1" compilation.

Jay Dee ft. Frank N Dank : Off Ya Chest

First Dilla track of the month! A man whose beats covered many styles and moods, this came from the phase where he basically worked out what all the "for the club" producers were doing and then did it better, even if he didn't get the big sales. I've always been a bit of a fan of this 12", despite (or maybe because) it not fitting into what most people think of as the Dilla sound. His compadres Frank N Dank take joint charge of the verses and keep it simple. Good one for the gym!

Antonique Smith : Hold Up Wait A Minute

Heard a snippet of this on the "The Black Guy Who Tips" podcast (excellent, by the way), and rushed to scribble the artist name down - I'd never heard of her, and thought this track was a killer! Apparently this got a Grammy nomination (Best Traditional R&B Performance), and it was well deserving. Antonique will be known to some of you as an actress, having played Mimi in the Broadway show "Rent" and Faith Evans in the Biggie biopic "Notorious," but she is *not* playing with her debut single! She lets it all hang out on the vocals, and the production has to be top-notch to keep up - luckily, Darryl "Darulah" Farmer gets busy with the heavy drums and the choppy, stuttering organ line just to name the two foremost elements. Great way to open a career!

Diamond & The Psychotic Neurotics : I'm Outta Here

Heavy. One of the many great cuts from Diamond's debut "Stunts, Blunts, & Hip-Hop" (as summarised on Episode 12), and the final choice to follow up the Antonique Smith track after a long period of digging for tracks with organ sounds and heavy drums! Great bit of storytelling, based on the chaos of the 80s, with a protagonist who keeps getting himself into terrible situations which he's then forced to run away from. Trivia note: to hear him tell it, the voice of the would-be robber in the cinema in the first verse is that of a pre-fame Fat Joe!

Big Pun ft. Tony Sunshine : 100%

Went to Pun's posthumously-released second album for this one, which has some of that commercial appeal alongside some of those seriously hardcore lines for the undergound! Sean C brings the Latin flavour to the production, and Terror Squad's Tony Sunshine the spice on the hook. Pun reps Puerto Rico 100% on this one, hence the name...

Frankie Cutlass : Puerto Rico (Instrumental)

A spot-on fit I think - with the "Puerto Rico" sample already inserted into the background of the outro of the preceding track, the speeds being similar, and this being an instrumental...it'd have been a waste to use it any other time. Working a vocal sample from DJ Grand Wizzard Theodore's "Live Convention '82" tape, Frankie Cutlass shouts out his homeland atop some classic drum and bassline samples. This is one of the few well-known classic Hip-Hop singles that doesn't have a rapper on it at all, but will always get a reaction and people joining in when you play it in a club!

J Dilla ft. Tone Plummer & Mr Wrong : Rebirth Is Necessary 

This incredible beat was first heard on one of Dilla's famous (on the underground) beat tapes, and I always loved it, so was glad to see it get picked up for a better airing. It's so dark, you could only really match that vibe with the lyrics, and Detroit's Tone Plummer and Mr Wrong do just that, speaking on the severe effects of the economic downturn on their city. Well put-together piece from the J Dilla "Rebirth Of Detroit" album, which is worth checking out - it turns up a few choice gems.

Bumpy Knuckles : Teach The Children

As I say on the voiceover, I thought that in terms of theme, this worked well as a follow-up to "Rebirth Is Necessary," especially with the closing news sample. Picked this 12" up in London recently and Bumpy embraces the wise elder role and offers jewels on life to the young. Great B-side to the Nas-featured "Turn Up The Mic," with DJ Premier's production providing the perfect reflective backing.

Oh No ft. Posdnuos : Smile A Li'l Bit

Had forgotten all about this but it popped into my head at just the right time! Oh No's "Exodus Into Unheard Rhythms" LP was a journey into the catalogue of the Canadian composer Galt MacDermot, who has supplied the world of Hip-Hop with many a dope sample. Sampling strictly from one artist can be a challenge (well, unless you're going James Brown or something), but Oh No makes it work and the album features a host of MCs who make it a solid package. I'm a big fan of Posdnuos' lyrics here, talking about the industry while reminding all the wannabe hard rocks to smile once in a while :)

Skinnyman : When I Give My Heart To You (Joe Budha Remix)

DJ Mentat did a sterling job on the original version of this track, but Nottingham's Joe Budha takes it in completely different direction that for me fits the subject even better. Luckily, there's a 12" with both mixes on which is well worth having, especially with the bonus of Mystro's "Waiting" on there too - there's a track very likely to make a future episode!

Pete Rock & CL Smooth : Searchin' (Instrumental)

All it's going to take is a small research grant to prove that it's scientifically impossible to dislike this beat. SP-1200 all the way as Pete Rock works his magic on a sample from the legendary Roy Ayers' and his vibraphone. If you don't have the Pete & CL album "The Main Ingredient," definitely fix that - it's a staple.

Big L : Stretch Debut

The Stretch & Bobbito radio show on WKCR (1990-1998) was an absolute landmark in Hip-Hop radio, helping to break more important acts than you could shake a very large stick at, and one of the many was Big L! In 1992, before most of us knew him, a then-18-year-old L went up to the studios and laid down these vicious bars over a classic breakbeat. Someone gave me a digital copy of this, and I thought this was a perfect month to share it. Just check the raw talent, and some of the rhyme influences of the period coming through in his flow.

Keith Murray : It's That Hit

I have this on a 12", and yet only had a clean version on the Erick Sermon "Insomnia" compilation! Staying with the "Impeach The President" drums that came in on the last track, Erick blends up multiple funk sources on the instrumental and lets the man from Carlton Avenue do what he does on the mic. 

Artifacts : It's Gettin' Hot (DJ Spinna Remix)

Newark, NJ in the house on this one, connecting with Brooklyn as the man DJ Spinna lends his hands and ears to remix duties. The classic boom-bap original of this track came from their second album "That's Them," but this bubbling version is a bit harder to find; look for the "DJ Spinna Remixes" white label, and you should be in business.

The Mouse Outfit ft. Mattic : Fantasy Function

This Manchester crew are continuing to make big moves, and ahead of the release of their second album, they collaborated with North Carolina born, Paris-resident MC Mattic for the "Born Lupers EP," a quality little set available for a very reasonable price. This particular tune is early on the EP but also an early favourite for me, and check how the beat changes halfway through, with a noticeable speed increase to boot, making it an interesting one to mix in and out of. Would have liked a longer instrumental intro and outro though ;)

[J Dilla] Busta Rhymes : Woo Hah!! Got You All In Check (Jay Dee Bounce Remix)

If I drank, this would be the kind of track to sip a glass of wine to. Don't let me stop you though :) Released before Dilla entered most people's consciousness, he cooks up a track that probably couldn't be further away from the Rashad Smith-produced original

Robert Glasper : Dillalude #2

Very classy tribute. Houston jazz virtuoso Robert Glasper turns his hand(s) to a medley of his own renditions of classic Dilla beats, running over nine minutes in total. My favourite piece has to be his take on the beat for Busta Rhymes' "Show Me What You Got" starting @ 54:29 - worth the money for that bit alone. "Black Radio Recovered : The Remix EP" is available for under £4 currently and is absolutely a recommended purchase for all lovers of quality music.


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_69.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 11:09am EDT

Cold As Ice (cream)

"...because I...am going to kill...the f***'ry out there..."

- Peter Tosh

It's an all Hip-Hop month, but we've got at least three different languages, three decades, and skills across the board! Some serious pieces for you here, no wackness or weakness permitted. Let's get it cracking...


Playlist/Notes

Sean Price : Haraam

This beast of a tune has been blasting in my headphones all month! For those that don't know, "haraam" is an Arabic word used in Islam meaning "forbidden," as compared with "halal" which is "permitted." Sean drops the reason for the title in the first verse, then proceeds to carry on beating the hell out of the Team Demo track. I'm a bit salty I had to pay extra for this one though - it's only on the iTunes version of the "Mic Tyson" album, so even though I bought the CD I had to buy this tune separately, and I think it's one of the best in the entire package!  Had to put this one at the start just so I could include all the samples of the ill Peter Tosh press conference where he airs out his label :)

[Kanye West] Scarface : In Cold Blood (Instrumental)

A lot of people get caught up in the media hype and forget that at the heart of it all, Kanye was and is an extremely talented Hip-Hop producer. Here he does the business for one of the lead tracks from Scarface's "The Fix" album, perfect for one of the Houston legend's crime tales.

Saigon : Mr.Cool (That Ain't Cool)

From the "Warning Shots 3" mixtape, Saigon spits some serious judgemental fire on those within the community who he would consider in different ways are damaging it and its children. Scram Jones supplies the Temprees-sampled beat and the combination is a winner. That 70s feel mixed with the lyrics kind of reminds me of Goldie in "The Mack" telling the kids not to be like him...

The Step Brothers ft. Rakaa & Blu : Tomorrow

"It's as good as gone, it's as bad as here." Been a good few months since we last visited this album and it just so happens that my second-favourite track on there formed a nice bridge between the Saigon track and the next one. Evidence and The Alchemist come correct again with a nicely cooled-out record and bring in a couple of Los Angeles underground(ish) mainstays to help out on the mic.

IAM : La Tangente

I've got another IAM track I'm saving for a future episode, but right now peep this one from Marseille's finest, a crew that have been together since 1989. This is the second track on the "Strategie D'un Pion" single/EP from 2004, and while I personally can't understand many of the lyrics, they just sound so good. There's a lot of good material out there that's not in English, the trick is finding it if you're not plugged into the scenes. I'll take suggestions if anyone's offering :)

Tash & Dilated Peoples : Soundbombing

While the song I really wanted to play here was "Motion 2000" by Polyrhythm Addicts (too fast), I think this is still a good fit. This was effectively the title track from the 100% classic mixtape "Soundbombing II" by J-Rocc and Babu of the Beat Junkies, who expertly blended a collection of great records of the time from the Rawkus label. Oh yes, I would like to stake my claim as probably the only person to bump that tape while rallying a Trabant in Hungary. Long story...

9th Wonder : Black Album Rejects, Track 22

Taken from a collection of beats that was circulating in 2003, allegedly a set from 9th Wonder that was submitted for a possible placement on Jay-Z's "The Black Album." As it happens, none of them were selected, and instead Jay asked 9th to flip an R.Kelly song, which became the track "Threat."

Wale : Golden Salvation (Jesus Piece)

I'd be lying if I claimed to be a follower of Wale's music, but somehow I stumbled upon this track from his "The Gifted" LP, and think it's quality. Rhymed from the perspective of Jesus, Wale speaks to those who profess to be religious but for whom it goes no further than flaunting a jewelled, golden medallion. Virginia's Lee Major (not to be confused with Manchester's Lee Majors!) kills the heavy church-infused beat - it's the vocals within the track itself and the little keyboard bass runs that do it for me.

Apollo Brown & Ras Kass ft. inDJnous : Bon Voyage

I'd say this track is somewhat reminiscent of DJ Jazzy Jeff and Big Daddy Kane's "The Garden" in spirit, and Ras Kass is more than worthy to carry that flame on. Deep album cut from the new collaborative "Blasphemy" LP (which was to be titled "How To Kill God" until Apple said they wouldn't stock it in iTunes with that name), the Apollo Brown beat is suitable regal and Anaheim's inDJnous cuts up DJ Premier's voice with skill. In fact, that's something of a role reversal for Premo, who would usually be doing that to someone else!

Hannibal King ft. ARXV and Bub Styles : Tangerine Dream

Friend of the show Kataclysmik put me up on the free "Floral Print" album from this currently-unsigned Queens, NY-based producer turned MC, and this was easily my favourite track on the first listen through. ARXV and Bub Styles are new to me as well, but all involved make this dusted-sounding track work. Extra points for the Ghostface sample in the hook :)

Count Bass D : Kumbuka Watu Penda Peda (Part 2)

Hadn't heard this one for ages, but was reminded of it recently and had to go and buy the MP3! Apologies for the sound quality - not quite sure what happened there. In keeping with the spirit of the show, do head out to get yourself a copy of the "BEGBORROWSTEEL" album; Count Bass D is a talent to be treasured.

Terrace Martin : Angel

 Terrace has put together some banging beats in his time as a producer, but on his "3ChordFold" album he goes on a fresh tangent, going jazzy with it - and it works! He dedicates this track to his daughter (Akai - perfect for a producer's child), and brings in 9th Wonder and Craig Brockman to work their extra magic on the production. So, so fresh.

Juice (Nwamazi) & Justin : Ngbanwe

Going obscure but dope to start this section! I don't have any Nigerian Hip-Hop on vinyl so went on a trawl around Bandcamp, discovered this tune on a compilation, and thought it was worth a spin for you all :) It's rhymed in Igbo, and while I don't understand the words I respect the flavour - apparently they are doing the business though. Beat-wise, it's got a late 90s-early 2000s feel, very reminiscent of Nick Wiz's production on Shabaam Sahdeeq's "Soundclash." As for the title, I've heard it described as "changes" or "converter," something in that vein - any listeners want to get in touch and tell me more about it?

Mos Def : Mathematics

Shout out to the man DJ Mathmatics! A 90s classic from an album ("Black On Both Sides") which, truth be told, I don't rate as much as many others do! DJ Premier has his signature all over the beat while Mos talks about the world and works numbers upon numbers into the rhyme. Decided to keep the theme going with...

Organized Konfusion : Numbers

...a track I've loved for years! I was just thinking about buying a digital version to play when I wandered into the city centre and found it on a vinyl sampler of the "The Equinox" album for a great price :) Pharoahe and Prince Po are on top form here; "In 40 Projects drinking 40s till I'm 40 with Corley / Truncatin' drum loops with Pauly / On the SP-1200 at twelve-twelve you feel it..." Absolute sickness if you get all the references. The producer is a guy called Casper, who did two tracks on the album but who otherwise I can't honestly say I know - I do really like the beat though, it just fits.

Scram Jones : Diabolic

That sample will probably sound familiar to everyone, as it was also used in the intro to a famous party tune! That's just one of the dope samples incorporated into this track, which is an irreverant head-nodder from Jones' appropriately named "Dead Giveaway" free mixtape. 

[Vinyl Reanimators] L The Head Toucha : It's Your Life

Bringing thing towards a close with the beat from a great 1997 independent 12" release which had the mighty "Too Complex" on the A-side. Vinyl Reanimators on the beat again with some straight-up NYC boom-bap. I miss it.

Little Brother ft. Carlitta Durand : After The Party (S1 &  Caleb's Who Shot JR Ewing Remix)

Classic comedy intro (that I'm sure at least some of you can relate to!) adapted from some Jamie Foxx leads things off before sliding into a shoulder-slumping remix of this tribute to end-of-the-night pulling, capturing the desperation perfectly! That beat by Symbolyc One (who you may know from Strange Fruit Project) and Caleb Sean (who has since worked with Beyonce and Jay-Z) is absolute fire - great closer to the episode, and to the "Leftback" album, the final Little Brother release.


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_68.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 4:45pm EDT

Either Way

"I'm the animal that Hugh Hefner created..."

- Nas

The end of another year, and an eventful one in so many ways. Some of that influences this month's selection; overall I've just looked to put together a set of tunes to give your speaker boxes that extra bump to see out 2014 in style!


Playlist/Notes

Wu-Tang Clan ft. Nas : Let My Niggas Live

Dark, dark, dark! The intro sample from the film "Short Eyes" sets the tone and it just stays tough from there. Guest-starring on a Wu track seems to bring the best out of Nas (think "Verbal Intercourse"), and his verse here is a gutter classic which manages to steal the show from both Raekwon and Inspectah Deck. The beat is a masterclass on how to use percussion and drums other than the kick/snare to give the atmosphere, and the main sample for the track is worked to perfection. Easily the standout on "The W."

Pro P : The Breadline

Manchester's Pro P putting in yet more work on the MPC, and last month he released his "Concrete Jungle" beat tape on Bandcamp. It's well worth a listen, and this beat was one that grabbed me from the first run-through.

Jeru The Damaja : Invasion

An overlooked "airing out the police" gem, surprising since the "Wrath Of The Math" album is a pretty well known one for the core heads. DJ Premier is on production and weaves several samples together expertly for the backing, and then kills it with his simple(ish) and highly effective scratching with the word "invasion" from Nas' "It Ain't Hard To Tell."

El Da Sensei : Under Pressure

I just thought this was a great opportunity to slot this track in, with the hook cutting up vocal samples from the preceding Jeru record - no better place for it. This was originally on the 1998 compilation "New York State Of Rhyme" which I never got round to buying, but thankfully this track at least is available for digital purchase. P.Original on the quirky beat, but for me the production highlight is those cuts.

Rodney P ft. Skinnyman, Mr. 45 & DJ Grazzhoppa : Worldwide (Muneshine Remix)

Picked this one up as a free download from Rodney P's Soundcloud page, and was pleased to come across it! I think this is even better than the Joe Buhdha-produced original, which was the A2 track on the 2001 "Big Tings We Inna" 12". I'd not heard of Muneshine before but s/he sounds like a producer to check for, and I think you can find some more work here.

J-Live : One To 31

A mini autobiography and career summary from J-Live, patterned after Lessons 1-31 of the Nation of Gods and Earths' Supreme Wisdom Lessons (hence the title). An excellent choice to open his "Then What Happened?" album, setting the stage for all the tracks to come. I would have sworn this was a DJ Spinna track had I not read the credits, but it's DJ Jazzy Jeff with some serious bounce in the bass, great layered horns, and judicious scratching. 

DJ Spinna : Germz

You can never go wrong with a Spinna beat. Grabbed this one from the "Compositions 2" vinyl, and I'm thinking I need to find the others in the series...

Bounty Killer & Future Troubles : Kill A Sound

What a combination; the Stalag riddim driving the track, with the hook reusing the melody from the hymn "Gloria In Excelsis" with decidedly un-Christmassy intent! This was a 1996 7" single on VP Records, perfect for clash purposes. On the vocals, the two deejays work together well as they have on several other records, with their contrasting tones filling the spectrum. Fire! *airhorn*

Emanon : Count Your Blessings

Keeping the dancehall spirit going with the quality Exile production on this track, slicing and dicing Sister Nancy's "Bam Bam," giving it a speed boost and adding some slightly off-beat snare to keep you off-balance! Emanon ("No name" backwards) is the combination of Exile on the beats and Aloe Blacc on the mic, and this cut from "The Waiting Room" LP always gets a big reception when I include it in a set. Lyrically - absolutely nuts. Listen carefully and check how Aloe counts from 1 to 30 as the track progresses - sometimes using the number explicitly, sometimes by reference. Great work.

Shabaam Sahdeeq : Do You

Like I said, Spinna beat = automatic good move. These two have combined to good effect many times in the past (notably as half of Polyrhythm Addicts), and Shabaam shows he's still up for the challenge of riding an unusual backing; Spinna goes space age on this one! This is available as a digital download or as the B-Side of the "Motion Picture" single. 

Lost Boyz : Music Makes Me High

Taking it back with a track that was a big single when it was released - I certainly remember it from my first year at university! A lot of people are into the remix, but there was never anything wrong with this original version :) Great party track from the "Legal Drug Money" album. RIP Freaky Tah.

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

Tough beat, even if you're not into the synth sound much you can't deny it. Seems like an age ago when something this heavy could be a relatively mainstream track/club banger, but there we go. Check that drum pattern and see if it has an air of familiarity; it's the same layout as "It's All About The Benjamins," which was a heavy club tune in its own right. 

The Roots : Panic!!!!!

That line I cut up jumped into my head when the Eric Garner grand jury ruling came out and I just knew I was going to include this track from "Illadelph Halflife" on the next episode. Very short, but Black Thought crams the whole story into a compact package with skill.

Brian Digby Jr. ft Donte and King Solomon : Showtime

Best MC name. Ok, second to Edgar Allan Floe. Obscure piece here, the B-side of the 2001 Raw-N-Tellect single "The Game" - I didn't know anything about any of the personnel on this record but gave it a go! Turns out the B-side takes it, with the MCs doing a good job over Jahson's string and piano-laden beat. If you like this, I've seen copies on Discogs going cheaply!

Camp Lo : Army

One of those 12"s with tracks that never showed up on an album but were serious flames all the same! The super-basic hook somehow totally works for me, and contrasts with the standard slang-heavy Lo style on the verses. Production is courtesy of Tribeca, who once again hammers the drum machine like it owes him money, with sound exploding all over the place. If you're a DJ, you'd do well to have this single in your crates.

M.O.P. : Shake 'Em Up

Brownsville's foremost representatives killed their performance of this at their recent show in Manchester, and as it was an early favourite of mine on the new "Street Certified" EP, it makes the cut. Los Angeles' Jazi Moto is on production, and the highlight has to be the drumming - not sure if it's live or programmed but she kills it! A little more low end would have been a bonus in my opinion but then it might have made it sound less natural. Big tune anyway :)

J-Zone : The Fox Hunt (Instrumental)

 I wanted to follow the M.O.P. track with something where the drums were pretty active, and then remembered that on his return to releasing music, J-Zone had learned to play the drums and was incorporating a lot of live work into his tracks. This is the no-vocal version of one of the tracks from his latest album "The Peter Pan Syndrome," which is an album I'd recommend, just like the rest of Zone's output - he just doesn't sound like anyone else!

Dirty Diggers : Let The Pound Get A Round

Yorkshireman Young Max and Londoner Pat Stash put a perfect UK spin on the J Dilla beat that sampled Billy Paul's "Let The Dollar Circulate" and was the underpinning for Steve Spacek's "Dollar." Hopefully the worldwide listeners can appreciate this one as much as my domestic audience will :) Got this on one of those mysterious unofficial vinyls with a few other blends/remixes, so it may not have got an official release - snatch it up if you find it!


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

Direct download: Episode_67.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 4:45pm EDT

Don't Cross The Line.

"You killed the god, might as well throw a chair at me."

- Raekwon

If the Ferguson grand jury decision had come earlier in the month, I would have absolutely breathed fire through the entire selection - as it is, some of the third main segment ended up influenced by that travesty. I didn't even get into talking about Tamir Rice. Anyway, while a few tracks do communicate some of my thoughts on the whole affair, the selection as a whole has some brand new gems, some tracks to pay tribute to ODB and Big Bank Hank, and a little for anyone who enjoyed the electro era!

Links for this month;

The 2014 Good Podcasts award show, and the Straight To Your Head Podcast.


Playlist/Notes

Ras Kass ft. Xzibit & Saafir : NBA

There was a long period when Ras just couldn't seem to catch a break and in the early 2000s, label and legal drama meant that his "Goldyn Child" album was shelved, which was a great shame. He's just managed to release it for sale on Bandcamp (minus the brilliant original version of the title track) and so I had to pick it up and support. On this cut, the theme from "NBA On NBC" forms the basis, with mic support from Ras' Cali compatriots Xzibit and Saafir. The three were an unofficial group calling themselves Golden State Warriors until the NBA team of the same name sent them a "cease and desist" notice; as just "Golden State," I believe they put one 12" out but for various reasons the planned album never came to be.

Lacks aka Ta'raach : Mann Up

A bonus beat from the instrumental version of the first Lacks album - don't have any back story on it, just a nice beat you're unlikely to hear anywhere else!

DJ Quik ft. Mack 10 : The Conduct

One of the big tunes of the last month from where I'm sitting! Im a big DJ Quik fan but have to admit I just wasn't feeling "The Book Of David" LP - however, he's back on form with "The Midnight Life!" This guitar and talkbox-packed monster is a great track musically and a sonic devastator; play it on a good system and just compare it to so many of the under-mixed rush jobs that make up the bulk of the market right now. Lyrically, Mack 10 resurfaces with a solid verse, but there's no-one with a cutting tongue quite like Quik. "And they gotta reapply every year for that job?" Ouch.

M-Phazes, Sean Price, Billy Danze, & Matthew Ragazino : Land Of The Crooks

Not enough street bangers like this one about right now, and this Brooklyn anthem is helmed by a producer many thousands of miles away from the borough - Queensland's M-Phazes, who brings the huge kick drums through! This is the title track of the "Land Of The Crooks" EP, which is a great pickup if this is your kind of thing. With a heavy beat like this one you need to be careful not to waste it, but Sean P and Billy Danze (of M.O.P) bring the veteran hardcore mic work, and relative newcomer Matthew Ragazino does his thing on the close too. 

Platinum Pied Pipers ft. Jay Dee : Act Like You Know

Waajeed on the production for this shoulder-slumping head-nodder from the Bling 47 camp and extended Slum Village family. The late J Dilla pops in to do his thing on the mic here and as he says, "holla at the boy, he don't just produce beats!" From the "Triple P" album, which isn't super well-known but is well worth investigating.

Voodoo Black : Day To Day

A fine local product I hope all the listeners worldwide can appreciate! Manchester's Voodoo Black is Dubble O, Ellis Meade, and Sparkz on the mic, plus DJ Cutterz on the wheels, and their second EP ("Outsauced," available on Bandcamp) is a keeper. All the MCs do the business over the ill Pete Cannon beat which has the kind of flavour the NouGold guys would enjoy! Classic sample in the mix driving this one...

