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Air Adam Podcast

Mar 17, 2010

(10/52) Knowledge Cipher

"We be listening to beats to keep the cipher complete..."

- Guru

Going into double figures this month! I managed to fight off a nasty sore throat for just long enough to get all the voiceover done, and in response to Coxy I think I've turned my voice up so it's not so quiet compared to the music - I'm sure he'll let me know if I've hit or missed the mark!

Big shout out to Guru who as many of you know is currently in hospital after suffering a heart attack and (reportedly) being induced into a coma. Best wishes going out to you from the Hip-Hop Nation, get well soon!



Brand Nubian ft. Redd Foxx : Black Star Line

From the great "In God We Trust" LP - as much as I love this track, it's not my absolute favourite on the album - but then where else but here would I get chance to play an album cut about Marcus Garvey and have people actually listen?

Air Adam : Street Kingdom

An old beat of mine - for some reason I was in a club where Ja Rule's "Living It Up" (which I hate) was playing and thinking to myself how you could flip the intro and turn it into something with a very different feel, which turned out to be this. I might re-do it on the MPC sometime with new drums to make it thump a bit more, but then I'm not looking to sell this beat so maybe not :o) And the title? Well, that's from the incredible book by Doug Century - absolutely worth a read, or ten!

Greg Osby ft. CL Smooth : Raise (Ali Shaheed Muhammad Remix)

Jazz meets Hip-Hop here as it often does, but in this case you have a top player live on the track rather than sampled - the saxophonist Greg Osby was on Blue Note for years so you know his credentials are correct. This is one of those tracks where the version I knew isn't the one on the album; I first heard this on "Yo! MTV Raps" years ago and loved it, but the original version on the "3D Lifestyles" album just doesn't quite do it for me. Check the "Speak & Spell" sounds in the background too!

OutKast : Players' Ball (Remix)

The B-side of the "Players' Ball" 12" from their first album, before anyone had any idea of some of the craziness that would follow in later's pretty sped up but I like it like that.

DJ Faust : Mind Over Matter

Forgot all about this one competely - pulled from the "Fathomless" EP by Faust, Craze (before his incredible streak of world domination) and Shortee, released just when turntablism was starting to bubble up in the public consciousness. Faust isn't the first name that comes to the mind of many when they think tablism but he's certainly respected among those that know.

Large Professor : Liveguy Saga

Biiiiig! One of my favourite B-sides of all time! This on the flip of "Bout That Time" - which truth be told is pretty blah. This tune is serious though, and I'd consider giving my kingdom for an instrumental! Minimal, but not crazy minimal, just bumps nicely.

Zion I : Luv (Instrumental)

Amp Live bringing a killer beat - very underrated producer for sure. Search out the vocal version of this as it's a very good track, I've certainly given it lots of play before. In fact, look out for any Zion I stuff you can pick up...

Easy Mo Bee ft. Gang Starr : Soul

You don't know it do you? Ha! Well, it's all about sharing so you do now :o) This was originally released on Easy Mo Bee's little-known "Now Or Never : Odyssey 2000" album, a producer-driven project from the man who brought us, amongst other things, the mighty "Flava In Ya Ear" which is one of my all-time favourite beats. I had this track on the album, bought the 12" hoping to get an instrumental and then found they'd accidentally missed it off - gutted!

Que D : In Your Face

Dilla on the beat which was probably the reason I picked this up originally to give it a listen as I didn't know much about Que D beforehand - even now, all I really know is that he's one of the MCs out of Detroit in the extended Slum Village/Dilla family, and he rides this beat well.

Strange Fruit Project : Soul Clap

Texas Hip-Hop with a difference! Got this for a bargain price the other day - put it on the listening deck in the record shop and decided I had to have it. The group of course are named after the famous song.

En Vogue : Hold On

90s classic, dug this one out after forgetting I had it in the first place! I heard Kid Capri use this on a mixtape once, so if it's good enough for him it's good enough for me ;o) Oh yes - check the sloppiness of the snare on beat 4 of each bar! Didn't notice that until I had to mix into it...

M.O.P : G-Building (Instrumental)

Self-produced, D&D studio-recorded, thumping banger from the Brownsville hardrocks. One of my favourite MOP beats and also blended nicely with the En Vogue cut - who'd have thought?

Michael Jackson : Pretty Young Thing (Demo) (U-Tern Edit)

Newness - well, where new=old but little known :o) This has been slightly re-edited for length but the main composition is unchanged; this is the original demo version of "PYT (Pretty Young Thing)" by Michael Jackson. The song was later massively reworked into a more untempo number by MJ, James Ingram and Quincy Jones, and it's that version which appears on the Thriller album. On the one hand, I *think* I prefer this version, but on the other,  listen to the instrumental of the album version...when those voices come in on the lead-up to the hook it's just illlll...

Aya : Put Your Faith In Us

Another Naked Music killer, taken from Aya's "Strange Flower" album. I've been absolutely caning this song on Spotify lately so it was only right that I buy a copy and let you hear it too. For some reason I kept thinking it would have been great if Michael Jackson had recorded a version of this song; it sounds like the kind of thing that would have fit him like a glove (no pun intended). Also notice what it does to the tension in the track to have no kick drum on the first beat of every bar - subtle but effective!

Tim Dog : Step To Me (Instrumental)

Maybe not the obvious track to go into from the previous one, but where would the fun be in being predictable? I thought the drum break sounded good here and also provided a springboard to launch into the next track...

Eric B & Rakim : Teach The Children

Second track on the oft-overlooked "Check The Technique" album, definitely worth a pickup if you've not already got it in your collection. That little four-bar change in the piano riff in the first verse starting at the line "I approached it slow..." still puts the chills up me eighteen years since I first heard it. Lyrically, when I listen to something like this, and then some of the alleged rappers coming out now...well, maybe they should have spent more time listening to stuff like this and less playing video games...and yes, I know that makes me sound like an old man.

Wildchild : Code Red (Instrumental)

Oh No on production, this was flipping wigs like crazy in Manchester when it came out a few years back and as soon as all the DJs found out what is was, we all bought it and played it heavy; it's been a while so time to bring it back!

Gang Starr ft. K-Ci and JoJo : Royalty

When this came out I'll admit I was skeptical about having K-Ci and JoJo guesting on a Gang Starr track, but it works and it's a classic. Production-wise, DJ Premier kills it with an amazing sample chop which sounds impossible even when you hear the original track. Guru brings his unique flavour on the mic, and it's the complete package!

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