Air Adam : Harvester

Dug up this MP3 of a little beat I made a long while back, at least twelve or thirteen years ago, working on my PC before that was the fashionable thing to do! Long since lost the files for this one, but then I've done a lot more since :)

Zapp : It Doesn't Really Matter

I first saw/heard this (big Youtube find right there!) on a TV programme called "Solid Soul" back when I was about seven and thought "this is one of the greatest things I have ever heard," and so began a lifelong love of all things from Zapp and Roger Troutman. A tribute to the greats of soul, funk, and R&B, this was an overlooked record only because the same album ("The New Zapp IV U") also contained the runaway classic "Computer Love." Not even a very heavily sampled track as it turns out, so might be worth experimenting with for any producers listening!

NWA :  Panic Zone

Probably not the sound you conjour up in your head when you think of NWA! Owing far more to Dr.Dre's lineage from the World Class Wreckin' Cru than the "Straight Outta Compton" explosion, this is a serious electro workout. Taken from what is sometimes considered their debut, the compilation "NWA & The Posse," this was co-written by Krazy Dee, a Mexican-American MC who originally wrote it as "Hispanic Zone!" (No, I'm not making a joke). Dre talked him out of it, and it became what it is now. That's got to be a suitably obscure-enough fact for you to be glad you're reading these notes.

Afrika Bambaataa & The Soulsonic Force : Looking For The Perfect Beat

I've heard a lot of this tune this month! Second single from Bambaataa, and you have to bear in mind that people simply weren't making records that sounded like this back in 1983! Arthur Baker and John Robie pulled out all the stops on the production, and the video in this article will tell you everything you might ever have wanted to know about the process. Oh yes - someone at the Hip-Hop History event at Leeds City Museum asked Bam if he ever found the perfect beat; he said he was still searching :)

Run The Jewels ft. BOOTS: Early

The combo of Killer Mike and El-P are back with a new album ("Run The Jewels 2") and it's probably even better than the first one - and at the grand price of £0, everyone should really have it! This track is my favourite and turned out to be a very timely inclusion for this month's episode (well, any month really), given its focus on police brutality. The great move in this track is the switch to the harder, more hectic beat partway through each verse as the situation takes a downward turn. BOOTS (not to be confused with Boots Riley) provides the hook, and El-P has a great verse, but Killer Mike... he lives up to his name.

Orbital : Know Where To Run

Hadn't heard this one from "The Middle Of Nowhere" in a while, but dug it out while looking for something to mix well with the preceding track and it was a great fit. That fourth Orbital album is underrated in my opinion, but if you like electronic music it really is worth having in the collection.

Wu-Tang Clan : Severe Punishment

Fierce track from the second Wu album, with the beat just stomping. Everyone slays their verses, and this month's epigram could easily have come from just about anything GZA spits here! On top of that, everyone who knows this album remembers the kung-fu sample that opens things and comes back at the close - it's from the film "Three Evil Masters," which I need to add to the collection...

Ol Dirty Bastard ft. Method Man : Dirty Dancin'

Ten years now since Dirty left us. I thought I'd share this bonus track from the CD/digital versions of the "Return To The 36 Chambers : The Dirty Version" album, even though it should have been a bonus just for the vinyl heads :) RZA on production as always, and some classic ODB bizarreness on the mic!

Public Enemy : Brothers Gonna Work It Out

Classic PE from "Fear Of A Black Planet," just the right speed and the right sentiment for this spot. While it takes its name from a 1973 Willie Hutch track, it's sonically a world away and packs in so much more lyrically - as is the advantage of rap. Chuck D in great form on the mic over some of that peak Bomb Squad production, which is a story in itself.

Ice Cube : Wicked

When this track first came out, I taped it off pirate radio and listened over and over -  in my head, I had really vivid images of rioting and chaos. When I eventually saw the video, I was stunned to find it looked almost exactly like I'd imagined! This was the slamming lead single from "The Predator" released in the shadow of the Rodney King verdict and Los Angeles uprising, and much of the album carries the raw anger and rebellion of those times. The track is dense like something the Bomb Squad might have produced, but this beat is co-produced by Ice Cube and Torcha Chamba, who worked on a few West Coast records around that time. To top things off, we have the debut of Don Jagwarr, filling in the role of obligatory early 90s dancehall toaster ;) Heat!

Leaders Of The New School : Connections (Instrumental)

Big ups to DJ Omas for gifting me the "What's Next?" 12" this came from! Milo on the beat, early 90s drum-fest. The full version is either on this 12" or the 1993 "T.I.M.E" album.

Sugarhill Gang : 8th Wonder

With the passing of Big Bank Hank I figured everyone else was playing "Rapper's Delight" (despite its murky history), so I'd go with something different - it's not as though they only ever recorded one song! My vinyl was pretty beat so bought a digital copy and went with the full length version - there are a few shorter edits out there. In keeping with what Sugarhill Records were doing at the time, the beat is a live band recreation of a record that was being used by the Hip-Hop DJs of the time; in this case, "Daisy Lady" by 7th Wonder, hence the title!


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_66.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 10:20am EDT

Friday The 31st

"We were trading our crowns for our souls..."

- James Fauntleroy

Had I finished this episode earlier, it would have had a different title - but as it's Halloween and a Friday, I couldn't pass up the opportunity! Got some quality new releases and some definite archive raiding all lined up, which I encourage you to spread the word about as much as possible!

PS I mention Afrika Bambaataa appearing in Leeds next month; here's the info!


Playlist/Notes

Common ft. Cocaine 80s & Lil Herb : The Neighbourhood

If that intro doesn't get you, I suggest you head to the bathroom to check if you have a reflection. James Fauntleroy of Cocaine 80s opens it up with a fantastic vocal and lyric, before the sweeping, Curtis Mayfield-fuelled No I.D track comes in and helps Common to paint a dark picture of growing up in 70s-80s Chicago. He doesn't carry the mic alone though, with 90s baby Lil Herb taking the second verse and giving a perspective from his own generation. Common couldn't have opened his new "Nobody's Smiling" album any better.

[J.Cardim] AZ : Vendetta (Instrumental)

Few words. Dope beat. Soul sample. Sounds familiar. "The Format." That's all.

Fu-Schnickens ft. Shaquille O'Neal : What's Up Doc (Can We Rock)?

When this came out back in 1992 and I saw who was featuring, I cringed. Shaq was in his rookie year in the NBA and getting an insane amount of hype, and I thought this was just a quick cash-in move; in some ways it was, since he was added onto the end of an already-done track. Credit where it's due though, he put in a decent enough performance, and it turned out to be the prelude to his own little rap career. Moc Fu on the third verse takes the crown for me, despite not having the straight up speed or density of the other group members that appear on the track before him. Beat-wise, Main Source's K-Cut brings the bounce in a decidedly early 90s style. This was the lead single for the Fu's "Nervous Breakdown" album but actually first appeared on Shaq's debut - so at least three options there for finding it!

Oh yes - "when it comes to money," Shaq was not like Dick DeVos, given that this was the man who was paying him...

The Mouse Outfit : Power

This Manchester crew have been making moves since the release of their debut album "Escape Music," and now they're back with a brand new track. Sparkz and Ape Cult's Truthos Mufasa tag team the mic duties over some instrumental work that sounds like nothing this crew have done before. Constantly expanding, great to hear.

Jungle Brothers : 40 Below Trooper

I think this has to be my favourite track from this foundation crew, despite the fact that it's from one of their less-regarded albums ("J Beez Wit The Remedy"). I caught the video on MTV many moons ago back in 1993 and was an instant favourite. Reportedly, the production of this album was mired in drama as the group wanted to go experimental, and the record company (Warner Bros) kept rejecting their material and sending them back to the studio. The final version was much less out-there than the original, and this track maybe speaks to that - very dope, but also accessible to the average head of the time, like me.

Kazahaya : Remember Hip-Hop (Instrumental)

2009 release on Breakin' Bread from Kazahaya, a Japanese beatmaker very much in the cut-and-paste vein and wedded to the classic sound. This is the instrumental of course but to get the full effect, search out the "Remember Hip-Hop" EP, if you can!

EMC : Charly Murphie

Big stomping track! To really appreciate the full awesomeness of this track, you need to have seen the now-legendary episode of the Dave Chappelle Show where Charlie Murphy (brother of Eddie) tells the story of his run-ins with Rick James. All the MCs - Masta Ace, Stricklin, and Wordsworth - slay this track with callbacks to that famous sketch, and 14KT handles the production, with a track based around "Three Blind Mice." Stormer from the new EP "The Turning Point."

Tall Black Guy ft. Ozay Moore : Mon amie De'troit

Beautiful production by Tall Black Guy, just absolutely golden. That bassline lets you know straight off, but the skittering hat work and the guitar line elevate it right out of whatever building you're in. Ozay Moore, formerly known as Othello, brilliantly carries off his lyrical personification of Detroit as a woman going through hard times. The album "8 Miles To Moenart" isn't long, and doesn't have many vocals, but it's truly high-quality and gets my recommendation.

Dilated Peoples : Century Of The Self (ft. Catero)

After a long layoff from working as a group, Dilated are back with the "Directors Of Photography" album (damn, wish I'd thought of using that title) and it's a good return to the stage. This is one of my favourites on there, but it's an unusual lineup; Oh No on production, and with only Rakaa on the verses. Oh, and what verses! All the way political, and what would be called "paranoid" if so much of it wasn't actually documented fact, it's definitely worth sitting down with this one and really absorbing the lyrics.

The Brotherhood : Alphabetical Response

Trivia note - this was the first track on my first ever mixtape! It turns out it's a lot easier putting it at the start than mixing it in, the intro is a DJ nightmare - took some careful listening :) Late 90s UK single taken from the "Elementalz" album, with Underdog on the haunting head-nod beat and working in the Speak & Spell for the hook! I would also wager this one track has more uses of the word "bonce" than the rest of Hip-Hop to date combined. I'm glad we righted that ship.

C2C : The Beat

France stand up! Turntablists par excellence C2C get very busy on this, cutting and scratching everything in sight/hearing on a track I have to believe would work very well on a discerning dancefloor. It's also a bonus they kicked it off with another Speak & Spell sample! If you want more, you need to pick up the "Tetra" LP.

The Action Figures : Russell Westbrook

Had this one hanging around for a while, and it was not only a sonically good fit but the title is pretty topical if you're an NBA fan! TAF hail from Grand Rapids, Michigan, and are tied into the wider Hip-Hop community centred around Detroit - in fact, this track was produced by Young RJ of BR Gunna and Slum Village, and you can definitely hear the Motor City sound in there. Just a nice little digital single, which you can get free from their Soundcloud.

Clear Soul Forces ft. Kooley High : Freq Freq

Detroit yet again, striking to see so much material coming from a city which pre-Slum Village was never thought of as a Hip-Hop hotbed! Clear Soul Forces combine with North Carolina's Kooley High (who I'm only just hearing for the first time) to just kick lyrics over the crisp drums provided by Ilajide to great effect. Bargain price on Bandcamp, so don't be shy about picking it up and following both crews!

Mos Def : The Edge

The album "The New Danger" contained a track titled "Close Edge," which is almost identical to this; I got this on a while label a while before the album was released, and it seems that they gave it a bit more tweaking and changed the title. Either way, a solid track with Mos in low-key battle mode on a Minnesota beat that has all kinds of percussion going on in the background - have a keen listen for it and note how empty the track would sound without it.

O.C. : The Professional

What you know about this one? You could justifiably call "Starchild" O.C.'s "lost album" - hamstrung by sample clearance problems, not a big seller, rarely remembered as part of his discography, and produced without any input from the rest of the DITC crew. If you can get hold of it though, then do - you'll probably have to go for digital download since only 20,000 were ever pressed. I think it's fair to say O.C. is never one to disappoint with the lyrics, so the concern is always going to be whether the rest of the package can keep up. A producer named Vanguard takes the boards for this heavy horn-laden outing, with the infamous DJ Revolution contributing the extra-sharp cuts - mission accomplished.

Damu The Fudgemunk : Work In Progress

One for the DMV! Washington's true-school stalwart beatmaker is always reliable for some classic drum and sample tracks, and this (maybe unfinished) one from his "Spare Time" album delivers the goods.

The Lench Mob : Lord Have Mercy

If you weren't listening to Hip-Hop in the early 90s, you probably never heard of this crew. If you were, you definitely have! Their controversial debut album "Guerillas In Tha Mist" from which this track is drawn made some noise at the time with some of the big hammering tunes but this little gem was overlooked. Uncomplicated but dope use of a well-known sample made the perfect backdrop for the heartfelt lyrics. Ice Cube put this LA crew on, and it was all there for them but unfortunately a murder conviction for J-Dee was a near-final blow; they replaced him for their second album, before fading away. Regardless, this track will always stand tall.


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_65.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 6:30pm EDT

Fresh From Above.

"Rich for a poor man, poor for a rich man..."

- Essa

What a month - started a new day job, had a couple of photo assignments, plus needed to plan a mix including some Biggie (20 years since "Ready To Die" was released), 2Pac (18 years since he passed), and a few other tracks I've had on standby for a while. So far, all is good - let's get into the notes for the month...


Playlist/Notes

Essa : The Middle Man (Tall Black Guy Remix)

A bit of a poetic start to the proceedings; great new UK track to kick things off, with the production getting a top-line upgrade with Tall Black Guy on the boards! I didn't know until researching the episode that Essa went to school at Eton, but it makes sense since he's also a practicing lawyer - it all shows in his lyrics. This particular version is a limited edition 7" release you can buy through Bandcamp, but for more of his quality rhymes grab the "The Misadventures Of A Middle Man" album - bargain price for it right now.

[Buckwild] Mendoughza : Club Banga (Instrumental)

One of those random tunes I dug out trying to find an instrumental, only to find it's pretty notable in its own way! Mendoughza was down with the late great Guru of Gang Starr, and featured on a few things but this looks like it may have been his only 12" release. If you're only going to have the one, then having D.I.T.C's Buckwild produce it is a pretty huge result!

Main Ingredient : Summer Breeze

We're just leaving summer, so here's the last flush of the season. Soul cover version (and an upgrade, I feel) of the Seals and Crofts track, but you only get one verse before...

The Notorious B.I.G : Things Done Changed

"Whatever happened to the summertime cookouts?" Gone. Gone like the preceding track, which provided the bulk of the samples for this incredible Darnell Scott beat. Whatever happened to him? I actually did a web search looking for more credits and it seems he only did this one perfect track. The first full song on Biggie's "Ready To Die" was instantly arresting, and it stopped me dead the first time I heard it roughly twenty years ago. Biggie's lyrics on how life got so much harsher for so many people as he grew up set the tone perfectly for a beautifully dark album - or was it darkly beautiful?

Cocaine 80s : To Tell You The Truth

No I.D.'s collective are a little on the mysterious side but do turn out some serious free releases. I got this one from the "The Pursuit EP," and it's got a nice bit of edge to it. James Fauntleroy is a killer on the lead vocals for the group, and they really, really need to get a full album out there!

2Pac : Temptations

It's been eighteen years? Feeling old again. Taken from the "Me Against The World" album, 2Pac gives his take on temptation (of course), commitment, and loneliness in his own style; nothing tongue-twisting, just very simply worded. The Easy Mo Bee beat is insane, blending Zapp's "Computer Love" (for the bassline), Redman's "Watch Yo Nuggets," and more besides. From the twilight of the period of 2Pac's career that interested me, before the Death Row era, this was a fantastic single. Funny video too :)

Nitty Gritty ft. Wise Intelligent : Good Morning Teacher (Crush Sounds Poppa Fred Mix)

Quality dedication to the late reggae artist Nitty Gritty (for whose killing Super Cat was once charged) and other fallen dancehall stars by Wise Intelligent of Trenton, New Jersey's Poor Righteous Teachers. Nitty Gritty recorded the original for King Jammys sound in Jamaica, but Wise Intelligent takes the vocals for the hook and adds his own lyrics for the bulk of the tune. Ill Will Fulton does the business on the remix production, working around the famous "Stalag" riddim.

Hieroglyphics : Love Flowin' (A-Plus Remix Instrumental)

Another under-appreciated beat unearthed from the vinyl vaults! A-Plus of Souls Of Mischief on the boards for this one.

Boot Camp Clik ft. Aaliyah : Night Riders (Original Remix)

Brooklyn! A nice 90s piece recently put out for free by the official BCC Soundcloud page. The first version was on the 1997 "For The People" LP, and there's a more modern remix done by 9th Wonder, but apparently this was the original remix version. It keeps the Buckshot and Boogie Brown instrumental, but exchanges LaVoice for the late Aaliyah to give little extra to the hook. Works. Oh yeah, look out for Omar from "The Wire" in the original video ;)

Lowkey ft. Shadia Mansour : Too Much

More UK flavour, this time with an MC who is unafraid to take on political topics - whether it's militarism, Palestine, media, or whatever - and puts himself in the vein of the Immortal Techniques of this world. Absolutely love his breakdown of what money can and can't get you, and the laid-back Nutty P production and Shadia Mansour on the hook give it a smoothness that helps the medicine go down. Taken from the "Soundtrack To The Struggle" album, this wasn't a single but I think definitely could have been.

Sean Price ft. Phonte : Let It Be Known

Two of my favourite MCs combine here, each with their own style but pure talent regardless. On this selection from Sean's second album "Jesus Price Supastar," check how the rhyme schemes on the two verses are actually the same, with just the actual words changing - very cleverly done. On the beat, 9th Wonder comes in - people often complain about his drums, but you have to appreciate what he brings here with that drum pattern - unusual, and very dope.

The Regiment ft. Guilty Simpson : Beef

"Beef is guns and butter, no peace line / Sauteed, fried, with hate on the side..." I've had this one on deck for months, never quite being able to fit it in - finally got there this episode! Detroit's OSI and Ise Qold go in hard on the mic alongside hometown guest Guilty Simpson over a grimy Nick Speed beat. I got this free from Bandcamp, but it's also on their debut "Live From The Coney Island" album, which is well worth checking.

Om Unit : Folding Shadows

The man also known as 2Tall for his turntablist exploits is also a very accomplished producer, and he showcases a deft touch on this dark, dark track from his "Threads" album.

3rd Bass ft. Chubb Rock : Kick 'Em In The Grill

Just so we're clear, we're totally coming back to this album in the future! "Derelicts Of Dialect," the group's second album is an extremely underrated 90s release which I think everyone should have. The Brooklyn/Queens trio only had a two-album run before an acrimonious split, but both were quality. Right here you have (now label exec and reality TV host) MC Serch and (current baseball memorabilia dealer) Pete Nice ripping the mic on an SD50-produced track, with Daddy Rich jumping in with the cuts and Chubb Rock with a dope guest verse. 

Camp Lo : Cold Retarded

New flavour from one of my personal favourites, a preview for their forthcoming album which will be solely produced by Ski - the man responsible for the beats on "Uptown Saturday Night." As usual, an absolute slang torrent on this short and sweet track, and on the instrumental side, pay close attention to the ridiculously dextrous bass work; all kinds of runs and slides going on!

OutKast ft. Raekwon : Skew It On The Bar-B

I think I underrated this one when it came out, but that was partly because I just preferred "ATLiens" to "Aquemini," the album this was on. My bad! Raekwon, responsible for one of my top two albums of all time ("...Cuban Linx...") absolutely melts down his guest appearance - pay attention to how he keeps the same rhyme going through the entire verse. Insane. Organized Noise have the drums snapping, and OutKast themselves are quality on the mic as always, but that Rae verse though...

Ty ft. Bémbé Ségué : Groovement (Parts 1 & 2)

I kept meaning to ask Agent J if his website/podcast is named after this tune, then in the middle of a Google search found out it was! Ty has been one of the great talents of the UK scene for a long time and this is one of my favourite tracks from him, proper funk workout with just a hint of Latin flavour. I got this on the 12" with "Ha Ha" on the flip but it's also on the "Upwards" album. Great track to have in your collection either way.

Professor Griff : Bro Kemit Splitting Atom's In The Corporate War Zone [sic]

Sorry for the needle skip - tried to clean it out but to no avail!

This song is at least in part being included because of that incredible title, which I remember using once in a high school game of "Hangman" (seriously). Before a field trip to a place called Cober Hill, I had a few quid in my pocket to buy just one new record to tape and take with me; the choice came down to Public Enemy's "Yo! Bum Rush The Show" and Professor Griff's second album "Kao's II Wiz *7* Dome," and Griff won it. Turned out to be a good thing since the PE album has remained available, whereas I've not seen a copy of this outside my own library in years. This track closes the album and is very much of its era - a long posse cut, pro-Black lyrics, and the most incredible amount of shout-outs ever. Even dedicated "shout out" tracks on other albums don't have as many as this one. The beat comes from The Soul Society, of which Griff is a member, and bears the Miami influence of the Skyywalker Records label that this was released under - listen out for the sub-bass drops!


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_64.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 9:30am EDT

Bajan Ballin'

"They plant drugs on us, stamp 'thugs' on us..."

- Guilty Simpson

Back from a great two-week trip to Barbados, I'm working some West Indian vibes into the selection this month! Got some nice long blends going too, and a bit of a subwoofer test :)

Only one link up in this section this month - leave me a drop from the comfort of your own computer!


Playlist/Notes

Dawn Penn : You Don't Love Me (No, No, No)

Starting it off with a classic! Dawn Penn recorded a track called "You Don't Love Me" back in 1967, before taking a break from the music industry in 1970. She came back to the scene in the late 80s, and in the early 90s reprised the '67 track with more of a contemporary dancehall feel - still the same soul though! Lisyen back to that original, then come back and enjoy this one - it just goes to show that when it comes down to it, songwriting and vocal talent are portable and enduring, fads and trickery are not. Salute!

Jae Millz : No, No, No

Big up Andy Peek for playing this 12" at In The Loop one month! Scram Jones (credited as Marc Schemer) takes the intro of the Dawn Penn track and bases his own beat on it, and then Jae Millz rhymes around the "no, no, no" interjections - not a unique idea, but a well-executed one. I don't know if Millz has any Jamaican background but the video is shot there and he's rhyming in front of the flag for parts of it! Despite having been around on the fringes for years, he's just now getting ready to put out a debut album - with the Young Money crew though, so possibly not as much my speed sonically as this track is. This is a nice record, though one where the beat definitely outshines the mic work!

Tnght (Hudson Mohawke x Lunice) : Higher Ground

Big Scottish/Canadian combination, I would never have come across this record if I hadn't heard DJ A-Up and Agent J drop it in a club to serious effect! Very electronic, nothing acoustic sounding in the whole track, booming kick and handclaps taking the place where many hi-hat patterns would normally sit - while the hats here go independent :) Great track from the "Tnght" EP, which is only about £3 as a digital download if this is to your taste!

Assassin :Anywhere We Go

Anthemic dancehall track from St.Andrews Parish (JA) native Assassin, expounding on how much the women love him! Big tune on the "85" riddim by Dave Kelly, also heard on Baby Cham's "Ghetto Story," which is definitely better known around these parts. There are 7"s of this one around for very reasonable prices, so this is one for the dancehall DJs to grab.

Run The Jewels : Get It

Good test for your bass setup right here. El-P and Killer Mike combine here for some unadulterated hardcore from their eponymous free mini-album. All kinds of low-end kicks, and listen out for that repeating/echoing snare drum - it wouldn't be half the track with a normal one there.

Paul Wall ft. Big Pokey : Sittin' Sidewayz

Love this record. The Salih Williams beat is an absolute monster; as I said many episodes ago, built around that little guitar sample, but that bass is what most people will remember! Houston's Paul Wall had this as the first single from his solo debut "The People's Champ" after he parted ways with Chamillionaire. One thing that did stay the same (in a good way) was his lyrical content - no nations being uplifted, just stunting like Lee Majors in "The Fall Guy!"

Shinehead : Billie Jean

First became aware of this one when the sound system Mighty Crown dropped a special of it during a soundclash I was listening to. That snare is so intrusive and crunchy on the high end, it snatches your attention almost as much as the Wild West whistling running through the intro! An unexpected, unusual, but excellent cover version of the legendary Michael Jackson track from the UK-born, Bronx raised Shinehead.

Byron Lee and The Dragonaires : Mission Impossible

A treat for the steel pan fans! Tenor pan getting busy here on those rolls with a Caribbean take on the well-known Lalo Schifrin spy theme. The Dragonaires have been going since 1950 with Byron Lee passing in 2008, and always had a rep for being able to play any style of music; with that in mind, it makes sense that they could take this track and make it extra-hot! You can get this on the 1997 "Socarobics" album, along with a lot of other flavour :)

Guilty Simpson : Pigs

The first of two critiques (to say the least) of the police, and as it happens they're both out of Detroit. Here we have Guilty Simpson with a short but crushing track from his 2008 debut "Ode To The Ghetto" album, going in on the police for their well-documented racial profiling and the kind of laziness on the job that leads to real criminals snitching and walking while others take the fall. The somehow busy and bare beat comes courtesy of Madlib, on fine form.

Jay Dee : Fuck The Police

This will be much better known to most heads than the Guilty Simpson track - in fact, some people will know this even better than NWA's certified classic "Fuck Tha Police" from 1989! Dilla wrote this at the suggestion of his mother, who put the idea forward after seeing him suffer from constant police harrassment. You can find this as a 12" with the incredible "Move" on the B-side, and it's a must-own. 

Boogie Down Productions : Gimme Dat (Woy)

Wanted to go with "Who Protects Us From You?" but as it wasn't close to a speed match, I went for a different track from the same album ("Ghetto Music : The Blueprint Of Hip-Hop") that was a better fit in terms of tempo and composition. Don't be fooled by the relative smoothness of the beat, the drums knock and KRS is on battle mode on this one.

Blak Twang ft. K9 :Where Lions Roam

I'm a big Black Twang fan but wasn't totally sold on "The Rotton Club" - this was one of the body-moving standouts though. Tony Rotton self-produced this one and it bounces along nicely in a stripped-back kind of way!

Ali Vegas : Gangsta Boogie (Instrumental)

One of those tracks where I'm really unlikely to play the vocal (it's not actually that good), but the beat has the little charm of sampling a recognisable 80s song...which I won't reveal here since I think it might be uncleared! I think this is a 12"-only release, but the A-side isn't really hitting so only pick it up if you need this track.

Teff Mayweather : Starz

I was looking for some contemporary Bajan hip-hop to play, and so far as I can see this is one of the guys making the most noise right now. It's a little commercial sounding, and fits in with the mainstream American vibe - I was a little surprised, but I'm not sure why. As such, the lyrics aren't especially complex but if you're anything like me, you can hear that there's something he's holding back! If you like this, there's more on his "Dream World" album.

Chuck Nubian & Konny Kon : The Skullsnap

Next up is UK Bajan Konny Kon, alongside Chuck Nubian, exchanging ill flows and lyrics over a beat by Finimo from the "The First Connect" EP - on Skullsnap Records as it happens! For those that don't get the reference, an old-school funk group called Skull Snaps recorded a track called "It's A New Day" with some legendary drums which have been sampled many times, and the record itself is a collectible. Anyway, this is a fine bit of UK Hip-Hop, and the EP is worth putting on your wantlist!

Grandmaster Flash : Adventures Of Grandmaster Flash On The Wheels Of Steel

You may not know this but Flash is a 100% Bajan, born in Bridgetown, and so the country can feel proud of their contribution to Hip-Hop's foundation :) This is an extremely important record which I'd been meaning to play for those who aren't deep in the scene and might not know it; it's really the first record to display the particular skills of Hip-Hop DJing, and was mind-blowing at the time. Flash insisted on recording this live, using three turntables, with no editing, multitracking, or other studio technology - real rawness. This is one of the most revolutionary records of all time.

Ohio Players : Boardwalkin'

I was looking for something funky to go alongside the "Good Times" sample the Flash track was based on, and found this tune in my collection that I'd never heard before. Nice little cut from the 1981 "Tenderness" album, one of two they released in the same year! 

Gorg : Meh Rum

This was probably the big tune of Crop Over in Barbados this year, the kind of soca tune with a hook that really lives up to the name - sticks in your head and can't be removed!  Whoever Gorg's woman was, she was cold for taking those Jordans*. That's unforgivable.

*apparently the woman is real, but the Jordans stayed. Also, he stretched it to get that rhyme to work.


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

Direct download: Episode_63.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 2:30pm EDT

Untitled

"I'm scared of Mother Earth..."

"...and I'm scared to communicate over the phone."

 - KMG

Back once again! It's been two years since KMG of Above The Law passed away, so I've got a couple of great ATL tracks in this month's choices. Overall, we have a few recent releases and some gems that I think really have been overlooked. Maybe next month will be the one for the sunshiney summer selection, but for right now...


Playlist/Notes

Ka : Summer

I've been waiting for summer to come so I can play this! Dark track from the Brownsville MC and producer, one of my favourites from the short (but not sweet) "Grief Pedigree" album (find a video of the whole thing here). Don't be lulled by the hook - he packs some serious rhyming skills into the two verses, and backs it up with a subtle, almost drumless production. It's the opposite of the average Hip-Hop summer anthem, and with good reason; he has pointed out himself that the summer is actually when more bad stuff happens, since everyone is outside and there's more chance of confrontations. DJ Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince this is not.

Bob James : Far From Turtle

Knowing that there's little Hip-Hop at the speed of "Summer" which would mix with it, I went to my soul/jazz/other shelves and heard this particular track for the very first time - I knew it had to work. It's sped up a reasonable amount but hopefully not enough to take away from the feeling. Bob James has been sampled over and over again, but this is from a 1990 album ("Grand Piano Canyon") which probably hasn't been used much. After doing a little internet reading to look for interesting facts about this record, I found that apparently this is Guilty Simpson's favourite song of all time!

Redman : Basically

Back with the dark sound, and maybe te lyrics to a certain extent. I do wish it was a little longer, but maybe the brevity makes it more concentrated. You'll find this self-produced killer around the middle of Redman's sophomore album "Dare Iz A Darkside," one widely respected by those in the know - although as it happens, Redman himself doesn't like it for personal reasons.

Njena Reddd Foxxx : Watercolor

Coming out of Brooklyn, Njena is an MC with an interesting history - accepted into Cooper Union, after completion she decided to forsake the traditional fine art world in favour of picking up the mic! Hopefully it all works out, but based on this she certainly has the skills. She sinks deep into this laid-back track and gets what she wants to say said in under two minutes, just as GZA would advise :) I got this free from her Soundcloud account - keep an eye on it! 

GQ ft. Nipsey Hussle and Rapper Big Pooh : Count 'Em Up

In another example of life changing directions, Oakland's Quentin Thomas had a great run on the ball court, all the way up to a national championship with the University of North Carolina, before switching careers. He had to battle the negative stigma of "ballers who think they can rap" before winning over 9th Wonder, who took him under his wing and onto the Jamla Records label. I'd not heard of him until his name and the title of his latest album "Rated Oakland" kept bubbling up on my Twitter feed, so I went and had a listen and was very impressed! I could have played any of a number of tracks, but this ended up winning out - produced by 9th himself, and featuring Little Brother's Big Pooh and South Central LA spitter Nipsey Hussle. I can relate to the end of that last verse...

Tanya Morgan ft. Napoleon : Plan B

Was struggling to work out how to end this little mix but ended up finding this one on my CD of the "Brooklynati" album, and it fit pretty well (could have done with a longer intro though). This is a great story of the everyman rhymer, rather than the superstar talk you often hear, talking about the scraping and sacrifices that are often made to pursue a music career. The production by Brick Beats is nice, but the lyrics are the clear star here.

deadxbeat : lifes.a.snitch

Found this one on a scouting run through Bandcamp, as just one of thirty-eight beats on the "Pure Dopeness Vol.11" beat tape from worldwide producer collective Sinoptic International. This particular beat is out of New Jersey, and is chilled out and low-slung enough to match the previous track and the next...

Slum Village : Forth & Back (Original)

Bit of a summery vibe here before we take the temperature down for the next few. This is the original "Forth & Back" from the "Fan-Tas-Tic, Vol.1" album - an album which itself has many, many supposed versions. I actually prefer this to the more well-known version on "Fantastic, Vol.2," but then it's pretty impossible not to like! Signature Dilla production of the time, with the laid-back vibe and the handclaps.

Above The Law : Marvin

I only wish the mixing/mastering was a little better, but easily one of the best tracks on the "Forever : Rich Thugs" album. The late KMG definitely has the best verse, writing with a little paranoia and a sense of trepidation of the modern world; makes me wonder what he'd make of today's current events. Cold 187um puts a more hyped verse in but really makes his presence felt in the production, a late-night creeper of a beat accented by the voice of Marvin Gaye through the hooks. Quality...just deserves better sound!

J-Live : Vampire Hunter J

Had this one stashed for a while, and this month I find a chance to use it in a winning combination with two other great tracks. J-Live deftly rhymes from an 5% perspective, taking on the evildoers of the world - the 10%, according to their lessons, and slips all kinds of NGE references into the lyrics. The beat is dark, subtle, and minimal without being minimalist, great work by Grap Luva. This is just one of the quality tracks on "The Best Part" (another 5% reference there!)

DJ Skitz : Fingerprints Of The Gods

A true UK classic. I actually dropped Skeleton's verse from the end (sorry), but that should be an incentive for you to check the whole thing! With so many great MCs  and the beat changing for each one, this could easily have been a set of different songs but instead this was one monster track. Originally released as a single in 1998, it's also available on the "Countryman" LP which is an essential if you can find it - a masterful collection. Back to the sonics, as much of a Phi Life Cypher fan as I am, I think Roots Manuva takes it here. "I used to want the Queen's heads, now I want the crown?" Serious! He does also benefit from having the best beat on the track; the section in the intro with the high piano part and Vegas cutting over it still sends chills up me even now. 

Da Beatminerz : Let's Talk About It (T.R.O.Y Remix Instrumental)

Just a little instrumental from the brilliant "Brace 4 Impak" album which feels fresh but actually came out all the way back in 2001 :) Even though the full version this was far from my favourite cut on there, it'll still bury a lot of records out right now!

Above The Law : Ashes To Ashes, Dust To Dust

I don't know if this is now a full-on rarity, but it's definitely not well known. From the 12"/EP of "Kalifornia," we have some back-and-forth rhymes from the highly underrated mic duo of KMG and Cold 187um over one of Hutch's gangsta funk beats. The talkbox hook is kind of crazy, though I can't say I can make out most of the words... The "Kalifornia" 12" is definitely worth having if this is at all your style - somehow, the title track is actually the third best thing on there out of three!

Cormega ft. Raekwon : Honorable

Brand new track from the "Mega Philosophy" album, just released this Monday. The whole album is produced by Large Professor, which alone should be reason enough to check it out, but of course it's Cormega's album and he's settling more and more into the veteran role, which definitely suits him. I think this might be the most instantly-accessible track though, with Rae on the criminology rhymes on the first verse and Mega bringing it home. Definitely peep the album.

Amerie : Talkin' About

Those drums are just killing it. The percussion line is super-busy in the go-go style, and for that you can thank Rich Harrison - it should slightly remind you of the drum work on "1 Thing," which is also on the "Touch" album. Amerie (now Ameriie) is a seriously underrated artist, and if you've passed by her records before I'd really recommend going back and giving them a try. Here, she unleashes her surprisingly powerful voice to be heard over the hectic track, and knocks it out in fine style.

Mya : Fallen

Maybe a bit gentle for some, but you've got to appreciate it for its integration of the Dilla beat for Pharcyde's "Runnin'." It does add all kinds of strings and lighter touches but at its heart, the drum pattern and the loop of the Stan Getz/Luiz Bonfa sample keep the blood pumping. I can't remember what made me pick up Mya's "Moodring" LP years back, but I do think it's a quality record - the rare modern(ish) R&B album that finds a home in my collection. One aside; your ears aren't tricking you, this track does actually get louder as it goes along! I actually re-recorded the mix once as I thought I'd been turning up the wrong tune...

Visioneers ft. Luke Parkhouse : Mystic Brew

Picked this one up on Record Store Day this year and both sides were quality! Visioneers is a studio project, a pseudonym of Marc Mac from 4Hero and you can always rely on him for something interesting. This of course is a cover version of the famous Ronnie Foster track that's best known for being sampled on Tribe's "Electric Relaxation," but with almost a Latin flavour on the rhythm. The flip of this 7" has a cover of "Smilin' Billy Suite" by the Heath Brothers, which you'll recognise from Nas' "One Love." Actually, I've just realised while typing that both of the sampling records I mentioned were produced by Q-Tip!

Jean Grae : Planes (The Trilogy)

Made me smile and nod in agreement! If you've ever travelled on a plane, at least one of these short songs should make you do the same, or even make you adjust your behaviour ;) The final pick this month is from Jean's recent release "That's Not How You Do That : An Instructional Album For Adults," a set of short songs offering advice on how to get along in the world! Listen, laugh, and fix up!


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_62.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 4:26pm EDT

...Killed The Radio Star?

"God walks the earth as MCs..."

- H.U.G.

The fifth birthday episode! For someone who once took over two years to finish a mixtape, you might just have an idea of what a big achievement that actually is :) There's a lot going on right now and I really had to dig deep to put together this month's mix, but I think you'll be pleased with it. It's also been five years since Michael Jackson passed, and I've included a couple of pieces you probably don't have.

Quick shout out to Scott at Good Podcasts, who gave me a great write-up and was even inspired to jump on the mic ;)

RIP to the great Bobby Womack; I wasn't able to include any of his music this time round, but his legacy is carved into what we do.


Playlist/Notes

Hood Headlinaz (Mata, Mali Boi, Jhi Ali, & Money Addict) : Soul Glo

Been holding off on this one for ages! There's not even much that blends with it, but you don't want to put anything in front of it anyway to take away from that mighty intro :) I can't even remember how I stumbled on this one, but it was a digital release and it was initially free - would definitely have paid though! This track comes from Alabama's Paper Route Gangstaz (PRGz) crew, and it just is what it is. Building a whole track off the hair product advert from Eddie Murphy's "Coming To America" was genius, and while it may not be calling for the upliftment of the nation I will note that they do in fact use the word "plethora" in context in true "Sophisticated As Hell" style ;) 

Jan Hammer : Rico's Blues

Now that's the 80s right there :) While Jan Hammer's "Crockett's Theme" was easily one of the best-known instrumentals of the decade, this was also a great track from the "Miami Vice," the theme tune for Rico Tubbs. Kind of makes you want to be on a yacht to really feel it though...

Krimewave : Increase The Pressure

I was passed this instrumental by a friend and asked to see what I could do with it on the cuts, so here we go! I went trying to scratch up some info on Krimewave and found that he's a Manchester producer, and clearly someone with talent as this is a nicely refined beat. I almost feel bad for butting in! You can find this and plenty more on Bandcamp.

Ultramagnetic MCs : Delta Force II

Been banging this one since 93! Great Ced Gee solo cut from Ultra's "The Four Horsemen" album, which in my opinion is leagues ahead of "Ced Gee (Delta Force One)" from the classic and highly significant "Critical Beatdown" album. Straight MC business on here, and my guess would be that Ced Gee did a lot of the beat himself. While the production is credited to the group, but Ced is an oft-overlooked figure in the history of Hip-Hop production who actually did the bulk of the work on BDP's "Criminal Minded" LP and is justly respected as someone who got busy on the SP-1200. No pop flavour here!

Public Enemy : How To Kill A Radio Consultant

With recent events, this seemed like a very appropriate choice! Pretty deep album cut from "Apocalypse 91 : The Enemy Strikes Black" with Chuck D going in on the BS of the modern radio model and the lack of connection commercial stations have with the communities they supposedly serve. This tune might be over twenty years old but it's even more true today than it ever was. On the music side, it's Bomb Squad production as always - listen out for the Run DMC "Beats To The Rhyme" sample, which is then swiftly buried under a whole heap of other stuff going on in the track. I was kind of lukewarm on the production at the time but have grown to appreciate it with more mature ears!

Raekwon : House Of Flying Daggers

Fast-forward eighteen years and head across the water from Long Island to Staten Island for this big opening track from "Only Built 4 Cuban Linx...Pt.2!" Raekwon put together a great album but unlike the first one, he went for a range of different producers; on this track, he got the legend J Dilla to give him a dramatic, pounding, relentless banger that just doesn't let up...ever. Inspektah Deck slays the opening verse once again (remember "Triumph?"), but every single MC on here is on top form. I just wish I could totally hear and parse those first two bars on Rae's verse - sounds ill as hell, but I don't think I could tell you exactly what he said :)

One last detail - that kung-fu dialog sample at the end is from the well-known but still incredible "Drunken Master." If you've not seen it, do so...

J-Zone & H.U.G : I'm Fuckin' Up The Money

This was the song that got me into J-Zone, and he wasn't even on the mic! The rolling, dramatic instrumental is the perfect landscape for Huggy Bear to absolutely go off on the mic, dropping quotable after quotable on the dark state of the world. That BDP/UN line? "Peacekeeping with a gun is fraudulent?" "Prisons got signs up reading 'no vacancy,' but those locked up are still earning for the industry?" Come on now. Huggy (aka H.U.G) has spit some quality rhymes in his time but for me, this is the pinnacle. The "Pimps Don't Pay Taxes" album as a whole is on a slightly different vibe, but very much a great purchase.

Eightball & MJG : Break 'em Off (Instrumental)

I could never decide if I wanted to play the vocal of this - it's been up for selection a few times in the past - but right here the instrumental just kind of fit. Memphis' Eightball & MJG produced this themselves and probably came up with one of the few tracks not to be improved by a Beatminerz remix!

SPOX PhD (DJ Spinna & Oxygen) : Chicken Scratch

Brand new 7" release with both sides being amazing, all I can say is "get it!" The man DJ Spinna gets on the turntables cutting up an ill break with a crazy chicken sound in it, and Oxygen of SoundSci gets on the echoey mic - the combination is straight park jam style. Oxygen actually came to my "Manchester Marauders" exhibition last year before playing a show in the city, and he's a properly good guy - nice to see him link with another well-regarded man in the scene. 

NWA : Quiet On Tha Set

Deeeep album cut (the closer on the vinyl, not quite on the cassette) from the legendary "Straight Outta Compton" LP, and one of two MC Ren solo tracks on there. It's also notable for actually being completely clean on an album that is famously...not. Leaning away from the "gangsta" vibes on the rest of the record, he's just in Hip-Hop party MC mode, but nothing corny - never would be with him really! Dr Dre is on the beat as always, several years before the G-Funk sound many people associate with him; instead you just get hard drums and some James Brown samples lying back there in the mix. As much as this is a 1988 record, it really doesn't sound quite that old.

Michael Jackson : I Can't Help It (Todd Terje Remix)

Here we have a modern remix of a track from MJ's big breakout solo album, 1979's "Off The Wall," as constructed by the Norwegian producer Todd Terje - I have to admit, I thought it might have been an alias of Todd Terry, but in fact his name was chosen as a tribute! The original was masterful and not really to be bettered, but the remix just brings in a lot more percussion and is also much longer; I've cut it short here but it carries on for several more minutes. This came from a promo vinyl of MJ remixes, so probably not the easiest to find - and also part of the reason for the questionable sound quality, it's not your headphones...

De La Soul : Breakadawn

I did think "is it too obvious?" and then remembered that not everyone listening will actually know these records. This was the first single from "Buhloone Mindstate" and from the first time I saw the video on "Yo! MTV Raps," I knew it was a winner. There's a lot going on in the production, from the main sample from the original of Michael Jackson's "I Can't Help It," to the Smokey Robinson snatch for the hook, and other bits besides - have a listen out. The lyrics and delivery very much reflected their "grown man" style, so to speak - despite not even being old at the time of release, they wrote with the gravity of the industry veterans they were. Top quality record.

BR Gunna : Somethin Good

This was such a short instrumental I had to loop it up a few times to use it here! BR Gunna was a group made up of Detroit's Black Milk, Young RJ, and Fat Ray, and this track came from an obscure release of the "Dirty District Vol.2" EP. Just something a little laid back to give you a quick break on the way into the home straight...

Michael Jackson : Starlight

Rareness! I know you don't know about this one - ok, a few of you might - but I want to have just one small collar-popping moment :D The album we now know as "Thriller" was originally going to be called "Midnight Man" and this would have been one of the main singles. When the decision was made to flip the whole concept of the record and go darker, Rod Temperton came up with the title "Thriller" and this demo was reworked, remixed, and re-written to become the giant record we have today. Can you imagine a world that didn't have "Thriller?" I can't. Anyway, all things considered I'm sure you'll overlook the sound quality on this one just for all the history points :) If you want a real rundown from someone who was at the very core of the work, check out this interview with the master engineer Bruce Swedien.

Alena : Changes (Ron Basejam Remix)

I think this was another internet radio find! I'm not even sure exactly what genre this fits under - house-ish, maybe? - but I think it's a great record. Did a little research on it and apparently it blew up back in 2011 when it came out, deservedly so in my opinion! I can't actually find any info on Alena, but wouldn't mind hearing more of her - the nature of the track means we only get snatches really. And who is Ron Basejam, you ask? Well, we put it through the anagram machine and we get James Baron, one of the members of the electronic group Crazy P - great job by him on the bouncy production. I haven't been able to find the original, but Yam Who have another remix which you might like!

The Coup : We Are The Ones

Street revolutionary direction on this one from the "Pick A Bigger Weapon" album. Boots Riley is one of the sharpest thinkers in Hip-Hop, and his approach on this is hilarious, with the faux-posh voice and associated vocabulary telling the story of someone you totally wouldn't associate with the delivery. He self-produces it too and brings in players for the guitar, bass, and keys to give it a real live feel.

Big Daddy Kane : Nuff Respect

Getting hype with it, going to the soundtrack for the 1992 Ernest Dickerson film "Juice" - well worth having. There's a lot of great tracks on there and I'm sure I'll be returning to it on a future episode. For now, you get King Asiatic Nobody's Equal spitting ridiculously over a hectic Gary G-Wiz and Hank Shocklee track. Very much of its era, and all the better for it.

Toni T : Disco Groove (Siesta House Mix)

I'd be lying if I said I knew who Toni T was really - I picked this track up on a Mastercuts Beach Bar compilation. It gets the nod here for fitting in smoothly between two other tracks I wanted to play, and also using a classic b-boy break as the main element! Nominally I suppose it's house, but without that four-to-the-floor kick pattern, it really does come off as something else.

Ice-T : Lethal Weapon

Huge track from the "Iceberg" LP. Definitely playing this one for me, as it was a huge favourite for me when I first heard it back in high school - and even more once I saw the video! That image of all the hoods in the library really stuck with me - in fact, I suppose they kind of looked like me! Afrika Islam and Ice-T make the beat super hectic in a way that just doesn't happen these days and Ice keeps right up with it lyrically. And how often now would you hear a big-selling artist explicitly telling you to take yourself to a library?


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_61.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 12:25pm EDT

Shaded

"Why you wanna fuck up my last few days with the news?"

- Suga Free

I seem to have ended up with a reasonably high proportion of West Coast records on this month's mix, at least nine tunes - didn't plan it that way, it was just how it came out! Tough picks this month but I think there are some interesting ones you may not know - get in touch and let me know how you like it!

One link promised in the show - free tickets for the last In The Loop cypher session, and two others - Janelle Monáe controlling the crowd, and then the whole place exploding in the climactic pillow fight and crowd surf!


Playlist/Notes

Yo-Yo : Black Pearl

I have never heard this record anywhere outside my own house! First caught it on "Yo! MTV Raps" many moons ago and loved it, so was very glad to come across a 12". One for the women from one who famously went head-to-head with Ice Cube on his track "It's A Man's World," this is the title track from her second album, which I've not heard in full but will definitely pick up if I see a copy! The beat is provided by a crew I've not heard of - Down Low Productions, doing a nice job with something that could easily have fit in with some of the rougher, slower New Jack tracks of the time.

Dam-Funk : Mirrors

I actually hadn't paid much attention to Dam-Funk until I saw him in the Stones Throw documentary "Our Vinyl Weighs A Ton," and I found his story interesting enough to go back and check for his music. He worked for years trying to get his career going before being picked up by Stones Throw and this track comes from his debut release; the five-vinyl opus "Toeachizown." It's definitely his own take on soul and funk, in a space-traveller kind of way, produced by Leon Sylvers III, who was instrumental in many of SOLAR Records' hits back in the 70s and 80s.

Suga Free : Sana Sana

Quite a polarity change from the opening track! Again, I may not co-sign Suga Free's admitted day job, but my goodness he can rhyme. That opening verse packs plenty in, and I would have never taken him for someone who'd drop that kind of anti-war/draft lyric - followed succinctly in the hook with the adlib "draft these nuts" :D Second verse starts off with the classic quote that makes up this month's epigram, before switching to another language altogether! I don't really speak Spanish, but I understand enough to know that verse is nothing nice. At all. Co-T handles musical duties, with the kind of beat that I can't really hear anyone else rhyming over - very tailored to the artist. Just one piece of heat from the excellent "Smell My Finger" album. 

(As an aside - his line of "I gotta be honest with you sargeant, you give me that gun, I'll probably shoot you with it" reminds me somewhat of this quote from Malcolm X speaking in 1965; "This is what they thought of you and me in those days. For one thing, they didn’t trust us. They feared that if they put us in the army and trained us on how to use rifles and other things, that we might shoot at some targets that they hadn’t picked out. And we would have. Any thinking man knows what target to shoot at. And if a man doesn’t, if he has to have someone else to choose his target, then he’s not thinking for himself—they’re doing the thinking for him.")

Tash ft. Raekwon : Rap Life

From the Alkaholiks, Tash released a pretty decent album in "Rap Life" which apparently just didn't sell that well. Shame as there were some quality tracks on it - this isn't even my favourite but fit well in the mix. Production comes from Young Lord, and an energised Raekwon helps out on the mic while they trade tales of splashing out music money on cars, jetskis, and plenty more...even if it's true, a far cry from today's industry! This is the clean version from a 12" album sampler - I actually greatly prefer it with the censoring. Oh, and if it's not blindingly obvious, I put in that little pause and cut at the end of the first verse - thought it just added a bit of extra flavour :)

Murs & Fashawn : Peace Treaty

Staying West Coast again, we take a cut from the "My Generation" collaboration album, calling for and dreaming of a truce between Los Angeles' gangs. Both headliners hold it down on the lyrics, as you'd expect, and they are given some quality production to ride by Beatnick and K-Salaam; special mention must be given to the cuts in the hook, sampling Watts native Kam's 1993 "Peace Treaty," which itself spoke on the topic of the real 1992 gang treaty. Great homage.

Janelle Monáe ft. Esperanza Spalding : Dorothy Dandridge Eyes

Janelle's range is so incredibly wide that there's no one song that could give you a picture of just what kind of artist she is, so I just chose a quality song from her latest album ("Electric Lady")! This is apparently inspired by a particular scene ("the jeep scene?") in the film "Carmen Jones," but I've not seen it so can only speak on it as a stand-alone piece - top notch groove, could fit in with some of the 80s Quincy Jones productions, just a really nice track. The multi-talented jazz musician Esperanza Spalding comes in on the second verse and it's a winning combination.

Lex (de Kalhex) : Revelation

I went scouting around on Bandcamp for something new here, and found a compilation by "The Find" magazine which was centred around jazz-style beatmaking, from which I took this track. Nothing crazy, but I thought the pianos and live-sounding drums would lead into the next track nicely!

Sean C & LV ft. Styles P, ASAP 12vvy, & Charlie RED : Tomorrow May Never Come

These guys are the kind of producers who can sneak right past you, but they've been doing big work for years for all kinds of artists - Jay-Z, Big Pun, and Clipse to name but three. Sean C was actually a co-founder of the legendary X-Men DJ crew which gives you an idea of the kind of pedigree he comes from. The duo released a free producer project "Loud Dreams" which linked them up with a wide roster of vocalists, and this is a track that stood out for me. 

DJ Babu ft. Little Brother, Joe Scudda, & Darien Brockington : Fan Mail

California production but a North Carolina roll call on the mic - two-thirds of Little Brother alongside Justus League compatriot Joe Scudda, and Darien Brockington on the hook. I got this on an unofficial 12" pressing, but this was on Volume 3 of Babu's "Duck Season" projects. Just in case you didn't know, before becoming the DJ for Dilated Peoples, Babu was one of the founders of the Beat Junkies DJ crew and also invented the word "turntablist" to describe one who plays the turntable as a musical instrument. In short, a man worthy of respect in this culture!

Joey Chavez ft. Iriscience & DJ Babu : Live

Back-to-back Babu! This time he's strictly on the turntables, doing great work cutting up the phone call sample from the closing verse of A Tribe Called Quest's "Keep It Rollin'" on the hook. Joey Chavez gives us some straightforward but low-key boom-bap, and Rakaa Iriscience comes with the kind of lyrical style you'll know from Dilated Peoples. You can get this one on the 2001 "Original Structure" EP, which is still available digitally should you be so inclined.

Large Pro ft. Nas : Stay Chisel

Great little track that originally appeared on Large Professor's "1st Class" LP. That version transitioned straight out of what you hear here into a second, rougher part with Akinyele on the mic; this came of a 12" which helpfully had them both edited into separate tracks. I've heard the original sample for this and it's actually not been changed much at all - sometimes, the best thing to do is get out of the way and let the loop rock...

Washed Out : Feel It All Around

I got Netflix the other month and discovered an odd little comedy called Portlandia, and thought the intro music was interesting, so decided to search it out - this is it. Washed Out is a musician out of Georgia who put out his first releases in 2009 - about the same time the podcast started! He cites Hip-Hop as an influence without being part of the culture directly; hopefully he'd appreciate being included here.

Capone-N-Noreaga : Illegal Life

You can't take anything away - 1997's "The War Report" was an incredible debut and definitely one of the best records to be released that year. I think this was the first CNN track I heard, and it's still right up there as one of my favourites! Tim Westwood played it on Radio 1 and me and my friends were bugging out about it the next day; that eastern-sounding sample coming off like it's playing across a desolate desert sandscape, neck-snapping drum programming (by Havoc of Mobb Deep), and a bassline that has only a passing interest in melody - just grit. Tragedy Khadafi cooked up a mean piece on this one. When it comes to the rhymes, you were getting that raw street business and nothing but that - which was really what these guys were all about. Remember when it was reported at one early showing of the film "Juice" that someone was shot at a cinema? Well...adolescent Noreaga would have to put his hands up to that one...

Cesar Comanche ft. Kenn Starr & Rapper Big Pooh : The Future

Proper excavation from the archives, a nice Justus League B-side. All the MCs hold it down - in fact, I could stand to hear a little more Cesar Comanche about the place! Nothing crazy topic-wise, just showing out. DJ Resident shows a little Pete Rock influence on the beat, I'd say. This is a B-side to the also good "Miss You (Remix)," but is also on the 2005 "Squirrel And The Aces" album - not got it, but might look out for a copy.

Stacy Epps : Movement

I pretty much have to check for everything she puts out. Found this on Spotify but then bought it from Bandcamp, where you can find it on the "AURA" release (which actually looks incomplete on there). Short but sweet, she delivers the vocals low-key and rides along with that tasty production - unfortunately can't find a credit for it, one of the problems with digital releases...

Lacks : Beautiful

Gorgeous bit of production here, very much befitting the track title. Detroit's Lacks (now known as Ta'raach) crafts a great track; that bassline and then the harp (?) make it. Well, those and the countering string line that runs behind the bass. Drums are tight too. Ok, pretty much everything. If you see a copy of "Re:Lacks // Vol.1 With The World" (yeah, odd title), pick it up as it's got some really good tracks on there.

[Madlib] Prince Po : Mecheti Lightspeed (Instrumental)

I've never been a huge Madlib fan; people who know me know that about me. Nevertheless, when he nails it I have to give him his credit and this right here is one of those times! Wicked B-side to "Holla" (which itself was on the podcast way back on episode 11), get this 12" if you see it!

Dr. Dre : Let Me Ride

One of the doctor's best! The closing section of this song, for me, is just perfection, with the sung hook interplaying with the sample of Glenn Goins singing on Parliament's "Swing Down, Sweet Chariot" - that's the kind of beauty I'd like to have played for me when it's all over and I finally return to the Earth. This solo track was the final single from "The Chronic" and rightfully won Dre a Grammy in 1994. I wonder if he knew how much his life would change in twenty years...


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_60.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 1:45pm EDT

(12/52) Neighbourhood Watch

"...for listeners, blunt heads, fly ladies, and prisoners..."

- Nas

This April marks both four years since the passing of Guru and twenty (!) years since the release of Nas' "Illmatic," so I had to pay homage to both on this episode. We start the show off at blunted speed and work our way up to the dancefloor!

Couple of links I promised you;

The Soul Twins new podcast is here - give them some support!

Watch Deez' selection for Groovement. Coming up!


Playlist/Notes

Black Josh : Purple Rain

Slightly left-field and admittedly drug-enhanced lust story, with a beat that just makes me want to rewind and drive slow! With Metrodome on production, 40% of Manchester's Ape Cult, a young crew on the rise, get busy on this one from the "Blick Flair's Ape Mountain" album.

The Mouse Outfit : Kickstart (Instrumental)

I was privileged enough to be treated to the instrumentals from the "Escape Music" album, and this track fits in nicely here. The album has been getting a lot of well-deserved respect, which has been really good to see. This particular track has an unusual sound for a group who are primarily known for their live instrument chops, but it shows that they can definitely get versatile with it!

Onyx & Wu-Tang Clan : The Worst 

Ok, sorry about the pun :) Did you ever see "Ride?" Nope, me neither. Those mid-90s film soundtracks were a clearinghouse for all kinds of studio offcuts, but you'd always be guaranteed at least one quality tune and this is the one on this occasion. Couldn't afford the 12" when it first came out but managed to pick up the whole album last year for a few quid! On this hardcore meeting of the minds, you have Fredro, Sticky Fingaz, Sonsee, and X-1 on the Onyx side, and Raekwon, Method Man, and Killa Sin (from Killarmy) representing for the Wu. The verse structure obviously has to lean away from the three 16-bar model, and of particular note is how Sticky and Meth share the closing verse - rightly so. The production is handled by Latief; if you know the original sample, you'll appreciate how just a small amount of rearrangement can do good things!

Planet Asia : Place Of Birth

One of the Cali Agents puts in the work on a lovely Evidence beat. Heard this one for the first time this month, but it fit beautifully into this spot! This is on the 2000 "Always Bigger And Better Vol.1" compilation on ABB records, but was a 12" release back at the time too. Planet Asia has definitely kept grinding away over a 16-year career, so if you like his rhyme style you'll be able to find plenty more material out there. 

Gang Starr : Jazz Music

This was the first Gang Starr tune I ever heard, back in about 1989 - on a mixtape that was followed by NWA's "Boyz N Tha Hood." Memories! Anyway, this is a great little track from the debut "No More Mr Nice Guy" album - 25 years old this month - with Guru reminiscing on the history of jazz, and DJ Premier with an early production credit. Nice work with the Ramsey Lewis sample, and the little transformer cuts still get me even though I could pull them off myself these days!

Roni Size / Reprazent : Play The Game (Extended)

Looove this one. It was a pain to get hold of though - the original version on the UK album is much shorter. The last track on the "In The Mode" LP, it's a complete change of pace from the rest, which is very high-tempo D&B. Onallee is strong on the vocals, and the instrumental behind her is classily done. Bristol can justifiably be proud of this crew.

No I.D : Jump On It (Instrumental)

Just a little Chicago here, a head nodder from the "Sky's The Limit" 12" and the "Accept Your Own & Be Yourself" album. Nothing complicated!

Marlena Shaw : California Soul

A soul classic! Only a short piece though, to warm you up for the track to follow. I thought this was the first version of "California Soul" but it was in fact one of a series of covers, with the original being recorded by The Messengers in 1967.  This wasn't even a single for Marlena Shaw, but what turned out to be a standout album track that ended up hitting for those in the know. Pretty much everyone knows it now, and rightly so.

Gang Starr : Check The Technique (Remix)

Here we go with a slight tweak on a well-known classic! I have this on a compilation of Gang Starr rarities but I think this has had a 12" release. It's not wildly different to the original that was on the "Step In The Arena" album, but it's got a liberal sprinkling of extra horns. Thought I'd throw this one in for the older heads just in case they hadn't heard it.

Oh No ft. Wildchild : Stomp That, V.2

That bassline does the damage. The title is no affectation - there was at least one previous version of this track already. The MC and producer who was at the time of this release primarily referred to as "Madlib's brother" had to be given props for a very solid debut album, 2004's "The Disrupt," and this was one of the top tracks. Using the bassline from the same break as X-Clan's "Verbs Of Power," Oxnard's own give us some quality alongside Wildchild of Lootpack - Madlib's old group!

Common Sense : Soul By The Pound

Never knew when this came out what kind of a career this guy would have, and I don't think there was necessarily any indication here. Still, this was a well-regarded track when it came out as I recall. Didn't realise this was the third single from "Can I Borrow A Dollar?" - it was certainly the first track I heard from him. Produced by Immenslope, who later changed his name to No I.D, it just pounds away on the low end leaving plenty of room for the MC to operate. As I'm sure you know, he eventually had to shorten his name to just "Common" because these guys forced it - probably a pain at the time, but overall I think the cropped version did ok :) 

J-Live : Not Listening

This impressed me on the very first airing when it came out online a few weeks ago!  It sounds like it comes out of sheer exasperation at a lot of the material out there right now, and the always-insightful J-Live even notes that there are plenty of other songs saying very similar things. That said, a lot of those tracks lack the honesty to say that a lot of records saying nothing...actually sound really good! You could level the same accusation at most genres, but he's speaking on what's closest to him. Atlanta's Korede handles the beat, and this is a great preview for the "Around The Sun" album, which should have just been released as you read this.

[The Neptunes] MC Lyte : I Can't Make A Mistake

From where I was standing, this 1998 single pretty much disappeared even though it was blatantly a big reach for radio - I bet most people won't know it, and the rest will only vaguely remember it! I like this beat, it is very much the sound of The Neptunes as we first came to know them, and this could easily mix with a track like N.O.R.E's "Superthug." Brooklyn's Lyte is more known for her late 80s/early 90s output like "Poor Georgie" and "Ruffneck," but this is towards the tail end of her recording career. Even though this didn't hit big, I can understand trying to work within the sound of the time!

Roger : So Ruff, So Tuff

Easily one of my all-time favourite records, and I used to be unbeatable at video games whenever this was playing! Regular listeners to the podcast will know of my love for Roger Troutman's genius, and this is one of his finest tracks. From his first solo album, 1981's "The Many Facets Of Roger," this has been heavily sampled and is a true funk classic. The talkbox harmony at 41:07 is absolutely flawless, the highlight for me of an amazing track. 11 out of 10.

The Whispers : Keep On Lovin' Me

Only got up on this one earlier this year, after Phonte guested on the "The Black Guy Who Tips" podcast and they were all laughing about the video :) I'd imagine the best known Whispers track is "And The Beat Goes On," but they've been doing it since the 60s, with changing members over that time - sadly, often due to health reasons or deaths. They had a heavy run in the 80s on Dick Griffey's Solar Records, which is the time period this track comes from, with Leon and Ricky Sylvers killing it on the production.

Zo! ft. Eric Roberson & Phonte : We Are On The Move (Original/Black Coffee Remix)

The reason the Whispers video came up in the first place was that they did their own take on it when it came time to do a video for this song! Zo! is a multi-instrumentalist and producer from Detroit who has quietly racked up ten solo albums dating back to 2001, three EPs, and a handful of collaborative projects. From his latest release, "Manmade" comes this uncomplicated and beautiful track, with Eric Roberson doing a bang-up job on the lead vocal, ably assisted by Phonte (formerly of Little Brother). I also thought I'd do a little blending in of the Black Coffee remix (I think done by the South African DJ?), which takes it into a house style and makes its own additions. Appreciate.

The Jones Girls : Nights Over Egypt

The preceding track reminded me very much of this for some reason! An old classic, but only introduced to me at Zumbar in Manchester in the early 2000s. A phenomenal soul track that only peaked at #23 in the US R&B charts back in 1982, this should have been a big hit. Another Detroit act, the Jones Girls were backup singers for many years - working with Diana Ross and Aretha Franklin to name but two - before striking out on their own. This track was on their third album, "Get As Much Love As You Can" and written by the combination of Cynthia Biggs and the brilliant keyboardist Dexter Wansel. Beautiful late-night cool.

[DJ Spinna] Akil : Hey Luv (Instrumental)

It's that patented DJ Spinna bass on this B-side from Beyond Real. Not to be confused with the MC of the same name from Jurassic 5, Akil only had a couple of solo 12"s out, as well as a track with a group known as the BX Crew. The little organ sound in the background is a nice little link to the final tune of the episode...

Nas : Memory Lane

So many great tracks on "Illmatic," which was released twenty years ago this month, but this might just be my favourite. Despite only being 19 at the time, Nas reminisces on life and Hip-Hop from his own perspective - he says in an interview for Spotify Landmark that he felt able to do so because he had lived an accelerated life. Great lyricism, and a top-shelf DJ Premier beat - five-star track.


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_59.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 1:10pm EDT

Untitled

"I do shows, I go home, I spell my name in cash like I'm Busy Bee..."

- Konny Kon

March is here again, and so we celebrate the life of the great Biggie Smalls. Spread love, it's the Brooklyn way!

Here are the links for things mentioned in the show;

EPMD tickets? If you're in Manchester (or anywhere within reach), you really should...

The podcasts I mentioned were Peer Pressure Radio (the URL for subscription is http://feeds.feedburner.com/peerpressureradio/INMq) and In All Airness - both great listens!


Playlist/Notes

The Notorious B.I.G : One More Chance (Hip-Hop Remix)

Definitely preferred this to the first remix! Rashad Smith and Puffy throw out the smoother vibe and go with a stripped down instrumental based on the same break as Marley Marl and Craig G's "Droppin' Science," somehow more fitting for Biggie's raw take on his way with women.

Akinyele : In The World (Large Pro Remix Instrumental)

Just dug this up on a white label I had hanging around - sound quality isn't the best but hopefully you can appreciate it all the same. While I actually preferred the DJ Enuff-produced original (also on episode 30), this is just trying to do something completely different sonically, harder and darker.

[Easy Mo Bee] Craig Mack : Flava In Ya Ear (Instrumental)

One of the best beats ever, not in needless complexity but just in that...ugh! Easy Mo Bee kills it with that one-note guitar sample pitched up and down, and possibly the greatest drum sounds you'll hear anywhere, programmed just right. Every aspiring Hip-Hop producer should study this beat.

Craig Mack ft. The Notorious B.I.G, Rampage, LL Cool J, and Busta Rhymes : Flava In Ya Ear (Remix)

One of my favourite remixes of all time, with a classic Biggie verse leading things off. The beat is only slightly tweaked (hell, there was nothing wrong with it), this version is all about letting the MCs get busy. Craig Mack (second verse) was a decent rhymer in my opinion, but at best he's the fourth best on here - though looking at the lineup, there's no shame in that! This track also has one of my favourite Hip-Hop videos, a minimalistic masterstroke from Hype Williams before he went fisheye crazy, and if it's to be believed, then the cuts on here are courtesy of Funkmaster Flex, putting the icing on the cake!

EPMD : Da Joint

With EPMD coming to the city in April, I had to include one of their tracks this month. This was the first single from their fifth album, "Back In Business," which as you might expect from the title was the first one after their reunion. At the time, everyone was just ecstatic to hear Erick and Parrish together again, and this Erick Sermon and Rockwilder-produced track was a great one to come back with. For those that don't know the old skool (note : that's before Run DMC :) ), the hook is a direct reference to the Funky Four Plus One's 1980 single "That's The Joint" - know your history, kids ;)

Call O' Da Wild : Ruffturrain

Find of the decade! Let me qualify that :) I first heard this on Radio 1 in 1996, but as far as I know they never mentioned the track title or the artist, so I just had it down as "Riders Of The Storm." I spent a long, long time trying to find out what it was, using every method I could think of to search it out, but to no avail. This year I decided to dig the tape out, record a bit, and mail it out to DJs I knew to see if anyone recognised it. No-one knew the record at all, but Agent J of Groovement correctly identified the main sample, and then Obelix of Too Many Cooks worked out the artist and title! Great work by those guys, Barron Ricks and Angelo Campanioni on the mic and Cypress Hill's DJ Muggs with the dark and sinister beat. Turns out that this track was only released as a promo 12", which I splashed out on as soon as I found a copy on Discogs. Unfortunately, the album went unreleased by Sony after they handed it in and the duo broke up shortly after. Crying shame, because if they had anything else like this, it would have been a really quality LP. 

The Notorious B.I.G ft. Beanie Sigel, Black Rob, Ice Cube : If I Should Die Before I Wake

Tracks like this feel a bit unsettling to listen to in hindsight, given what happened to Biggie. It's also one of the tracks that was constructed around his unreleased lyrics posthumously, but one of the best I think. The "Born Again" LP this comes from is unfortunately (and understandably) pretty patchy but has a few good bits, this one included. Charlemagne, Coptic, and D-Dot cook up a beat that could easily have been on "Life After Death," and the MC roster is one that definitely makes sense - if anything, Ice Cube is the wildcard but easily the best.

Dubbul O & Pro P : Slang To Ya Brain

Manchester material from one of my favourite MCs on the scene right now, alongside the man Pro P on the beats; both these artists are being really productive and coming out with polished material. This is my early favourite from the newly released "Omega" LP, and has the characteristic darkness that these guys can summon up at will. You can name your price on the album, so check it out and see what you think!

Large Pro : After School (Instrumental)

Another Large Pro beat - only occurred to me after I'd recorded it all! Head-nodding 12"-only release, this is the B-side to "The Beginning," which is an ill track indeed.

Nas : 2nd Childhood

A nice beat from DJ Premier, but an unusual one structure-wise; even if you don't study these things, you might get the feeling! Easily one of the standouts from Nas' "Stillmatic" LP, and one of those tracks that for me show clearly why he's one of the greats. The stories of people stuck in their lives and not moving on ring very true, and the music behind him has a kind of bittersweet sound to it. I will always, always take Nas over Jay-Z when it comes to the rhymes...

Children Of Zeus : Elevate

More Manchester for you! Mainstay of the scene Konny Kon combines with Tyler Daly for this track which is actually just a demo - but that hasn't stopped me having it on repeat since I got it from their Soundcloud! They self-produced this track and the music is just beautiful, and will only shine more with a final mix. On the lyrics, Konny is smashing over buildings on his verse, and I can't get enough of Tyler's hook. When this album is mixed and released, it's definitely going to be one to check for!

Gaelle : Moonsglow

Love with bass! I last visited the "Transient" LP on episode 9, so I think it's fine to head back for more :) This album closer is one of the top tunes on there, downtempo and gliding. Just to mention one small point of detail, this is Exhibit A on when to use a shaker rather than a hi-hat in the rhythm track - listen and imagine it had been done the other way.

Source Direct : Love & Hate

Bit of a change-up here with some D&B which manages to be sparse but kind of luxurious at the same time. One of the select few five-star tracks on my iPod, it's one of the best tracks on Source Direct's "Exorcise The Demons" album which has darkness aplenty. Those of you who listen to D&B regularly (I honestly don't) might have a different opinion, let me know!

EPMD : Scratch, Bring It Back (Part 2 - Mic Doc)

This might be far from the biggest track on the "Business Never Personal" album - which I have a horrible feeling may have been deleted - but I've always liked it since it flipped my wig back in the pirate radio days! All about that second section with the beat change, and the amazing DJ Scratch cuts. EPMD got through a lot of DJs in their time (K La Boss, Diamond J to name but two) but when they got Scratch they stayed with him. Good move. Besides being a ridiculously ill DJ, he also carved out a very respectable career as a producer, which basically means everyone in the group is top shelf on the beats :)

Freak L : When The Pen Hits The Paper

Now this is seriously obscure! I heard Dan Greenpeace play this once on the radio, but I'd never heard of the artist before and hadn't seen any records around either. When I eventually came across it in Fat City years later...snatched it up! This is the B-side (yes, it wins again) from a 1988/89 12" which was produced by Vandy C but was mixed by the late great Paul C. SP-1200 goodness all around, with absolutely stacks of samples thrown into the mix - none of which I'm telling if you don't know them, since I doubt there was any clearance! Freak L only put out a couple of singles, but that's two more than most, and he shows his mettle on here.

Diamond : Best Kept Secret (Remix)

If you're a long-time listener, you might have caught a chunk of this on episode 12 when I did a whistle-stop tour around the "Stunts, Blunts, and Hip-Hop" album, but it fit well here and I thought the whole track deserved an airing! Diamond is a production legend in his own right but for this remix he brings in Mark The 45 King, and this is just vicious - the relentless bassline makes it.

Chic : (Funny) Bone

A nice little funk/disco workout which closes the 1978 "C'est Chic" album, though this was also on the B-side of the "I Want Your Love" single. Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards hold it down on the guitar and bass, and Tony Thompson on the drums gets that little extra accent with the claps on top of the snares. Not a big hit as a track by itself as far as I know, but a great tune!

The Notorious B.I.G. : "Microphone Murderer" (1991 demo)

Note: The interview segment you hear in front of this comes from the Juan Epstein podcast, it's well worth listening to the whole episode!
This track was before everything you ever heard, a 19-year-old Biggie slaying the mic on a demo with the then local DJ 50 Grand on the turntables. When Big Daddy Kane's DJ Mister Cee heard it, he loved it and played it for Matty C of the Source who then got B.I.G into the "Unsigned Hype" section, which was then read by Puffy (or Diddy, as you may know him now)...and the rest is history!


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_58.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 1:30pm EDT

it's for you.

"I'm a lion in the day, I'm a tiger at night..."

- Illa J

It's February again, so once again we remember J Dilla, Big L, and Big Pun, as well as Donald Byrd. Sadly, we add a local name to the roll this month - the man known as Salford John. Each of these men gets their moment in the selection; I hope you find it worthy.


Playlist/Notes

Fat Joe ft. Big L : The Enemy

Claaassic. In a gathering of hardcore heads, this one will always get the heads nodding and someone rhyming along! I was working out which Big L track to play this month and a video I was shown recently made the choice for me, though this track really focuses on racial profiling. L snatches the starring role on this brilliant A-side, but both MCs get busy on the eerie DJ Premier beat. Nighttime track for sure, you can find this on 12", Big L's "The Big Picture," or DITC's debut album. No excuse to miss it really!

K-Def : Preying Mantis

Bit of a horror-film sounding beat from K-Def's "Beats From the 90s Vol.2" vinyl, useful one to have for the DJs and beat connoisseurs :)

Fat Joe ft. Raekwon, Armageddon, and Big Pun : Firewater

"95% alcohol, 5% cancer?" Serious! I first heard this on Radio 1, I think it might have been Westwood's show by then (when it was good), but can't really remember. That little ringing sound in the Showbiz beat caught my ear, and it's just straight head-nod 90s flavour. All the verses are dope, but of course it's Big Pun's aggro closing verse that gets this on the show this month. This was one of his first appearances, and this classic B-side (to "Envy") had him blazing with the hunger of a new MC aiming for the top. 

Jigmastas : Resurge

They're back! DJ Spinna (easily one of my favourite producers) and Kriminul return from a long hiatus with this track that was kindly made available for free on Spinna's Soundcloud. It's the first peek at the forthcoming "Resurge" EP, so be sure to support that when it comes out.

All City : Afta Hourz

The "Metropolis Gold" album is a bit of a mixed bag to say the least, but besides the two killers "The Actual" and "Priceless," I found this low-key boom-bap piece I thought would be worth sharing. V.Black on the beat with an assist from DJ Premier on the mix, it's just that 90s filtered bassline flavour with a sprinkling of piano. If you see the album cheap, grab it, but as I say it's patchy so don't overpay!

De La Soul ft. Mos Def & Truth Enola : Stakes Is High (Jay Dee Remix)

This month, for twenty-four hours only, De La Soul gave away their entire catalogue for free download (I posted about it on my Facebook page!) and when I was flicking through the files, there was a collection of remixes that included this version I didn't know. As it turns out, it's a Dilla production so that's yet another reason to include it this episode! The original "Stakes Is High" was a great record of course, but this remix definitely stands eye-to-eye with it. You should recognise how the bass is based around the main melody of the original, and I think the drums here are actually better. This is how you rework one of your own classics.

Grussle : S.U.F.L.A.N

I thought I'd already played a track from The Beat Tape Project's "The Ghostface Beat Tape" album, but I was wrong! Anyway, this is a nice track I found on there which I could definitely hear the man in question rhyming on. Grussle is a producer from the DMV (DC/Maryland/Virginia) area who has a well-stocked Soundcloud page, so if you like this then give it a visit and check him out!

Cake Boys (Illa J & Frank Nitt) : Do It For Dilla Dawg

Win! Heard a rough instrumental on one of the many compilations of Dilla beats that you see circulating, and always loved it - great to see it used at last. Family affair on this one, with his brother Illa J and longtime friend and colleague Frank Nitt (of Frank N Dank) grabbing the mic. Dilla's beat on this is just super-staccato on the verses, with a super-tight snare and those stabs coming out with the little delay/reverb going on. Fire. Got this on the "Rebirth Of Detroit" CD this month at Manchester's "J Dilla Changed My Life" gig - there are some other quality tracks on there, so expect me to come back to it in the future!

I.G. Off & Hazadous : The Nicest

I digitised this months ago, ended up not using it, then realised it gave me the perfect bridge between two tracks. It's also an appropriate selection for this month because unfortunately I.G. Off is no longer with us. I.G. Off & Hazadous were actually unsigned according to Discogs, but put out a few 12" singles in the late 90s/early 00s on Spinna's Beyond Real Recordings label. This particular track was on two of those 12"s, as well as the "The Beyond Real Experience" compilation, which also includes a couple of their other cuts.

Phife : #dearDilla

Very new track from another artist who can claim to go way back with Dilla, as part of A Tribe Called Quest of course. Phife said "I’ve been wanting to record a dedication to J Dilla for the longest, it just seemed to finally be the right time to do it," and the patience shows in the quality of the result. Never one to bite his tongue, Phife speaks on what he doesn't like in the scene today, what he remembers from an earlier time, and most importantly - his feelings on the passing of a friend.  Someone I've not come across before, DJ Rasta Root, is on the production and he does a very nice job - taking the same drums as on Slum Village's "Hold Tight" and sampling plenty of Slum/Dilla classics for the hooks. On top of all that, he's got a KC & The Sunshine band loop running through it alongside guests on the keys (V.Rich) and bass (DETOXXX). Fittingly quality material.

Hexs and Miranda : I Don't Know

Friend of the show Hexsagon returns with another piece of quality production! Hexs and his fellow Arizonan, the MC Mr.Miranda have kindly given us the totally free "The H&M EP," which you can get over at their Bandcamp page. It's uptempo for the most part but this is the more reflective closing track, with Hexsagon's clean and refined production leaving the perfect space for Mr.Miranda to shine! On top of all that, it's got a nicely-executed video. Phoenix rising!

Donald Byrd : Onward 'Til Morning

The jazz trumpeter (and Hip-Hop guest star) Donald Byrd passed away in February last year and after sitting in the house listening to some of his stuff, I thought it'd be good to include one of his songs this month. From the 1976 "Caricatures" album, it's hot even before Byrd grabs the trumpet, at which point it becomes amazing. Enjoy the mastery.

The Step Brothers ft. Roc Marciano : See The Rich Man Play

Evidence and The Alchemist have been working together at least since Alchemist was producing stuff like "Worst Comes To Worst" for Dilated Peoples, and at last we get a full-length collaboration project - the "Lord Steppington" album. It's got that backstreet, sample-heavy grittiness to it, and is definitely worth picking up. Also, it has a track called "Swimteam Rastas," so is worth buying for that reason alone :) Anyway, this track is one of my favourites, and Roc Marciano is the perfect guest to close it out - the beat could have some straight from one of his albums. The lyrics and the subdued are definitely conjour in my mind images of a late night casino and the dashed dreams of the gamblers...dope.

Massive Attack : What Your Soul Sings

I never really got into the "100th Window" album, which was a bit of a departure with only 3D of the original members taking part. Despite that, this track was easily a standout for me - beautiful pulsing and gliding production, and the always-interesting Sinead O'Connor on the vocals. Also, although it's subtle, check how much the guitar adds to the track. In fact, that comment just prompted me to do a little web research and it turns out that guitar riff is the only surviving piece of the original six months of recording sessions!

Genaside II : Under The Bridge

One of those little-known favourites from the collection. I didn't even know this was a cover version until a long time after the fact, as I'm not a Red Hot Chili Peppers listener! Great British production from the excellent "New Life 4 The Hunted" LP, working the speed trick of starting around 72bpm and then doubling up in the drums outside the verses. In my opinion, this album top-to-bottom sounds like nothing else. UK reggae singer Rose Windross was a great choice to sing this too, total switcharound from Anthony Kiedis on the original.

Skitz ft. Task Force & Juni : Rainy Day Science (Remix)

The "Sticksman" album had a very different flavour to the debut Skitz producer project "Countryman," which is only to be expected with the nine-year gap. I preferred the first one, but there were definitely good tracks on the second and this is one of the interesting remixes; Brothers Of The Stone's BVA puts in the work here with all kinds of reversing and effects on the vocal samples. On the mic you have some real veterans of the scene, Highbury's Task Force, and then Juni who I don't know - but the whole package works.

Three 6 Mafia : The End

Memphis style, but no Elvis! I bought this one especially for this episode after scouring my collection for the right instrumental for this spot; 70ish BPM is very slow for Hip-Hop, or at least the type I listen to. I'm not a Three 6 listener really but this tense 1996 track is top, DJ Paul and Juicy J on production getting busy with the guitar and drum machine. You can get this on "Chapter 1 : The End," their second album, but funnily enough...it's not the final track! That said, I've done exactly the same thing...

Bricky Mortar : Salford John

At the very end of last month, a man who was loved by many in the two cities of Manchester and Salford passed away. He was younger than me even, and lost his life because of the actions of some of the less evolved among us. I never knew him but certainly knew of him, and some mutual friends are really going through it right now because of his loss. Mancunian stalwart Bricks had done a track to big him up a few months ago, and there's no better time to let you hear it; he takes the idea of the hook from A$AP Ferg's "Shabba" and flips it into our local version on this drum machine workout. Gold indeed, RIP!

STOP PRESS : Dub Phizix, another close friend of John has just today released his own remix of the track here; it's an unrestricted download but he asks that you please make a donation to John's family in exchange - that's more than reasonable I think.


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_57.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 5:24am EDT

Black Under Pressure

"...and that's what's wrong."

- Bumpy Knuckles

¡Feliz año nuevo! Last month's episode was obviously a special one which called for a particular selection, so there were some killer tunes I couldn't use which I've brought into this one - then combined them with some extra quality material I've managed to get my hands on. 

As mentioned on the voiceover, the podcast is now on TuneIn Radio - that link will allow you to stream any episode on your computer, but you should also be able to find me on the search if you use the Android or iOS mobile apps, a Sonos device, or anything else that allows streaming. Just one more way to get me, and makes it easy to send on to other people to check out (hint hint :) )

Shows for the month coming are dead prez and Pharoahe Monch - don't miss out!


Playlist/Notes

Ken Cheong / Jacques Slade : Never Die Intro

I wish I could find a video of the whole scene, but this will have to do! I was properly rolling the first time I saw this episode of Community, and was determined to use this part to kick off the show for 2014 :) The absurdity of the scene was indicated by the fact that this teacher had supposedly had a track created just for this occasion, and I was pleasantly surprised that you can actually buy the full version - "I Never Die" by the LA rapper Jacques Slade (or "Kustoo"). 

T-Love : Chiquita

A bit of forgotten - or maybe just never-quite-known - Dilla production for the first full track of the episode. T-Love is an LA-native MC who debuted in 2003 with her "Long Way Back" LP, the sampler 12" for which I got this tune from. The discography I can find has her last release in 2010, but this multi-talented woman (she also produces, and was hip-hop editor for Urb magazine) looks to still be active, especially helping other artists coming up. Love indeed!

[DJ Premier] DITC : Thick (Instrumental)

Some late-90s boom bap for you! The slight offbeat-ness of the preceding track makes the mix harder than it might otherwise be, but this one is as on the mark as they come. Got this on a 12" but it's also the first track on the debut posse album by DITC (well, the vocal version, as you'd expect).

Raekwon ft. Mink : Rap Killers

Been searching for this one for absolutely ages, since I heard a snippet of what turned out to be a slightly different version on the second of Raekwon's "Vatican" mixtapes. The French duo Jazz E Cut and Skeezo are behind the boards and their beat bumps along very nicely, with the guitar licks and occasional vocal sample adding the flavour to the rewind-worthy production. Raekwon gives you the crime rhymes, and Mink (who I think is one of his understudies) puts his two cents in - little bit of a mismatch though. Hope your enjoyment of this one matches my pleasure in finding it!

LL Cool J : Life As...

Why, why does this tune never get any burn? Always been a top LL track for me, some straight up hardness from the "Mr.Smith" album, which is overall a bit of a mixed bag. Easy Mo Bee kills it on the beat, arranging a couple of handfuls of tiny stabs alongside his drums and bass to give LL a suitably tough backing for this shortish track. Never worked out why it wasn't just called "Life Of..." though...

Ugly Heroes : Ugly

I only really discovered Apollo Brown when he did the "Trophies" album with O.C, but he's a busy guy for sure. His new collaboration with Chicago's Verbal Kent and fellow Detroit native Red Pill, "Ugly Heroes" came out around the middle of last year, but this bonus track was released online a bit later. Big blasting track with all three members killing the mic outrageously and DJ Eclipse of Non Phixion contributing the cuts. Nice bonus, so do check the album.

Alchemist ft. Littles : Block Value

I'd be surprised if many people know this one - I'm not sure it ever made it to an album. When you get Queensbridge's Littles on a track, you'd be pretty safe to bet your house on him getting on the crime tip, and this one is no exception. The Alchemist takes the opening horns from Kool Moe Dee's "Monster Crack" and puts together a sparse track to keep the focus in the foreground -  most of the time there aren't more than two or maybe three things happening in the instrumental. You can get this on a 12" backed with Mobb Deep, Noyd, and Bars & Hooks' "More Like Us."

Kev Brown : Batida

The beat that grabbed me immediately from last year's "Songs Without Words," which I was checking on Spotify the other week. It reminds me a little of the flavour Pete Rock had on the "Petestrumentals" LP, and would blend beautifully with many of those tracks...just a tip for the bedroom DJs out there ;)

H.U.G : Rebel Radio

A healthy helping of strings from the MPC of J-Zone, who has one of the most unique styles of anyone ever to do it. H.U.G (or Huggy Bear) came out of Zone's camp and rides his beats effortlessly, with this being a prime example. You can get this on the B-side of the "Fuckin Wit Hug" 12" if you look around.

Bumpy Knuckles : Somn'wrong

Been playing this soooo much this month. Bumpy is holding court on the BS he sees in the rap game - a topic he does well - but also puts in the work on the production. This beat is serious, with that snapping and trapping drum track, and all sorts going on in the bass area; the pitch bends and slides make it extra ill. Grab this on Bumpy's "The Mix Files" EP, and turn it up!

Inspectah Deck : Trouble Man

This one gives me that real "Rotten Apple," grimy New York feeling. From Deck's first solo "Uncontrolled Substance," he gives us the thoughts of the man on the street going through it. Pete Rock cooks up the beat, chopping up some vintage Isaac Hayes, and the Sade-borrowed hook has Vinia Mojica making a quick guest appearance. A little buried on the album, but pride of place here!

Roc Marciano ft. Ka & Guilty Simpson : Squeeze

Another track that got a lot of headphone time for me this month. Roc has a knack for the unusual when it comes to production, and this track is a great example - hardly any drums, but hitting the snare drum on the first beat of every bar. Lyrically, it's the street business Roc is a prime exponent of, and his regular collaborator Ka helps out in his incredibly low-key style. Guilty Simpson is the surprise guest; he doesn't have the same kind of quiet flow as the other two, but still turns in a great verse. Easily my favourite track from the "Marci Beaucoup" LP.

[DJ Slip & The Unknown DJ] Compton's Most Wanted : Compton's Lynchin' (Instrumental)

Straight gangster funk on this instrumental version of a track from the "Straight Checkn 'Em" LP, which is an underrated West Coast classic. Get that one for the title track and the hilarious "I Don't Dance," which will surely make a podcast appearance at some point in the future! CMW (led by MC Eiht) were always a quality act but often overlooked (certainly in the UK) as "just another Compton group," which I thought was very unfair. Credit where it's due though - I first heard them on Pete Tong's radio show!

Talib Kweli : Inner Monologue

Half of Black Star, half of Reflection Eternal returns with his new album "Gravitas" which just came out last month. I'm actually not the biggest Talib fan usually but picked this independent release (at a very reasonable price) up to support and was pleased with it! This is the opener, with Talib spitting on what he observes in the current state of the industry over a Khrysis beat. The album is only available through his website, so head over there to get the whole thing!

Naledge ft. Brandun Deshay, J Davey, & Geechi Suede : Pearl Heist

Can't even remember how I stumbled on this one but this space-age thump and bass number from "Chicago Picasso 2" is alright with me :) You might know Naledge from Kidz In The Hall, and he brings along his partner from that group (Double-O) to do the honours on production. Subject matter is kind of all over the place,  but it's all about the flavour here really - especially with Geechi Suede cleaning up on the last verse.

Zero 7 : Pop Art Blue

Probably one of the more popular tracks from the "Yeah Ghost" album; I was lucky enough to hear this one live in concert before the album came out. A bit of a folk-flavoured number, with Martha Tilston on the vocals and the production centering around plenty of brush action on the drums. I've had it on the list of things to play for a while, not sure if it was too much of a left turn here but hopefully it doesn't lose you!

Busta Rhymes & Q-Tip : We Taking Off 

If this doesn't sound like a natural combination to you, you must have forgotten "Scenario," to name but one! One of the few brand new tracks from the new "The Abstract & The Dragon" mixtape which rounds up some of their greatest collaborations from over the years and adds on a few new gems. You can get the tape for free, so what are you waiting for? 

Gang Starr : Say Your Prayers (Instrumental)

Instrumental of one of the short tracks from the classic sophomore album "Step In The Arena," just something that fit nicely here. You're supposed to know that album, by the way :)

Ronny Jordan : Keep Your Head Up

An uplifting selection from a gifted musician who passed away this month, taken from his "Off The Record" LP. Nu Colours' vocalist Faye Simpson gives voice to the sentiment, and Ronny Jordan gets busy with his funky guitar licks in the band. On production, he has a couple of quality guys to help shape the vision - James Poyser (from the Soulquarians collective, and also sunny Sheffield) and Vikter Duplaix. Much respect!


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_56.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 1:30pm EDT

Teaching Civilisation

"Salute, pay homage, pay your respects"

- Rakim

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

Rest In Power Madiba. Amandla!


Playlist/Notes

Soweto Gospel Choir : Nkosi Sikelel'iAfrika

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

Prince Far I : Royal Palace

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

Public Enemy : Prophets Of Rage

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

X Clan : A Day Of Outrage, Operation Snatchback

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

Brand Nubian : All For One

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

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

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

Damu The Fudgemunk : Rather Unique 2

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

Jeru The Damaja ft. Afu-Ra : Mental Stamina

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

Life & Nappa : Soldiers

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

The Mouse Outfit ft. Sparkz & Bedos : Revolution

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

dead prez : Together

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

Apple Juice Kid : Transition

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

Rakim : Madiba

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

Junior Reid : One Blood

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

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

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

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

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

Patrick O'Hearn : Crossing The Divide

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

Ice-T : Prepared To Die

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


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

Direct download: Episode_55.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 11:33am EDT

Air/Predator

"The only test is to survive..."

- Patrick

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


Playlist/Notes

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

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

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

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

Frameworks & BluRum 13 : Moonlighting (Rondo Brothers Remix)

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

Scram Jones : Wildstyle

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

2Tall : The Rise

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

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

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

Tall Black Guy : The Big Payback

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

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

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

DJ Shadow ft The Federation & Animaniaks : Turf Dancing

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

Scritti Politti : A Place We Both Belong

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

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

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

King I Divine : Slick Pavement

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

Celph Titled & Buckwild : Miss Those Days

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

Redman : Lost Ones (Freestyle)

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

HKB Finn : The Path To Inner Peace

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

Questionmark Asylum : Hey Lookaway

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

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

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

Boot Camp Clik : Casualties Of War

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


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

Direct download: Episode_54.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 5:10am EDT

The Big Picture

"You too near me not to hear me."

- Big Boi

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


Playlist/Notes

Public Enemy : Show 'em Whatcha Got

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

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

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

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

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

Kool G Rap & DJ Polo : Poison

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

Outkast : Red Velvet

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

The ARE : The Chase

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

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

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

Skyzoo & Torae : Get It Done

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Logikbomb : Not Like Me

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

Wu-Block : Been Robbed

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

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

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

Mack Wilds : Keepin It Real

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

Rakim : NY To Cali

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

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

Superior Thought : Me & You

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

Nostalgia 77 ft. Alice Russell : Seven Man Army

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


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

Direct download: Episode_53.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 4:00pm EDT

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

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

- Boots

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

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


Playlist/Notes

Camp Lo : 52

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

London Posse : Money Mad

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

Deepo & Bricks : Let It Reign

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

Non Phixion : Rock Stars

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

Chris Lowe ft. PMD : Buckwhylin'

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

Kali Ranks : Kill Dem All

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

Dela : Get Busy

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

Souls Of Mischief : Let 'Em Know

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

Chalk : If You Must

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

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

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

Bahamadia : Dialed Up

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

J-Filt : Spanishmoodz

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

Kokane : Twilight Zone

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

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

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

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

Madvillain ft. Stacy Epps : Eye

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

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

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

Robert Glasper Experiment ft. Lalah Hathaway : Cherish The Day

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

Soul Supreme: Beat 17

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

The Coup : Lazymuthafucka

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


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

Direct download: Episode_52.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 4:30pm EDT

Across 7 Galaxies...For This?

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

- Sheyenne Rivers

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

A couple of links;

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

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

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


Playlist/Notes

George Duke : Just For You

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

Reks : Showoff Forever

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

9th Wonder : Just For You

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

Blak Twang : Surround Sound

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

Shadowman : Rap Shit

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

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

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

George Duke : Reach For It

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

Air Adam : Glaze

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

Tony Touch ft. Sean Price & Guilty Simpson : Random

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

Prodigy : P Broke The Switch

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

Run The Jewels : DDFH

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

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

Jaylib : React

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

Legion : Brazil

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

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

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

Ka ft. Roc Marciano : Soap Box

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

Sneaker Pimps : Walking Zero

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

Common ft. The Last Poets : The Corner

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

Lord Finesse & Roy Ayers : Soul Plan

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

K-Murdock : Dreams Come True

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

Camp Lo & Pete Rock : Dream Journey

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

Blue Stone : Dreamcatcher

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


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

Direct download: Episode_51.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 3:30pm EDT

DSCF3065

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

- Ced Gee

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

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


Playlist/Notes

Nas : Blaze A 50

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

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

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

Asheru : Boondocks Theme

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

A Tribe Called Quest : Award Tour

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

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

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

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

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

InI : Props

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

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

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

Tweet : Turn Da Lights Off (Remix)

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

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

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

Camp Lo : Posse From The Bronx

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bahamadia : Uknowhowwedu

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

The Mouse Outfit ft. Sparkz : Blaze It Up

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

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

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

Little Brother : Still Lives Through

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

Mathmatics : Visionz

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

DJ Quik ft. Wanya Morris : 50 Ways 

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


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

Direct download: Episode_50.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 11:48am EDT

Unbroken

"Peace to Mandela..."

- Erick Sermon

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


Playlist/Notes

4Hero ft. Jill Scott : Another Day

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

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

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

Trae ft. HAWK : Swang

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

Photek : KJZ

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

Jay-Z : Politics As Usual

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

Robin Thicke : Oh Shooter

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

Tony Dofat : Not Tryna

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

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

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

UGK ft. Twista : Something Going Wrong

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

Lisa Shaw : If I Could

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Waajeed : Proud

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

EPMD ft. Redman : Brothers On My Jock

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

Royal Flush ft. Noreaga : Iced Down Medallions

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

Latryx : Lady Don't Tek No

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

[Evidence] Planet Asia : The Medicine (Instrumental)

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

Zion I : Bird's Eye View

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


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

Direct download: Episode_49.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

Sleek.

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

- Rise

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

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


Playlist/Notes

Above The Law : You Might Get Stuck

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

[Alchemist] Casual : Gotta Get Down (Instrumental)

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

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

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

Rise : Part Of The Game

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

Homeboy Sandman : Cops Get Scared Of Me

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

DJ Quik & Kurupt : 9x's Outta 10

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

Only Child : Breakneck

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

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

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

Action Figures ft. T3 : Jumanji

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

Slum Village : How It Feel

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

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

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

Buckwild : Move Your Feet

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

Tekitha : Walking Through The Darkness

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

Steve Arrington : Nobody Can Be You (But You)

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

Roger : Everybody Get Up (EPMD Diesel Remix)

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

Trouble Funk : Still Smokin'

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

Mike R. Max : Nasty

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

Zapp : Playin' Kinda Ruff

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


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

Direct download: Episode_48.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 5:55pm EDT

(34/52) Lights, Camera, Action

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

- Guru

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

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


Playlist/Notes

O.C. : It's Only Right

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

Pro P : Friday Freestyle

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

Gang Starr : 2 Deep (City Lick Mix)

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

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

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

Slum Village : Reppin'

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

Special Teamz : Get Down

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

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

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

Brand New Heavies : Stay This Way (Slam Mix)

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

Ultramagnetic MCs : Chorus Line, Pt. 2

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

Fluke : Atom Bomb

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

Sway : Flo Fashion

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

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

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

Mr. Mike : G's Perspective

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

PRO ERA : Run Or Fly

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

Sir Michael Rocks : New Dress

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

Oceanlab : I Am Who I Am

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

The Underdog : From Beyond

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

Don Blackman : Holding You, Loving You

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


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

Direct download: Episode_47.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 4:50pm EDT

Harlem Nights

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

- Biggie

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

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


Playlist/Notes

Camp Lo : Lumdi (Remix)

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

Camp Lo : Krystal Karrington

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

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

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

The Mouse Outfit ft. Black Josh : Air Max

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

David Porter : I'm Afraid The Masquerade Is Over

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

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

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

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

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

Tall Black Guy : Make Life Better

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

Marco Polo w/ Big Daddy Kane : Nite & Day

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

Ahmad : If You Want It

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

E-40 & Ice Cube : Behind Gates

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

Heltah Skeltah ft. Vinia Mojica : Therapy

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

The ARE : Keep On Trying (Instrumental)

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

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

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

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

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

Clipse ft. Pharrell : Young Boy

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

Fat Joe ft. Big Pun : My World

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

pH7 : New York (Instrumental)

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

Public Enemy : Long & Whining Road

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


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

Direct download: Episode_46.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 7:00am EDT

Omen

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

- Tim Dog

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


Playlist/Notes

Caveman : I'm Ready (12" Version)

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

Public Enemy : Welcome To The Terrordome (Instrumental)

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

Big L & Kool G Rap : Fall Back

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

Pharcyde : Soul Flower (Wrong Tree)

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

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

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

KRS-ONE & Tim Dog : I Get Wrecked

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

J Dilla : Side 2, Beat 5

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

J Dilla ft. Havoc & Raekwon : 24K Rap

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

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

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

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

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

Mystro ft. Mr Thing : Mystentatious

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

Donald Byrd : Wind Parade

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

The Dazz Band : Let It Whip

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

Michael Jackson : Get On The Floor

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

Womack & Womack : Teardrops

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

Blue Six : Bittersweet

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

Nuyorican Soul : Mind Fluid

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

Wookie : Time

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


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

Direct download: Episode_45.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 3:00pm EDT

It's About To Go Down

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

- Buckshot

Droppin' it heavy.

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

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


Playlist/Notes

9th Wonder & Buckshot : The Solution

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

Large Pro : Still Hanging Out

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

Keith Murray : Escapism

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

Sadat X : Escape From New York

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

Joseph Cotton : King Selassie I Live

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

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

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

Mecca:83 : Detroit Twilight

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

Ras Kass & Doc Hollywood : Heidi Klum

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

Jasiri X : Universal Ruler

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

Raekwon : Lead Season

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

J-Live : Pronounced Spitta

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

[None]  PM and Universal : Monsterous (Instrumental)

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

Guilty Simpson : Make It Fast

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

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

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

Too Many Cooks & English : As The Record Revolves

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

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

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

A3 : LIML

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

Trinidad Steel Drummers : Cissy Strut

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


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

Direct download: Episode_44.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 4:30pm EDT

Big Coats We Inna

"...pay the reparations for the damage I'm doin'."

- B-Luv

The British winter hasn't properly kicked in, but we stay prepared. For some reason it was a tough task getting the selection ready this month, but there's a good scattering of different stuff and I can almost guarantee there'll be something on here you don't know! Let's get into it...


Playlist/Notes

Jim Jones ft. Noe and Tom Gist : Christmas Eve

Not exactly the most festive song, but then when else am I going to play it? Lyrically maybe a glimmer of a jewel buried somewhere in the second verse but overall, a healthy dose of ignorance I think it's fair to say! I never quite worked out how Jim Jones came out of the Dipset camp to become large as a rapper, but I guess I'm not the target market. This is from the Jim Jones/Skull Gang "A Tribute To Bad Santa" project...sounds about right! I do love the sound of the hook though...

Patrick O'Hearn : So Flows The Current

Serious left turn. I only learned who Patrick O'Hearn is this year (thanks to Peaceful Moments Radio!) but he's made his way onto my relaxation listening playlists. A composer who also plays a string of instruments, he was schooled in the jazz tradition before going on to do a couple of years in Frank Zappa's band, then branching out to play in the bands Group 87 and Missing Persons, finally ending up as a solo artist. This is the title track from his eighth solo album, and hopefully it might pique the interest of some of you. Going New Age on this one!

Saigon : Rap Vs. Real

Big early track on the new Saigon album "The Greatest Story Never Told 2 : Bread & Circuses" and it's a killer; I definitely respect what Saigon's been trying to do as far as bringing some conscience to the rugged side of the music. Strong message here, basically calling out everyone who trots out the usual stereotypical subject matter - or tries to live that life - without considering the other side. Just Blaze and Clev Trev bring out a suitably haunting soundtrack to back the words. 

Mad Skillz : Inherit The World

Long before he started doing a "Rap Up" of every year, Skillz had a "Mad" at the front and this was one of the final tracks on the Virginia MC's "From Where???" album. Nice combination on the musical side - Shawn J Period on the beat, and DJ Riz on the cuts, killing it with that sample from Onyx's "Shiftee." The album is worth checking - apparently but unsurprisingly it was out of print for years but is available now; notably, J Dilla is now the top-billed producer on the packaging, when he was just at the start of his career when this was originally released!

G-Dep ft. Faith Evans : Everyday (Remix)

2002 Bad Boy release - this is the remix but I think the original is pretty similar. Can't remember how I came up on this one, given that I never really followed his career at the time. It's odd listening to his records now knowing that he was holding onto such a heavy secret the whole time...

Dean Martin : Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!

Too! Many! Exclamation! Marks! I actually hate this song, but after hearing it at a Xmas house party, I got the idea of just playing a snatch of it before fading into...

Roc Marciano : Snow

...something a little more my speed! One of the standouts from the "Marcberg" album - heavy drums with that dusty, detached vibe underneath. Also worth checking the remix with Sean Price.

Pariah : Detroit Falls

Either Andy Peek or Agent J put me up on this tune originally, and despite my general dislike of anything leaning towards the so-called "future beats" style, this one can't be denied! I like the way it deceptively starts with the old soul sample before breaking it down like an organic compound (© Keith Murray) and drowning it in a sea of effects and bass - and yet somehow manages to keep the flavour. As far as I can tell online, Pariah is coming out of London but the exact identity of who's involved is a bit murky - the name Arthur Kayzer has come up more than once. Big props, whoever you are!

Mad Rapper ft. Desert Roze : Surviving The Game

Strangely, The Madd Rapper doesn't actually rhyme on this song from the "Tell Em Why U Madd" LP at all! However, under his real identity (Deric "D-Dot" Angelettie, responsible for a good chunk of big tunes), he does produce it - nothing groundbreaking but it works for me. MC-wise, I've never heard of Desert Roze before or since (and she seems to ignore that name in favour of "Mae West" in this track), but she sounds very influenced by the Lil Kim rhyme style of that era - in fact, I half expect someone to tweet me and tell me it actually is her! 

MF DOOM : Deep Fried Frenz

I must confess, I'm not the biggest DOOM fan - I mean, I liked KMD and thought "Operation : Doomsday" was very dope, but most stuff since then has been very hit and miss for me - and that's even before the pretty grubby history of live no-shows... Anyway, at least this track from" Mm...Food" is a heater! Bitter perhaps, but quality - and very appropriately uses a vocal sample from Whodini's big hit "Friends" and music from Ronnie Laws' "Friends and Strangers" - this info is already out there, I'm not trying to get anyone in trouble!

Raekwon ft. Altrina Renee : 86

That clean 80s R&B sound on production, but enough low end on it to make it...right. This is an early leak from an upcoming free EP Raekwon is recording, don't know if it'll be all this kind of stuff or if the rest will be a bit more rugged but I'm good with it. Now, where did I put my curl activator...?

Mica Paris : I Should've Known Better

Straight classic! British soul legend and Band On The Wall patron Mica Paris with easily my favourite track from her, a living testament to Chuck D's assertion that the "B-Side Wins Again!" This was on the flip of "South Of The River" and again on "I Never Felt Like This Before" (which is where I got it) - always a bridesmaid, so to speak. Mica and Omar collaborated on the production side...flawless victory.

Blahzay Blahzay : Federal Reserve Notez (FRN'Z) (Instrumental)

They may never again have reached the heights of "Danger," but they didn't stop putting out records after that first album! This was a self-produced 12" that came out on Game Recordings, not san essential on its own but one to look at if you're trying to complete a Blahzay or Game collection.

Red Cloud : In My Hands

Can't see many people outside some of the DJs having this one! Produced by the UK's own Nextmen and released on Bad Magic, this is the first of the only two Red Cloud 12" singles I can find any reference to. I remember reading he's a Native American MC (which rings true when you hear the name), making him a representative for a minority marginalised as a whole - even in Hip-Hop.  

People Under The Stairs : The Cat

This is a 12" I think the vinyl collectors should be trying to get! The A-side is this cool-sounding piece which I instantly liked, but the B-side ("Live At The Fishbucket Pt 2") is a more uptempo workout - I can't even find a Youtube link to it, but trust me, it's fire! Anyway, Thes One is credited with the production on here but he brings a few live instrumentalists in on this one to add to his flavour and it's a winner. Big Los Angeles business.

PRO ERA : Wrecord Out

This was just released a couple of days ago, on the free new "PEEP The aPROcalypse" mixtape.  PRO ERA is a pretty large crew of young MCs consisting of Joey Bada$$, CJ FLY, Kirk Knight, Chuck Strangers, and Capital STEEZ (RIP), and it definitely sounds like there's some promise there. This isn't my absolute favourite track on there (that honour goes to "Run Or Fly"), but it fit well here! Chuck Strangers on the beat, using the same Biz Markie sample that Tribe used on "The Chase, Part II" - sounds good again!

JVC Force : Keep A Handle

Ok, this is your second warning. Eventually you're going to listen to me when I tell you that you need the "Force Field" album in your collection. I've been listening from 1990 to now, and it still sounds quality -not necessarily current, but quality. This is a track towards the end, based on a sample from one of those undeniable 80s soul classics, "Don't Look Any Further" by Dennis Edwards and Siedah Garrett. (Watch the video. They don't make them like that anymore. Some would say "with good reason.") 

[Hypno] IMC : IMC Freakstyles (Instrumental)

This could almost be the poster child for the anonymous 12" that sinks without trace! 2001 release on Thoroughbred Entertainment/MyMan Recordings, it looks like it's out of California somewhere. This is the instrumental of the B-side, which is a freestyle. Is it a "must own?" No, not to me. However, at least you get a chance to hear it now rather than it shrivelling away on the shelf - which is part of what this is all about! 

The Brand New Heavies : Day By Day

Gorgeous uplifting tune to end the episode, from the 1997 "Shelter" album, with Siedah Garrett coming in as the lead vocalist. One of the great British bands in my opinion, and they've been doing it a long time without sounding "old" if you get my meaning - and having seen their live show for the first time recently (with N'Dea back on vocals), I hope they keep going for a long while yet!


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_43.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 1:00pm EDT

(22/52) Inside Game

"...the government lies..."

- stic.man

This was one of those months where I think I've really found some great blends with some very varied tunes - not an all Hip-Hop outing by any means, but stay with it :) Oh, and the episode title? Well, I may not have the biggest name, but those who know...know how I get down.


Playlist/Notes

Ab-Soul ft. Danny Brown and Jhene Aiko : Terrorist Threats

That. Hook. That could be the 2012 version of the big speech by Cyrus in "The Warriors!" I listen to The Combat Jack Show mostly for the chat/interviews but it was also the first place I heard this track - didn't know who it was or what it was called so I had to look it up, and it was well worth a purchase. This definitely falls into the category of the new Hip-Hop I'm not totally up on, but Ab-Soul is a Californian MC and member of a group called Black Hippy - this is no flower-power business though. He and Danny Brown connect on this with high-energy rhyme styles over Dave Free's slow, half-haunting, half-club beat, topped with Jhene Aiko's vocals. I need to put the "Control System" album on my homework list to see if there's anything else close to this!

[Timbaland] Aaliyah : One In A Million (Instrumental)

A true landmark record. It might be hard to remember but when this came out there was nobody doing drum programming like this - Timbaland unquestionably changed the game with his work on the "One In A Million" album. As an aside, I remember being at a battle at Jazz Cafe once where a band were playing in between rounds or something. When the drummer started playing this pattern live, the crowd went absolutely nuts! Aaliyah was definitely more established than Timbaland when this came out, but after having showed some of his style with his production of Ginuwine, this was really the start of the big breakout. A choice pick from a must-hear album.

School Of Seven Bells : Show Me Love

This is one of those records that'll throw people a bit! I don't listen to much at all in the "indie" lane but I do check out Shell Zenner's radio shows and one week I heard her play this record and it grabbed me straight away - heavyweight sound! This particular track reminds me a little of "Mezzanine"-era Massive Attack but that's just an observation. School of Seven Bells - or SVIIB as they're sometimes known - are a duo (formerly trio) out of New York City who blend electronic sounds with electric guitar and a style of dreamlike vocal that ticks my boxes. If you've got a system that does really good sub-bass, check the little sneaky licks under the main groove. Niiice :) If you're open on this, try checking the rest of the Ghostory album, their third - it's not the same sound all the way through, but it's a solid album which I'm glad I picked up.

Smith & Mighty ft. Tammy Payne : Move You Run

Such a great tune - extra-heavy bass, those background dub echoes and a crystal-clear vocal from Tammy Payne. I learned a top fact about these guys this month - they produced Massive Attack's first single! Now that is a serious credit, before you even get onto their own records. You can find this on the "Big World Small World" album, which is definitrely worth having if you like the British, West Indian-influenced sound. 

Pete Rock ft. dead prez : Warzone

I don't think anyone would pick this up as a Pete Rock beat without being told beforehand, or even after - at the time this came out, it was an incredibly radical departure from anything he'd previously been known for. The second single from his second solo album ("Soul Survivor II"), it might at first sound like a common-or-garden club record but as it progresses you quickly realise it's something a lot more dystopian and political - Admiral Ackbar might describe it as a trap! dead prez get it dead on point with the lyrics, taking the surface sheen off the stereotypical club scene as portrayed on so many other records and exposing the dysfunction beneath. On the beat, Pete Rock gives it a sense of tension and urgency - and just check how those drums explode at 15:44. Man's a genius.

Hijack ft. Huntkillbury Finn, The Icepick, and Shaka Shazam : The Contract

If you don't know, Hijack are one of the most important groups in UK Hip-Hop history - founded as a DJ crew (Turntable Trixters), the addition of Kamanchi Sly on the mic and the further expansion of the crew created a monster. The monster was so powerful that Ice-T signed them to Rhyme Syndicate Records - a hugely significant deal. The "Horns Of Jericho" LP is a must-own in my opinion, and this was one of the closing tracks; all the speed of what some would call the "Britcore" era, but with a bit of refinement also. Classic!

Leftfield : Afro Ride

The opening sections of this track are just untouchable for me when it comes to this lane of music; the drum pattern, keyboard and African-sounding speech (it's nonsense, by the way) together are just super motivating :) Back in the mid 90s, when I was spurning anything I thought came under the banner "techno," I happened to get the chance to review "Wipeout," one of the first releases on a little something called the Sony Playstation. There was a marketing effort being made to move gaming from something for kids to something for young adults, maybe after a night at the club or whatever. In keeping with the strategy, the soundtrack to the game was made up of tracks licensed from different electronic acts, and this was one of them. After playing the game, I couldn't front on the flavour of Leftfield or Orbital, to name just two - who says video games don't teach you anything? Big B-side on the "Afro-Left" 12".

DJ Quik : Quik Is The Name

Taking it back to 1991, you can almost smell the jheri curl juice! Title track from DJ Quik's first album, and one of the more uptempo Hip-Hop records you'll hear (in keeping with the next two). When I think back to some of the press coverage of the time, I laugh at the ignoramuses who saw him as just a "Compton clone," a follower in the shadow of NWA - they evidently failed to spot the enormous talent. Hopefully they ate their words in time - he's clearly one of the best producers Hip-Hop history, and is pretty handy on the mic too!

Ellis Meade : Do Not Follow

Ellis aka L-Digz is one of the new generation of Mancunian artists coming up - doing his own style and making his own moves. I first heard this on NouGold but since then it's been released as part of the free "Conceptions" mixtape, which you should definitely check out! Rare to hear a modern track tear along at this kind of speed but this stripped down self-produced number does, and Ellis flows over it with confidence and clarity. Perfect length as well!

Leaders Of The New School : Transformers

Supreme Radio in Leeds back in the day is to be thanked for introducing me to this tune! For those who are older but not Hip-Hop savvy, or those who are pretty young, this is the group Busta Rhymes was in before he became a solo artist. This is from their debut "Future Without A Past," which everyone should at least hear! Dante Ross kills the production on this one, and the scratching tops it off - funnily enough though, not many transforms...

Louie Rankin : The Sting

A second straight pirate radio discovery for me - released back in 1992, someone played part of the track once and I flipped out over it! Despite that, I never quite managed to come up with the money for the "Typewriter" EP before it disappeared from the shops - and this is the pre-internet era, remember! A few years later when I came to Manchester in '96 I found it for a bargain price on vinyl and here it is for your enjoyment :) Louie Rankin doesn't have a huge discography - most of his stuff is in the 1991-1993 period though he does go back as far as 1983 - but he's been in at least one film, playing Teddy Bruk Shut in "Shottas" (not a great film, but some quality quotes!)

[Alchemist] Mobb Deep : Got It Twisted (Instrumental)

Has this Mobb single already been forgotten? I think I'm the only DJ who ever plays this out! Alchemist uses the Thomas Dolby single "She Blinded Me With Science" and made it evil. I approve.

James Brown : Funky President (People It's Bad)

Everyone should know this one. Not to say you already do, it's just that you should! Apparently this track was written about Gerald Ford, but I'm repurposing it on some President Obama business. Opening track on the "Reality" album, which came into my record collection via my father's record collection ;)

LL Cool J : Cheesy Rat Blues

I can't think of a song anywhere that better (or more humourously) describes how it goes when you've fallen off! Great album track from LL's "Mama Said Knock You Out" LP. I did wonder how based in reality it was, but LL says it wasn't autobiographical. I can't help but picture him though! On the music side, Marley Marl's on production rocking that same sample that you might know from the ATCQ "Scenario" remix, and this track also provides the hook sample for another track on this same LL album - "The Boomin' System." That's good recycling right there.

Chris Lowe : Round & Round

Not the one from the Pet Shop Boys :) This is a low-key man with an interesting story - a student of the late, great Paul C, he was most active in the late 80s/early 90s and produced classic tracks like Stezo's "It's My Turn" before largely dropping even further into the background, apart from the occasional release. The "Black Life" album this track is taken from was released in 2004 but I could have sworn I read somewhere it was recorded several years before. Anyway, if you like the no-nonsense classic production style, and good-time rhymes in the vein of Large Professor - get yourself a copy!

N.E.R.D. : Lazer Gun

(Yes, with a 'z.') We need to get rid of this "bonus track" business. To think that any number of people who bought the 2008 "Seeing Sounds" album might have missed out on this song makes me sad inside. 

Ski Beatz : Ticket For 2 (Instrumental)

This needs to be on an airline commercial! Super-smooth production from the man behind Camp Lo's biggest tracks and some of the best of Jay-Z's first album. Got this on a 12" single - the main mix of the track has Camp Lo on the mic. Allow this to float you beautifully into the closer for this month...

Jazzanova : Takes You Back (Unexpected Dub)

So fresh, so clean :) One of less than thirty "five star" tracks on my iPod, it could have earned them just for that "I don't wanna lose you..." section at the start of the second verse - don't know why, just does it for me! The crew out of Berlin smack it out of the park on the production of this track from their debut album "In Between," with Desney Bailey supplying the vocals. The magazines might call it "nu-jazz," but whatever the label, it's quality and still a great listen ten years after release.


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_42.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

Unified.

"Loyalty's worth more than wealth."

- Cormega

Is is true that life begins at forty? If so, then there are a lot of good records still to come! Thanks for staying with me, and I hope you all find time to spread the word to other music fans. It's my birthday this month (not my fortieth, mind!), so I thought I'd start the episode by pulling out the kind of tunes that used to get me going in my younger days. Some of them may seem like odd choices, but without the podcast they'd be sitting lonely on the shelf...hope they make you smile at least!


Playlist/Notes

K-Solo : Sneak Tip

This is exactly the kind of track I mentioned in my very first post on this site - I heard it at home on pirate radio but then didn't hear anywhere else, ever! If you're an 80s/90s fan you might remember K-Solo was a part of EPMD's Hit Squad collective and despite coming out with the style of spelling things on records once slipped up with the lyric "like a B-R-I-D in the S-K-Y." Oops! Anyway, let's not get too distracted - this is a beast of an album cut from the 1992 "Time's Up" LP, and Solo spins a tale somewhere between "The Wizard Of Oz," the story of Little Miss Bossy, and a copy of Sneaker Freaker magazine. The track is somewhere around 107bpm which is rare as hen's teeth twenty years down the line but he flows comfortably over the drum-heavy Sam Sneed beat. Remember him from the Death Row days?

Count Bass D : 118th St.

Word to Nashville! Nice little instrumental track tucked away at the end of the A-side of Count Bass D's "Internationally Known" 12” - good for breakers, perhaps? 

Jane Child : I Got News For You

Yeah, going left-field on you early! I always loved Jane Child's "Don't Wanna Fall In Love" but didn't get a copy of her self-titled debut album until this year, though it was released in 1990. Anyway, having got it I found some tracks on there I loved and this is one. Sonically, it is very much of its time and couldn't be confused with anything more recent, but I think that's part of the charm. The vocal delivery really does it for me on this, really cold in the verses. However, I suspect this is a bit of a Marmite track for my audience :)

Ultramagnetic MCs : Traveling At The Speed Of Thought

First heard this one on one of Morgan Khan's "Streetsounds" compilations borrowed from the library. When years later I got a copy of "Critical Beatdown," despite its quality I was quite disappointed to hear the album version! This was an early case of the remix being a drastic departure from the original track - if anything, this one sounds a little like a Beastie Boys record. As much as I love it, it doesn't reflect the complexity of what Ultra were doing lyrically at the time - worth hearing though!

Force 'n' K-Zee : Jam (Hip-Hop Jam)

In my early days of building a vinyl collection, it's fair to say my budget was pretty limited. If I saw something cheap (we're talking pennies), and it was Hip-Hop, I'd probably just buy it - especially if it had ever been mentioned in Hip-Hop Connection. This is very much a piece from that era - a 1992 UK release from a crew perhaps best known for recording a Hip-Hop version of "Lord Of The Dance" which showed up on a British Knights advert once upon a time! Although I didn't realise it at the time, I think both MCs were pretty young when they recorded this, but they do their thing. However, despite the heavy rolling drums, the star of this track is for me the vocal sampling of Guy's "Teddy's Jam 2" - one of the few New Jack Swing records I actually liked!

Professor Griff & The Last Asiatic Disciples : Last Asiatic Disciples

I'd be amazed if even 5% of listeners have even heard this track! During Professor Griff's suspension/expulsion from Public Enemy, he signed with Skyywalker Records (headed by Luke from the 2 Live Crew) and took to the mic in a way he hadn't with PE up to that point. His 1990 debut "Pawns In The Game" wasn't a huge record and isn't a "must own" but did have a few solid cuts and this might have been the pick of them. Co-produced by Clay Dixon and Griff, you can definitely hear that Miami influence in those bass drops, while Griff and the rest of the group go Afrocentric on the mic. Glad to get a chance to dust this one off.

Massive Attack : Unfinished Sympathy (Instrumental)

You already know - or you should, at least. This is a classic British record, the second single from the debut Massive Attack album "Blue Lines." They would still be talked about now if this has been the only record they'd ever done, but they've come through style and lineup changes over the years and are still active. Apparently this instrumental was played on the last lap of all the distance races at the recent Olympics, but I didn't realise that; it just made for an interesting blend!

Raekwon : Respect Power

One of those "lost" soundtrack records. Remember when so many films had Hip-Hop and/or R&B soundtracks with most of the tracks having nothing to do with the film whatsoever? Yeah, like that. This was from the soundtrack to a film called "Whiteboys" which I have never seen, or for that matter heard of anyone else seeing, but there we go. Rae is on the street tip with the lyrics, nothing mind-bending but pretty dope - there is actually a radio version of this track that I prefer, but didn't realise it until I picked up this album and found the lyrics were different than I'd heard on a download many moons ago. That beat is still the same though, Infinite Arkatechs coming with some seriously dark production, all echoes and swooping sounds - love it.

Mic Geronimo : Lifecheck

Somehow this one didn't make the full impact on me the first time I heard it but it fits in nicely here and on revisiting it for this podcast, I found a new appreciation for it. Coming out of Queens, Mic had this on his debut album "The Natural" back in 1995 and Da Beatminerz blessed him with a beat which is just pure mid-90s all the way. Very nice, and well engineered - those ringing sounds had me checking if a phone or something was going off in the room, even on a pretty basic system!

Kool Keith : Livin' Astro

Kool Keith can always be relied on to come with slightly bizarre lyrics, though this is relatively tame compared to some of his crazier output! I always found his stuff a bit up-and-down outside the Ultramagnetic MCs albums, but there would always be something good on every release. This cut is from the solid "Black Elvis/Lost In Space" album which had some good tracks on including some of the last work by the great Roger Troutman. Someone working under the name "Nightcrawler" produced this, presumably before jetting back off in the spaceship...

The Mouse Outfit ft. Dubble O and Sparkz : Children Of The Stars

Carrying on the space theme. Manchester's Mouse Outfit are killing it right now with some absolute gems - you heard one last month and here they come again! Sparkz is back on vocals and brings along another Mancunian up-and-comer in Dubble O of Mothership Connection to spit some quality lyrics - very refreshing to hear stuff like this from the younger generation. You can get a copy of this from iTunes - don't sleep!

Cormega : Take These Jewels

A record coming from street experience, but a message everyone can relate to I think. Deep album cut from Mega's "The True Meaning" album, which is excellent from start to finish and still gets plenty of play from me ten years after its first release. DJ Hi-Tek (who most will know from Reflection Eternal) is on production, with some interesting sonic things going on - the interplay between the repeated guitar licks and the swirling background sounds is a winner.

[D-Dot] Puff Daddy & The Family : All About The Benjamins (Instrumental)

One of the all-time great beats. A raw gem from the Bad Boy catalogue, D-Dot made sure Puffy didn't get to this to add any extra "shine" and the result is flawless. There's loads of good history and trivia on this track, and rather than repeat it all here I'll direct you to just one interesting link. The beat itself is based around a sample from Love Unlimited Orchestra's "I Did It For Love" and showcases Industry Rule #2021 - slowing anything down makes it better :)

Jean Grae : Kill Screen (aka Steve Wiebe)

Outrageous new release! Jean Grae has always been one of the best out there, but she really shines on this new cut. To quote the lady herself; "540 words. 683 syllables. 52.54 syllables per sentence. Rappity Rap." Weak MCs, step your games up. This is apparently a cut from her upcoming album "Gotham Down," but got a bit of an early leak. Not sure who produced it but they leave a lot of room for the lyrics to breathe, which is just what was needed. Ill. Oh, and if you don't know who Steve Wiebe is? Watch this film... (seriously, it's fantastic)

Kardinal Offishall : BaKardi Slang

I know a few people who'll be loving the fact I managed to include this one! It was a single (from the "Quest For Fire : Firestarter, Vol 1" LP), did have a video, but I'm not sure it was a huge hit - shame, as it's a quality record. In the tradition of tracks like "Ebonics" by Big L or Karl Hinds' "Don Gramma," Kardi breaks down some of the local (Toronto) slang for the outsiders; with a lot of West Indian migration to Canada (got family there myself) over the years, a lot of it is actually not too different to what you might hear in some parts of the UK! When it comes to beats, I'm always more of a sample than a keyboard fan but Solitair's production on this is serious, with some nicely done synth work over Al Green-ish drums. A banger.

Sean Price : Jamaican

Staying with the West Indian vibe for another track! I've only got the radio version of this one, too bad it needed so many cuts! Quality lyrics from Ruck though, just thugging it out on an ignorance excursion. Production is by Khrysis, using the classic Sister Nancy "Bam Bam" - and as my man Mathmatics noticed first, check how the tiny snatches of vocal sample leaking through sound a bit like "Sean P!" You can find a full version of this on the "Master P" mixtape, which I'll definitely be coming back to for a future selection.

Jay-Z : In My Lifetime (Remix)

Only heard this for the first time this month; grabbed the "Streets Is Watching" soundtrack in a sale at Chorlton's King Bee Records for half price and this sombre number was on the end of one of the sides. Historically interesting because while the original "In My Lifetime" was Jay-Z's debut single, this remix was done by his mentor - and later nemesis - Big Jaz aka Jaz-O. Best friends become strangers...

[Q-Tip] Mobb Deep : Temperature's Rising (Instrumental)

This might be my favourite track on "The Infamous," even ahead of "Shook Ones Pt II," which everyone likes! Just keeping it to Q-Tip's cracking intro drums here, but then finishing the show with a nice blend into...

Patrice Rushen : Where There Is Love

...which was sampled to give the Mobb track its beautiful melody and bassline. This is a classic from the ridiculously multi-talented singer, composer, producer, instrumentalist...you name it. Get yourself this and a bunch more great tracks on the 1982 "Straight From The Heart" 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_40.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 2:00pm EDT

Olympic Records.

"Olympic torch flaming, we burn so sweet..."

- U-God

Been a big month - since the last show I've had an amazing trip to New York and also had the chance to see the Olympics in London! The idea for this month's cover art popped into my head while I was down there and I decided to put it together and see how it looked. Shout out to the man Node of The Charles Report for the loan of the blue and yellow records!

And to give you the links I promised;

More Bounce's events - "Trillmatic" ft. DJ Boogie Blind and Large Professor & Cormega - Queens classic!

In The Loop's 3rd birthday - will be recovered from two nights before ready for this one!

...and did you wonder who the "Bartendaz" I mentioned are? Trust, they don't serve alcohol, they serve this...serious!

Now let's talk about the month's tunes...


Playlist/Notes

Call O' Da Wild : New York Undercover

I reckon 99% of people fall into two camps when it comes to this tune - those who've never heard it, and those who overlooked it! Tucked away towards the end of the DJ Muggs "Soul Assassins Chapter 1" producer project, it lacked star power on an album containing everyone from Dr.Dre to Mobb Deep to Wyclef, and I've never heard anyone else mention it, ever. I love that slow-burn feel to it though, almost completely without drums - a serious rarity on a Hip-Hop record!

[DJ Life] Quakes : Fat Track Format (Inst)

It can only be said that this record languished, utterly forgotten in my collection. I think I grabbed it in a selection of other vinyls because it was on Son Records, but then it just kind of got filed away. Pulled it out this month to have a quick listen and found this nice little beat on there. I do know this is a 1998 release, but that's the extent of my knowledge on this one!

Samantha James : Rain

I think I became aware of Samantha James' debut "Rise" album on Om Records after having it recommended to me by Amazon based on previous purchases - about 5 years after it was released though. When I saw it for a decent price I thought I'd take a chance on it and was very pleased with the decision! It's all very well-produced electronic stuff but with her quality singing and writing giving the album its soul. Almost to underscore that the quality of the actual song stands separately from the production, there's an acoustic version which is just as good if not better. I think it's beautiful!

Nas ft. Cocaine 80s : Where's The Love?

One of those bonus tracks that really is a good addition, this is on the deluxe version of the killer new album "Life Is Good." In keeping with one of the big themes of the album, Nas devotes a good chunk of the lyrics to talking about the decline of those once considered street big-shots in their day - and as one of the best writers of all time, he does it with skill. Chicago's No I.D. turns it out on the beat, rocking the same drums as 3rd Bass' "Brooklyn/Queens" and then going over that with the dark instrumentation. Cocaine 80s was a new name to me but is apparently a Chicago collective including No I.D, Common, and James Fauntleroy - I would have to guess it's him singing on the hook, and I love it, fits like a glove.

The Mouse Outfit ft. Dr.Syntax, Sparkz, and Kosyne : Escape Music

Great new UK track, from the first listen it stood out as one I thought more people should hear. Music is provided by the on-the-rise Manchester crew The Mouse Outfit, whose live Hip-Hop shows are not to be missed if you've not had the chance to see them yet! They've really been putting the work in and hopefully will get that break. Alongside them on here are a quality trio of MCs - Dr.Syntax and Sparkz from Manchester, and Birmingham's Kosyne - who are all names to be watched. They've done this track as a free release, so grab yourself a copy here. While you're at it, have a look at the video helmed by bass man Defty - nice work!

Slum Village : La La

There's a version of this on the 2002 "Trinity (Past, Present, and Future)" album, but I'm playing this from a 2001 12" which seems a little more stripped down. Waajeed on production here, very understated.

DJ Spinna : Verbz

Just a little something from the "Compositions 2" instrumental vinyl. It feels like I know it from somewhere else though...did anyone ever rhyme on this?

Erule : Worldwide (Domination)

Fire. What a record! First heard this on a compilation I downloaded of "Hip-Hop you may have missed" or similar and it was the standout for me by a mile. In true older generation/DJ style, I had to have it on vinyl, but it turned out to be pretty tough to get - long out of print, and probably not a big seller the first time round! After balking at the first few Discogs appearances it made, I finally got in there and got a good copy at a price that didn't need me to sell (m)any organs. The track is stripped-down genius - more bass pulse than bassline, a few guitar licks and busy, super-snappy drum programming from a producer going by the name of King, and Erule (sometimes written as E-Rule) just annihilates the track with his precise, rapid-fire rhymes. An unsung classic, released in 1998 on Kinetic Productions - if you find a copy, don't let it go!

Cocoa Brovaz : Won On Won

From the "Rude Awakening" album, this is a good tune to get amped up with, and seems somehow newer than it is - can't believe this is 1997! Tek and Steele sound ready to jump out there and fight all the way through, and Sean Cane keeps the track bumping along underneath. I should play this one out more! Like a broken fishing line, no hook - simply doesn't need one. Clever use of the "One, one, one" sample though, took me a while to fully appreciate that it was being used as a soundalike to "Won On Won!"

Royce Da 5'9" : Hit 'Em

Keeping the aggro level up after the last track! Detroit veteran Royce needed to bring the fire out on delivery to keep up with the instrumental and does so in spades. DJ Premier is smacking the hell out of that piano with some crazy harsh electric guitar and some other weirdness dropping in, not to mention one of his trademark cut-up hooks. I think Royce was always one of those underrated when it comes to his writing, but in recent times with Slaughterhouse he's probably appreciated a little more.

DJ Jazzy Jeff ft. Pos of De La Soul : Let Me Hear U Clap

Not only is this a great track, but the piano makes it blend really well with the Royce record too. Ill production from Jazzy Jeff, with some deep bass, skipping hits, and an unorthodox sampling of Don Blackman's "Holding You, Loving You" - not the piece that everyone else would have chosen, but if you really know the record you immediately recognise it (or at least I did)! Pos solos it on the mic with the skill you'd expect, as usual. If you want to hear more, you need DJ Jazzy Jeff's "Return Of The Magnificent" album, especially at the price I'm seeing it for right now!

[No I.D.] Nas : Loco-Motive (instrumental loop)

I just liked the vocals on the intro, and the loop itself is hard. Nothing else to be said, apart from "'Life Is Good' is an excellent album which everyone should be checking right now" :)

Wais P ft. Roc Marciano : Jewels On It

Brooklyn's pimp on the mic is back, swaggering all over this Statik Selektah beat alongside the gravelly, stream-of-crime-consciousness that is Roc Marciano! My understanding was that this was an "official leak" from an as-yet-unreleased album called "Pussy Rich," but last I heard the forthcoming album is to be titled "Pimpin' Saved My Life," so who knows? The beat may have a vaguely familiar feel, especially to UK listeners - same break as this big hit from a few years back, but seems a bit darker somehow. The seasoning is provided by the cutting up of Prodigy's vocal from "Keep It Thoro" on the hook - right on the money.

Fresh/High Society ft. Camp Lo : Solar Powered II

When I saw this online, I won't lie - it was the words "Camp Lo" that made me click on it. Didn't know about the Fresh/High Society, but the duo of AO and Balistik out of NY seem to be attracting attention in the right places! This remix of their original "Solar Powered" features the Lo on vocals and Ski Beatz on the track to conjour up some gorgeous summer vibes. Very welcome even when your city is suffering from permanent rainfall...

Saigon : Spit

One of two tracks that seemed to make my shortlist for the last few months but didn't quite fit - finally got it on! Low-bass, thumping track from the "All In A Day's Work" digital-only release with Statik Selektah, which as the name implies was apparently all completed in a single day. Worth checking if you're a Saigon fan but not a patch on the more recent "Greatest Story Never Told" LP which you should *all* already have bought!

Gappy Ranks : Stinkin Rich

Another oft-shortlisted track which just so happened to blend well with the Saigon, so made it in the end :) Heard this on Manchester's Peace FM one day driving back from work and quickly jumped online to try and find it for myself! I don't keep up with dancehall as much as I might, but I did find that Gappy is a UK artist from Harlesden signed to the famous Greensleeves label. As I bought this as a digital release, I'm finding it tough to find who did the riddim but appropriately it's very much on the digital end of the scale, right down to the vocals - I can forgive that, this time :) Autotune is virtually always overdone, but here it just kind of helps the vocal to slot in I think.

K-Murdock : Neo Geo

The Panacea producer and friend of the show is back with a new instrumental release "Beats From The East" which is available for...well, as much as you'd like to pay for it! This beat samples the Japanese composer Ryuichi Sakamoto and has just a hint of the video game about it with the digital textures that make it up. Quality as usual.

M.O.P. : New York Salute

As much as I love this track, I think it's reasonable to assume it won't be adopted as an anthem by the New York Tourist Board. All the same, a big favourite since it came out on the 1998 "First Family 4 Life" album, M.O.P's third. With a cool, reflective beat like this, the stage is set for maybe a song about how peaceful life was back in the day, or about burning incense and doing yoga...naaaah! M.O.P produced the track and so it's their prerogative to yell over it about robbery, guns, and other local delights. Who are we to tell them "no?"


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_39.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 2:00pm EDT

tribute to the illustrator.

"To my peoples that I lost along the way..."

- Nicole

"To the G, still life is too quick..."

- KMG

I was going in a completely different direction with the selection for this episode until I got the news that the MC KMG of Above The Law, one of my favourite groups, has suddenly passed away at the age of just 43. Once I processed the news, I knew I had to feature some of his classic rhymes on this episode, and so went about replanning the whole thing. I could have done a whole ATL episode but will hold that thought for now...in the meantime, appreciate him on the tracks I drop this month.


Playlist/Notes

Above The Law : Adventures Of...

I'd been thinking about this as an opening tune for a couple of months, and this turned out to be the time for it. I originally picked this up as a promo 12" before the release of the "Legends" LP when I was in the second year of university...blew me away from the first listen! Straight away I called my fellow ATL fan Nick L to let him know they were back with more top material, and I know he agreed when he heard it. KMG brings his trademark low-key style on the second verse, Cold 187um (Big Hutch) fits in with the half-whispery flow over his own brooding beat, and Nicole Hithe rounds it off with her silky vocals. This here is the one...in keeping with several other tracks on "Legends" in particular, it speaks on the downside and the guilt of the street life, rather than the glorification some artists indulge in. I just found out this track was pretty much ripped wholesale on "Die Besten Tage Sind Gezählt" by Kool Savas and Lumidee, and let me say this - they weren't worthy. 

[Godfather Don] Cormega : You Don't Want It (Instrumental)

Wanted a kind of low-key instrumental that could bridge the tracks on either side and rediscovered this one, the vocal version of which is on Cormega's "The Realness" LP. Stripped of the lyrics it becomes a little quieter, a little more haunting. Nice work by the talented Godfather Don.

A Tribe Called Quest : The Chase, Pt. II

Overlooked track from the 100% classic 1993 "Midnight Marauders" LP; there's just nothing not to like! From the Biz Markie vocal sample to the back-and-forth on the mic to the Steve Arrington "Beddie Bye" main groove, the Tribe produce an absolute winner. Should have been a single!

Capital Tax : The Masha

One of those 12"s best known to either obsessive collectors or those who just happened to hear it when it came out (like me). Caught this one on pirate radio back in 93, taped it, and then never heard it anywhere else again, or for that much else by them! About four or five years later I found a copy in a Manchester record shop and snatched it up :) I for some reason assumed they were a New York group but they're a four-man crew out of Oakland with one album to their name, 1993's "The Swoll Package." Production is by DJ Smooth G, rocking the same sample as EPMD's "Please Listen To My Demo" - in fact, the record in question is on a back episode of the podcast, if you can find it...

Xzibit ft. Defari, Goldie Loc, & Kokane : Rimz & Tirez

Hip-Hop spelling FTW :) One of those tracks that makes you wish you were rolling a vintage Cadillac in the sunshine in Cali...instead of waiting for the bus! The conga drums in the background are the key to the whole sound I think, with enough space in the main drum pattern to bring them out; the bassline is just the finishing touch. Great production by Soopafly! When it comes to the rhymes, I think Xzibit's verse on here might be my least favourite - mostly because it just doesn't seem to fit! The closing verse is fresh though, taking on the persona of a car being passed from owner to owner. Definitely one of the top tracks on the "Restless" album.

Little Brother : Light It Up (Nicolay Remix)

I was never a huge fan of the first version of this track, which was originally an inclusion on the "Whatever You Say" single. The lyrics were cool, but for some reason I just couldn't get into the beat even though I'm usually a big fan of 9th Wonder - fortunately, Utrecht's finest Nicolay saw fit to give it a complete remix on his "Dutch Masters, Vol 1" project! I don't know how easy that one is to find but there are some nice tracks on the vinyl sampler so it looks well worth having the full release.

Taana Gardner : Heartbeat

Bit of a classic single here! This 1981 release on West End Records was a red-hot record at the time and has survived in the consciousness of people who never even knew it thanks to the many, many records that have sampled that bassline! When you listen to/mix with it, you realise the handclaps are wayyy behind the beat, but then this isn't one of your Ableton constructions...

Above The Law : Mee vs. My Ego

KMG leads things off on the mic here, on a real dark vibe - definitely the killer verse on this one. That said, it's interesting to hear Cold 187um go all the way from his usual animated style into dancehall mode - you can tell it's the early-ish 90s ;) I could be wrong, but for my money in 1993 there was no-one making tracks that sounded like this. Funky with that bassline but also so haunting and disturbed...absolutely in a lane of its own. There are so many different little pieces going on sonically that you have to remind yourself that this is the era before computer-based production became practical! A great piece, perfectly placed as the last full track on the "Black Mafia Life" LP. If you like your Hip-Hop, that's a must-own album, no question.

Real Live : Get Down For Mine

If you know, then you know! Larry-O and K-Def only came together for one album but it was very dope indeed - the somewhat hard to get "The Turnaround : A Long Awaited Drama." Outside that though, we did get this - a monster track from the "High School High" soundtrack which takes yet another sample EPMD used (coincidence!) but makes it its own. K-Def definitely doesn't have the kind of high profile as a producer that his skills merit! You can find this track, as I did, on the B-side of the "Wu Wear : The Garment Renaissance" 12".

Nas : Take It In Blood

One of those low-key Nas classics, taken from his pivotal second album "It Was Written." The lyrics have been commented on at length but what I didn't know until recently about this tune is that the beat was submitted by Stretch of the Live Squad who died before the record was completed. As such, they only had a cassette copy to work with, and no multitrack. Always thought it sounded a little grimy quality-wise, and that explains it all. What a track to be remembered for though.

Paris : Check It Out Ch'All

Taken from his second album, "Sleeping With The Enemy," which was the one that led to him being dropped from his record label. In the post "Cop Killer" era, they did not want the heat from someone who went at the president on his album! I always imagined this song being performed live on a soundsystem on an outdoor basketball court, it's got that kind of feel. Great self-produced, block-party styled tune from the San Francisco native mostly known for his ferociously political lyrics; even on this track where he's ostensibly just showing his flow, he gets a good amount in. A track that unfairly sunk into relative obscurity I think.

[7L] Outerspace : 151

One of the Philadelphia crews affiliated with Jedi Mind Tricks, I can't say I know Outerspace's whole catalogue but got a couple of copies of the "Divine Evils" 12" and found this killer on the B-side; beat from Boston's 7L, better known for his work with the MC Esoteric. Sonic drama, no doubt.

Apollo Brown & O.C. : Signs

One of the best new songs I've heard in ages - short but sweet, if that's the right word. Another insanely talented producer out of Detroit, Apollo Brown managed to somehow pass me by up to this point but my man Ro let me know about this album ("Trophies") and one listen (not even all the way through) on Spotify was enough to have me online ordering the CD! As for O.C., you should already know :) The DITC legend flows straight through here with some serious lyrics on the world today. Top rating.

Above The Law : Black Superman

Almost certainly ATL's best known track, this was the big single/video from the now out-of-print "Uncle Sam's Curse" LP; I remember that album took a while to really grow on me, but it's a definite classic. Of all the songs on the album, it's probably the closest to the "West Coast" sound most people would associate with the term (along with "Return Of The Real Shit"), and as such sounds very much of its time. Nice use of the talkbox too!

Sneaker Pimps : 6 Underground

I think I first heard this on some music TV channel in my parents' house - loved the lightness of the sound along with the Hip-Hop-styled drums (not to mention the De La sample)! A bigger hit in the UK than probably anywhere, but apparently it's been used in several films so they should be seeing some nice cheques (UK spelling) off the back of it :) This was the lead single from the "Becoming X" album, when Kelli Dayton was still in the group - it was a shame when she left, I thought her vocals really suited, but nothing lasts forever...

Nightmares On Wax ft. Sarah Winton : Finer

Late night Leeds coolness :) DJ Ease is a Leeds veteran and a huge influence on the music that would eventually be labelled "trip-hop." Primarily based around the low end, the production leaves lots of room for Sarah Winton's spacey, breathy vocal. Hands down my favourite cut on the "Carboot Soul" LP. 

Grand Puba, Sadat X, Sir Menelik : 7XL

This was a last minute inclusion - was going to stop the segment after the last track but the blend worked so well there's no way I wasn't keeping it! Two-thirds of the Brand Nubian MCs combine with underground lyric wizard Sir Menelik on a standardly amazing DJ Spinna production, making it a classic 12" from the golden era of late 90s underground releases. First person I heard play this was DJ Greenpeace on a mixtape, but it's probably best known for its inclusion on the Rawkus "Soundbombing II" mixtape/compilation - one you should definitely have. Ill tracks from top to bottom and the mixing handled by DJ Babu and J-Rocc, it was an essential for me in the walkman days and still is in the iPod era!

A Kid Called Roots : Mike Heron

Not to be confused with Twizted Rootz! Bit of a mystery record, just titled "A Kid Called Roots Volume XIII" on Hydrabeats that I grabbed up from somewhere; a compilation of instrumentals with each one named after a different record executive! I don't know if it was just a naming thing or if the beats were made specifically for them to hear though...

Homeboy Sandman : Look Out

A New York MC who found a home at Stones Throw Records, Homeboy Sandman was a gent and a great performer when he came to Manchester recently. He's confidently and ably doing his own thing and that definitely deserves props! I can't think of any tune that sounds quite like this one, the opener on his "Chimera" EP; that beat by Paul White sounds completely alien in the best possible way, and the mic work is the antithesis of the "party and guns" business that some people think sums up Hip-Hop. The man covers a lot of quality topics throughout his catalogue and is definitely worth checking out if you're even a little adventurous with your listening...


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_38.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 5:00pm EDT

Running, water

"Never a pretty boy, always a beautiful mind..."

- Malik

This month's title is kind of a nod to the ongoing NBA Playoffs as well as to trying to get through the struggles life can hit you with from time to time...all the same, back for another episode! Had a tough time picking tracks for this one but dug a few out I'd been saving for a while so hope they work for you!

RIP MCA, Chuck Brown, Donna Summer, & Robin Gibb...


Playlist/Notes

Bumpy Knuckles : Mic & Gun

Big opening tune! This track is actually a few years old, but it seems to have had the vocals re-recorded - I prefer the changes, but also liked the original delivery just a touch more! Anyway, that's maybe nit-picking - another ill performance from the New York third-verse legend on the mic (bonus points for the 52 reference) and on the beat, DJ Premier with another under-the-radar banger. Your best place to get this one is the deluxe edition (digital only?) of the new Bumpy & Premo album "Kolexxxion" which is definitely worth checking out; a few of the tracks have already been out so the DJs might know them, but it's overall a solid set!

[DJ Spinna] Dynas : Game Huntin' (Instrumental)

Thought this beat just worked well here, but I'd recommend peeping the vocal with Masta Ace and Krym guesting on it - pretty heavy co-signs all round! 

Phat Kat ft. Elzhi : Cold Steel

Organised chaos all over this track! Gun talk from both sides of the equation in fine style on the first two verses by Detroit mainstays Phat Kat & Elzhi, with Kat coming back on the last verse to just go out battle style. Dilla comes through with an outrageously hard beat - not sure if he was alive when the lyrics were recorded but the two elements go together lovely :) Extra-gritty video too.

Mic Geronimo : Up Now

From the 2003 "Long Road Back" album (though I got this on a digital download), the Queens mic holder who brought us "Masta I.C" and "Shit's Real" resurfaced after a long absence on this gem, with production by another Queens stalwart, the legendary Large Professor. The flavour on the beat isn't the old-school Extra P but more of the sound from the "1st Class" album - not everyone's bag but in some places I think it can work, and I think this is definitely one of those places!

Samson & Sejour : Rock Rock Y'all

Is it the little tweaking electronic sound? Is it the constant back-and-forth style? Is it the nice little samples at the start? I don't know what it is, but there's something about this track I really like despite it not being anything crazy on the surface! I picked this 12" up a while ago mostly because it was on sale, which is fortunate because I've never seen or heard it anywhere else. In fact, I've not heard of this New York duo before or since, though the producer Mark Ronson has maintained a decent career. I expect some of you will really like this but a fair few others will be pretty nonplussed. Thought I'd put it out there anyway!

Al B. Sure! : Nite & Day (Onra Edit)

Ridiculously ill - first time I heard Agent J play this re-edit I stormed to the DJ booth to find out what it was! French producer and 80s soul fan Onra gives us a short and sweet bass-heavy re-edit of Al B. Sure's 1988 classic, which you can find on Episode 14 of the podcast as it happens! You can currently get this free on Bandcamp so run there now and treat yourself! Even though the original track is very much "of it's time," I think there's just something classic about it which means it'll always be being sampled, edited, or interpolated somewhere...I do still laugh at super-dramatic moves in the video though :)

Nu Vintage : Raw Essentials

The "Beats & Dreams" album was just one of those finds after an evening browsing Bandcamp, though as it happens I think I might have first heard a little something on NouGold. I thought I'd paid for this one but it seems to be a free download now so worth a listen. S/he is pretty sparse on details but I reckon I'll check back for more sometime!

Malik Yusef ft. Kanye West, Common, & JV : Wouldn't You Like To

"The most critically-acclaimed wordsmith in the game?" I think that might be stretching it a bit, but nonetheless a good track :) I heard this first on a compilation of Kanye tracks called "The High School Graduate" seemingly made up of tunes he did before he really blew up big [ Incidentally, watch this :) ]. The drums thump along in what was then quite a signature style, everything else floats around them nicely and then the lyrics take it from there! Great track that was on Chicago native and poet Malik Yusef's "The Great Chicago Fire" LP (which I haven't heard) and also the "Coach Carter" soundtrack LP (even though it wasn't in the film itself).

DJ Jazzy Jeff : Da Rebirth

A little non-album cut from the "The Magnificent" EP, this one showcases Cy Young on the mic reminiscing about the Golden Age of Hip-Hop and just bounces along nicely with the stuttering horn stabs and ill drums; thought this was an actual Jazzy Jeff beat but in fact Kev Brown produced it, little more of an upfront and aggressive sound than a lot of his other stuff (which I still love, let's not get confused here). As far as I know, Jazzy Jeff does come in with the ridiculously ill scratching to round off the package though - if you're in the know, you know how pioneering a DJ he was back in the day - peep him on this 1986 recording...

Casual : Chained Minds

Pretty poor vinyl pressing, Casual's "Fear Itself" (what a title) was a quality album! Coming out of Oakland, Casual's been a mainstay of the Hieroglyphics family from the start and is still roasting the mic right up to the current day. On this one he handles the (excellent) production himself and shares some of the lyrical shine with the man Phesto from Souls Of Mischief, speaking on survival in an aggressive world. Classic track, still a favourite after over 17 years!

Slick Rick : It's A Boy (Remix)

Extra Extra P! Another Large Professor production, with those heavy 90s SP-1200-style drums and the laid-back bass and vibes on top. Perfect backdrop for The Ruler's silky-smooth styles on the mic! The original version of this is on the "The Ruler's Back" album but I *think* this remix is only available on the 12" release of the single. An essential for the vinyl collectors!

Chuck Brown & The Soul Searchers : Ashley's Roachclip

1974 tune, one of the classic Hip-Hop breaks! I can hardly imagine how many times this has been used, I know it's shown up in a couple of past podcast tracks though...I'll let you go and find them ;) If Chuck Brown had done nothing but this track, he would still be notable. but as one of the inventors of go-go music as well...an immortal. 

Beastie Boys : Hey Ladies

Is it intellectually edifying? Nah! Would we expect anything less? For the younger listeners, "Paul's Boutique" isn't just a clothing line ;) The second Beasties album can only be described as sample overload and is definitely one of those projects that could never be produced and released in the modern era - the cost of clearing all the samples would be astronomical, even assuming you could do it! I have to smile when I hear the drums right at the end, which ended up being sampled by another legend - I've looped them up a bit here so see if you recognise them!

Fusion Unlimited ft. Big Tone : Up 2 U

The first time I read about Fusion Unlimited it was an interview by Soulman. They were getting deep into chatting digging and sampling so I was quite surprised when I eventually heard his production on this; I like it, just not what I expected! Big Tone I'd never heard of at all, but I think he carries this one well. As it happens, Discogs has him with two albums in his discography but they've never come to my notice. And on the B-side to this single? A little someone called Joell Ortiz...

Parliament : Flash Light

One of the standouts in the Parliafunkadelic canon, hands down! Release in 1977 (a great year), this came off the mighty "Funkentelechy vs The Placebo Syndrome" LP. The low-end is serious, with Bernie Worrell on the synthesizers - I've heard them claim this is the first song ever to use a synth bass, but someone else could probably confirm or refute that! Sampled countless times, it's just part of our fabric now...

Rodney O & Joe Cooley : U Don't Hear Me Tho

West coast attitude in spades! Coming out of LA loud and proud, Rodney O spits some serious venom on this track, taken from an album which in an inspired, low-key, subtle way was called "F__k New York." Musically, this plunders some of the biggest funk tunes ever, and topping it all off is Joe Cooley on the cuts - one of those DJs not much spoken of nowadays but definitely influential! Check him out on this old tape or battling DJ Cash Money at the 1987 New Music Seminar!

T La Rock : Breakdown Dub

Big up to my man Jerry Beeks for blessing me with this vinyl! A futurisic MC who was ahead of his time but still sounded somewhat of his time, T La Rock split production duties on this one with the man Special K. 80s drum machine business all the way! Check the vocal version if you don't know it, old gold :)

Jeep Beat Collective : Hip-Hop Love, Hate, & Hope

(or at least, that's how I've seen it labelled!) Picked up this vinyl not that long after arriving in Manchester, and from that day to this it sounds amazing. A piece in three movements masterminded by Manchester's own Dave The Ruf, it's a brilliant example of instrumental/DJ composition - glad to finally have chance to play it for people!


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_36.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 3:00pm EDT

Prescription Strength

"My real name is Kunta Kinte"

- Keak

Despite being a little under the weather this month I feel great about the selection! I'm paying respect to the great Guru, dropping a couple of ill new releases, and of course dipping into the vaults for some too-often-overlooked gems - 58 mins of goodness. Enjoy listening, and do spread the word!

A few links to things I mentioned on the show;

The Combat Jack Show ft. Dallas Penn

Nook Friday Sessions with Neighbourhood

In The Loop

and this is a great book : Nothing To Envy

Anyway, let's dig into the tracklist for the month...


Playlist/Notes

Lina : It's Alright (Gang Starr Remix)

Been sitting on this one for a while but this was the perfect month to bring it out. The original version is from Lina's 2000/2001 debut album "Stranger On Earth," but while looking up info on it, I found it doesn't even seem to be on all the releases! As far as this remix, it seems to be on just one of the vinyl releases, or on the 12" promo single that I'm playing from. Lina is a singer and songwriter with kind of a jazzy style, and three albums to her credit - probably worth searching out if you want that kind of old-school vocal with updated production!

DJ Premier : Waaaaaa

Premo twice in a row? Yeah, why not? This one's a slightly off-beat but extra-hard instrumental from the first volume of the "Beats That Collected Dust" series. How did no MC get on this one?

Tony Touch & Gang Starr : The Piece Maker

Premo three times in a row? Well, good things do come in threes! I'd forgotten all about this one, but found I had it on a compilation of Gang Starr B-sides and rarities. It's basically just a Gang Starr track since Guru is on the mic and DJ Premier is on production and even the cuts I think, but it's a special track done for the mixtape DJ legend Tony Touch for his compilation "The Piece Maker." If you don't know about Tony Touch...well, that's your homework assignment for the month! 

Keak Da Sneak ft. E-40 : T-Shirt, Blue Jeans, & Nikes

Big slapping Hyphy track! Can't even remember how I came up on this one for the first time, but I think it's one of those tracks that can't be denied. Bought the digital download of this on a "Greatest Hits" compilation but it was originally on the 2003 independently-released "Counting Other People's Money" album (love that title) - a track definitely worth chasing down for a party! Keak is a seasoned Bay Area veteran with 16 solo albums in his discography, not to mention his work with 3X Krazy and others. On top of that, he came up with the word hyphy in the first place! Definitely feeling the contrast between his low and gruff style and the legendary E-40's higher-register rhymes. 

stic.man : Sober Soldier

This could be my theme tune! Shout to the man Ro for being the first one to tell me about this album. "The Workout" is an LP based around the themes of exercise and healthy living; great gym motivation and also completely radio-friendly! If you didn't already know, stic.man is half of dead prez and he's taken a very interesting tack with the album and his RBG Fit Club movement - definitely worth a look, as so many of us could do to improve our health and fitness and then apply that same discipline to other parts of life.

Motion Man : Play Dough

Check KutMasta Kurt cutting up the ill Guru sample for the hook! Back to the Bay Area for this one from Motion Man's debut album "Clearing The Field," which is worth having - solid and on its own vibe! Motion was the MC on the well-regarded DJ Vadim cut "The Terrorist" and has worked alongside Kool Keith as well as putting out two solo albums. Not heard anything from him for a while, but I get the feeling he'll be back...

[Barbershop Kiz] Defari : Blast (Instrumental)

Just some low-key dopeness here, instrumental of a 12" release from the Tommy Boy Black Label "Hip-Hop 101" compilation (note: that link currently has copies going for a penny plus postage, so you can't say fairer). There are some gems on that so it's one worth picking up when the price is low!

Chamillionaire ft. Saigon : You Gon' Learn (Early Service)

The first of two tracks out of Houston this month, this is a hot-off-the-presses release from one of my favourite MCs, taken from his new "Ammunition" project; he's highly underrated in the actual Hip-Hop market but has great mic skills - check the Paul Wall & Chamillionaire "Get Ya Mind Correct" album or any number of his amazing mixtape flows for proof. Also one of the most tech- and business-savvy MCs around, his intelligence shows whenever he speaks or writes. Accompanying him is the man behind one of last year's best albums, "The Greatest Story Never Told" - always one to speak his mind and call out fakeness. Not a strikingly obvious pairing, but an excellent one! Love the heavy drums on this beat too, courtesy of the Atlanta-based Sweatbox Productions.

Funkadelic : I Bet You

Keeping the big thumping drums going for another track, I could have chosen another Hip-Hop record but instead reached back for a selection from Funkadelic's first LP, released all the way back in 1970! George Clinton's various musical projects have contributed a huge amount to the sonic fabric of Hip-Hop and this track is no exception...if you're of a certain listening age you should recognise that different parts of this track have been sampled by some of the greats!

Dilated Peoples : Heavy Lighting

Not 100% sure of the accurate history of this one. I first heard it on a download years ago on an album/compilation called "The Deta Lideracy Project," which nowadays seems to only come up on Google on dodgy-looking websites. I really wanted to play it on the podcast but only play stuff obtained the right way so did a search for this particular track and found it on an officially-released compilation of Dilated Peoples B-sides and rarities - sounds about right! Interesting track, which seems to sway topic-wise between environmental concern and taking out sucker MCs; I'm not sure who produced it, but I love what they've done with the samples in the hook, got a really eerie and dark feel.

Cormega : Therapy

One of the few 5-star tracks on my iPod, this has been a headphone staple for me since I first heard it almost ten years ago! All heads with refined taste should know about the Queensbridge legend Cormega, who not only writes great lyrics but also gives the impression in interviews of being a very sincere and straightforward person. In recent years he seems to have laid to rest a long-running dispute with Nas but the album this is taken from ("The True Meaning," which is definitely one for your collection) is from that era - doesn't show on this track though. Beat-wise, another Queensbridge foundation man (DJ Hot Day) cooks up a buttery-smooth track based on Chaka Khan's "Stronger Than Before" (that one's already out there, so I'm not blowing anyone up). Got to love this one.

Air Adam : Breezeblock

A little something from my beat archives, not given it a big mixdown or anything, just straight two-tracked out of the MPC and into the computer! Just replaced my whole pad set and as soon as all the tact switches have been replaced too I might jump back into the beat game...

Trae ft. Styles & Jadakiss : Smile

Not an MC with a high profile in the UK, Trae is one of my favourites out of Houston - not the super-technical type of rhymer but has a really cold feel to his style. Another non-obvious collaboration with two-thirds of The LOX/D-Block bringing their Yonkers style down south, but it definitely works! I didn't know at first but the beat is actually all taken from a record by San Quinn and Messy Marv also called "Smile" and produced by Sean-T - I can thank Youtube comments for that knowledge!

Strategy : Kill 'Em

This was the early favourite for me from the Broke 'n' English veteran's "Pre-Season Training" mixtape - "The Bleep Test" was a more popular track but I love the production on this one, and Strategy's from-the-heart lyrics can't be fronted on - if you're fortunate enough to know any of the context, then they have that added impact too. Always representing Salford & Manchester, he's been doing it for a long time now and I'm waiting for B'n'E to come out with their second album - with all the talent and a new studio up and running, expect good things!

Stalley : She Hates The Bass

He should have got himself a British girl.
Ok, I won't just stop writing there :) Stalley is quite a new MC to me - he first came out in 2008, but I only got up on any of his material last year. Coming out of Ohio, he's mostly been doing his thing independently (this is from the "Lincoln Way Nights" LP), but is now affiliated with the Maybach Music Group. Also definitely a member of #beardgang. Production on this is handled by Rashad, bringing that late night vibe to this track - and of course, the bass. Nice 80s sample and some other bits in there, skilfully blended together to give a great backdrop to the story of the girlfriend who just wishes he would turn the car stereo down :)

Zero 7 : Sleepr

This track manages the neat trick of sounding pretty uptempo despite only clocking in at around 80bpm! I'm just putting a dash of it in here for the flavour though - I absolutely love the breakdown that comes just before I mix out of the track. The rest of the tune is kind of angular and abstract, lots of effects and stuff so check it out if that's your bag. The album it's from ("Yeah Ghost") was pretty underrated I think - it's not another "Simple Things" by any means but at least it shows a willingness to experiment!

Gangrene : Due Work

The new Gangrene album "Vodka & Ayahuasca" is an absolute essential purchase for anyone who likes the real, and it was tough to even just choose a single track from it to play this month! This isn't totally typical of the sound of the rest of the album but fit nicely enough into the mix to make it my choice. Both Oh No and Alchemist are top producers and I'm not sure who gets the most credit for this but it pounds along and shows how to pull off the dark style with panache. Take notes!

[Kool Akiem Allah] Micranots : Glorious (Instrumental)

Dark tune from the Minneapolis-raised, Atlanta-based duo. Picked this up ages ago and it's just languished on the shelf for the most part so it's nice to dust it off! Extra-crunchy beat to say the least. You can find the vocal version of this on the A-Side of the "Welcome To The Empire" 12" (like I did) or on the "The Emperor & The Assassin" album.

Maze featuring Frankie Beverly : Look At California

Classic soul! My parents didn't have any Maze in their collection so I wasn't up on them as a kid, but heard them mentioned on boards and so on and that was when I started to discover the magic :) Coming out of San Francisco, they give us this great 1977 track to end the show, paying homage to their home state. Structure-wise, it's quite something - almost like four songs in one! You can find this on their debut, self-titled album, where it also plays the closer role.


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_35.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 4:45am EDT

Curveball

"I'm 'bout to call the CIA on myself..."

- Jasiri X

February, what a month...one in which we mark the passings of Big Pun, Big L, J Dilla, and now Whitney Houston. There's some Dilla and Pun in this month's selection, alongside some political dubplate action, a touch of funk and one of those singles I had to close my eyes while paying for...

Big shouts to everyone who came to In The Loop/Family Gathering this month and the Manchester "J Dilla Changed My Life" tribute (pics here) - nights I'll always remember!


Playlist/Notes

Natural Elements : Shine

That blues sample starts up and you just know it's going to be a good few minutes. I've definitely said before how much of a fan I am/was of this ridiculously-skilled crew of New York MCs who burned up some incredible underground tracks in the 90s. Most people who happen to know this one probably heard it on DJ Premier's "New York Reality Check 101" mixtape where it was somehow mislabelled as "Lyrical Tactics." Lyrics galore all the same, with Charlemagne on the production and an appearance by Essence (aka Ayana Soyini) who apparently was not a guest but an original member of the group - didn't know that!

[Ski] Camp Lo : Coolie High (Instrumental)

Bronx! Another group I have proclaimed my fandom of at least a couple of times on the podcast before :) This track is easily one of my favourite Hip-Hop singles of all time. DJ Greenpeace was the first person to play it for me and from that first listen I was sold. Of course here, there are no vocals, only the incredible beat from the man Ski, flipping a Janet Jackson sample heavily and adding the extra bump to put it in the pantheon of great singles. A monster.

Camp Lo : Coolie High (Paradise Remix)

...and then we have the little-known remix! I'd been looking for a copy of this for *years* since DJ Beware first picked it up before finding a copy on Discogs. This is a bit of a re-record - the lyrics are slightly different to the original, but it's the beat which is the huge change; while Ski sampled Janet Jackson on the original, he switches over to Michael on this version and it's just perfect. If you can find this on 12", hold onto it!

The Roots : I Remember

My favourite cut from the most recent Roots album, "Undun." Not the longest album in the world, but a top-quality release and definitely recommended (and not just by me)! As the album tells the story of the fall and death of a man in reverse, this track from near the end is from relatively early in the story. It's melancholy, and it's beautiful. Knocked the breath out of me the first time I heard it, hope it does the same for you!

Jewell : It's Not Deep Enough

Don't remember this? You probably weren't around during the monster Death Row Records run in the 90s. Ill track from the "Above The Rim" soundtrack, but very much to the back compared to joints like "Regulate" and "Afro Puffs." For me it was a favourite though, with the producer Mr.Dalvin (yes, of Jodeci) reaching into the jazz crates for the Donald Byrd "Wind Parade" sample which had been used in the surrounding period by Black Moon and 2Pac to name but two. Works here once again, with the slow neck-snapping drums. Jewell was a vocalist who as far as I know never put a full album out, but responsible for some of the hugest hooks of the era - "Let Me Ride" was her work, as was "Gin and Juice," and Snoop's "What's My Name?" too. Not quite the female Nate Dogg, but as good a comparison as any :) Love her vocals on this.

Mark B & Blade : Use Your Head

UK coming through with the heavy drums! As I recall, this was one of the first - if not the first - Mark B & Blade collaborations, on a two-disc EP called "Hitmen For Hire." Of the four tracks on there, this was the big standout for me, with those tough tough drums just smashing everything in sight - you can't give Blade a weak beat. The cuts are provided by the extra-ill, ex-Scratch Pervert Mr.Thing, one of the great all-rounders on the turntables, rounding off the whole package nicely!

Twizted Rootz : A Useful Waste Of Time

Rootz is a young producer coming out of Manchester getting play on the podcast for the second time - he got in contact to let me know he had some new stuff in a different style to some of his older beats, so you know I had to get that. Check him out on Soundcloud!

Jasiri X : Bushes

Huge tune on the ill political dubplate vibe! As with every big single, "Otis" ended up with all kinds of no-mark MCs chatting unpolished nonsense all over the Kanye-produced instrumental, but you can throw all those out of the window in favour of this one. In fact, I like this more than the original! Pittsburgh's Jasiri X, a fearlessly political MC, absolutely turns it out here by rhyming in the personas of George Bush and George W Bush - but taking the rhyme scheme from Jay and Kanye's original track. Brilliant piece of lyrical cleverness. Grabbed this as one of the tracks on the bargain-priced (edit: now *free*) "#thewholeworldiswatching" LP, which is definitely worth having!

Phat Kat ft. J Dilla & Black Milk : Door

AKA Subwoofer status check. Lows and more lows on the BR Gunna production. Drums are nice too, if you can hear them through all that! I've got this on a sampler 12" but it's probably most obtainable on Phat Kat's 2003 "The Undeniable" album. An all-Detroit affair, with the late great J Dilla and Black Milk giving nice turns on the mic alongside Phat Kat on a tune which just has the feel of Jason Voorhees on the MPC. 

Akrobatik ft. Talib Kweli : Put Ya Stamp On It

Dilla on the beat this time, sounds hectic as hell but only 93bpm. Nice bit of extra sub bass on those kicks at the end of each four-bar section! Boston's Akrobatik (who you may know from The Perceptionists) goes hard on the mic to do the late James Yancey proud (this was released after his passing, as you may spot from the lyrics), and Talib Kweli gives a good backup performance too. Got this as a 12" but you can find it on the 2008 "Absolute Value" LP, which I still need to get!

Big Punisher : The Dream Shatterer

RIP Pun, and Rest In Pieces to the wack emcees he slays on this track! The first time I heard the "Capital Punishment" LP I knew I liked it, but when this track rolled on, it was rewind time! "Ayo I shatter dreams, like Jordan assault & batter your team?" You know I was loving that. The big Boricua from the Bronx bodied this beat big-time ;) with a head-on attack flow. Amazingly, this wasn't even the first choice of beat! Buckwild from DITC produced the original version, but the sample couldn't be cleared and so Domingo stepped in with this ill, dramatic, rushed, tightrope-walking track you hear on the album. Phenomenal.

[Marky Mark] LL Cool J : How I'm Comin'

Anyone else remember when LL started coming out gangsta style? I think this was the lead single from his "14 Shots To The Dome" album, apparently a 1996 release - feels older to me somehow! No vocals on this version of course, but LL Cool J is one of the most remarkable MCs of all time, incredible longevity and someone who was counted out at least once, only to come back blazing! I don't have anything rare from him but will definitely play something from the catalogue in the future.
Oh, and the producer isn't that Marky Mark :)

Oddisee : Don Cornelius

There was no question - this had to be played this month, even though I played the previous track from the same album two months ago! DMV representing but bringing the West Coast flavour, giving me nice synths to blend into the next track with. Oh, and that vocal sample? One of my all-time favourite artists (you already know), the late great Roger Troutman! Here's a short (but good) article at NewsOne summarising some of the things Don Cornelius influenced, and a longer one on NPR. What a legacy.

Lord Jamar : Supreme Mathematics (Knowledge Mix)

First of two Brand Nubian-related tracks this episode; on this one, Lord Jamar gives a surprisingly catchy breakdown of the symbolic meanings of the numerals in the Supreme Mathematics, a number system making up part of the Nation of Gods and Earths' core concepts. It's the last track on Jamar's "The 5% Album" which is, as the title suggests, based around the nation's teachings - regardless of whether you believe or not, it's a solid album worth checking, especially if you like conscious lyrical content. It'd have been even better if they could have included "The Sun!" Anyway, Lord Jamar handles the production on here himself - I'm not going to name the sample as I don't know if it's been cleared but it's definitely got that b-boy vibe, far superior to the original mix.

Public Enemy : You're Gonna Get Yours

Good excuse to get this tune in position for a road test! Wicked but underrated PE tune which opened up the first album, "Yo! Bum Rush The Show" back in 87. It almost feels like some kind of reverse world where Public Enemy have a song about a car, but it works! I think Bill Stephney is credited with the production, though it wouldn't surprise me if everyone in the group had piled in on this at some point - I'm sure someone knows better than me though!

ADC Band : Baby Love

Not an obvious selection, but pulled the "Long Stroke" (!) album out to give it a listen and this sounded like sonically it'd go pretty will with the PE track! I don't know much about the ADC Band, so I'll just post a Discogs link which seems to have the most info of anywhere I managed to find...

Grand Puba ft. Q-Tip : Good To Go

Two big names, but not a well-known track! This is from Puba's 2009 "Retroactive" album which totally passed me by - only heard it for the first time last year! Truth be told, not an essential LP top to bottom but worth a listen at least. It's been a long time since that first Brand Nubian album in 1990 where most of us first heard him, but he's still here! Alongside him on this track is the man Q-Tip from A Tribe Called Quest, who also handles the production. Surprisingly awkward to mix with, but I like it!

[DJ Revolution] Mykill Myers : Killing Spree (Remix)

One of those 12"s that I don't expect is super-rare or anything, but that most DJs I know just wouldn't have bought! Mykill Myers is/was an MC out of Los Angeles who had a couple of albums out on Ill Boogie Records in 2000 & 2001, the first of which the original of this track was taken from. As for the producer, DJ Revolution - his beats are good, but he's more renowned for his ridiculous turntable skills...get to know!

GZA : Labels (Remix/Original?)

This was what I heard the first time I heard "Labels" on the radio, and when I bought "Liquid Swords" and got to that track I was gutted. Why? Totally different beat! It seems they couldn't get clearance for everything on here and had to go with a different version; in fact, if you listen right to the very end you can hear it! This for me is one of the hardest beats of an era that had a fair few of them - there was nothing else that sounded anything like it, which is just RZA all over. Lyrically though, you get the same incredible quality on both versions, with GZA weaving the names of 39 (by my count) record labels into a cohesive piece, just amazing. Not only did this probably send a ton of MCs back to school or into alternative employment, but also spawned more GZA tracks that used the same kind of idea with different contexts - I'll just give you one : "Fame..."


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_33.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 5:30am EDT

resurface.

"Days come and go, but..."

- Jane Child

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


Playlist/Notes

Natural Elements : Freestyle

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

[Butterfly] Digable Planets : Nickel Bags (Instrumental)

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

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

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

Intelligent Hoodlum : Grand Groove (Bonus Mix)

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

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

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

No I.D. : Sky's The Limit

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

[Pete Rock] Phife Dawg : Lemme Find Out

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

The U.N. : Avenue

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

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

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

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

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

Dilated Peoples : Triple Optics

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

Stanley Clarke & George Duke : Quiet Time

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

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

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

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

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

Kev Brown ft. Grap Luva : Struggla's Theme

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

AZ : Gimme Yours (Remix)

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

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

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

Air Adam : Maria

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

Spearhead : Hole In The Bucket

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


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

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

Fresh Out The Box

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

- Jean Grae

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

PS - like the kicks?


Playlist/Notes

The Alan Parsons Project : Sirius

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

Scarface : Born Killer (Instrumental)

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

Zapp : Heartbreaker

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

LBC Crew ft. Roger : Beware Of My Crew

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

B.T.I : (Deadly) Serious

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

Public Enemy : Nighttrain (Pete Rock LIRR Remix)

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

Parliament : Theme From The Black Hole

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

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

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

Raekwon : Big Spender

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

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

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

Jerry Beeks & DJ Audio Ad : Across The Moor

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

Prodigy : Keep It Thoro (9th Wonder Remix)

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

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

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

Neek The Exotic & Large Professor : Still On The Hustle

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

GZA ft. Method Man : Shadowboxing

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

Ambersunshower : Serengeti Plains

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

L The Head Toucha : Too Complex

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

Twizted Rootz : Harakiri

One of the top young beatmakers in Manchester with another of his trademark nicely heavy, Eastern-flavoured beats. Check him out at http://www.soundcloud.com/rootiful

Saigon ft. Marsha Ambrosius : It's Alright

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


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

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

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

"Fast like Ramadan"

- Biggie

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


Playlist/Notes

Ras Kass & Doo Wop : If This World Was Mine

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

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

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

Smith & Mighty ft. Rudy Lee : No Justice

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

Photek presents Choc Ty ft. Chiara : We Got Heat

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

213 : Keep It Gangsta

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

E-40 ft. Leviti : 1-Luv

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

Bob James : Macumba

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

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

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

Money Boss Players : Games

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

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

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

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

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

Large Pro : Pun Tres Leches

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

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

(They get enough free advertising just from the audio)

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

Kool G Rap ft. The Rza : Cakes 

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

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

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

will.i.am : Em A Double Dee (Instrumental)

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

Blue Boy : Remember Me

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

Marlena Shaw : Woman Of The Ghetto (Live)

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

(Javon) Killah Priest : Big World (Instrumental)

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

Terence Blanchard : Wading Through

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


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

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