Nov 29, 2018
"...we fighting back - sorry Martin."
- Erick Sermon
This month marks twenty-five years (!) since the release of two monumental albums - "Midnight Marauders" by A Tribe Called Quest, and the Wu-Tang Clan's "Enter The Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)". I still remember going to buy each of these albums which have had a huge influence on me over the years, and I thought that this episode would be a good time to feature them both. We have a mix of original tracks, alternate versions, covers, and original samples, alongside plenty of other tunes to keep your head bobbing!
There are still a few tickets left for Schoolly D and DJ Code Money on December 15th in Manchester - but you might want to be quick!
The Mouse Outfit are playing an Xmas special at Band on the Wall on December 18th - a few advance tickets left for that one too.
See Children of Zeus on tour!
Twitter : @airadam13
Minnie Riperton : Inside My Love
An excerpt of a soul classic from one of our departed greats. Minnie Riperton was well capable of singing well into the whistle register, and demonstrates that to spectacular effect at the end of this track from the essential "Adventures In Paradise" album, which I first encountered as part of "Lyrics To Go"...
A Tribe Called Quest : Lyrics To Go
This sample use was absolute genius. When I first heard this as a teenager I didn't have a clue that the high tone running through the whole track was actually a singer and not a keyboard, and it still stuns you the same way twenty-five years after release. Perfect production, together with Q-Tip and Phife (RIP) on the mic, make this album cut from "Midnight Marauders" every inch of a classic.
Funky DL : Midnight
London's Funky DL first came to popular notice as an MC, but clearly also has major skills as a producer, arranger, and keyboardist! His "Marauding At Midnight" album is a tribute to "Midnight Marauders", with instrumental versions of every track played with no sampled breaks/loops - just instrumentation, as well as backing vocals. "Midnight" was one of my low-key favourites on the original LP, so it's great to hear his take on it here. I couldn't resist the opportunity to cut a few samples over the top :)
Wu-Tang Clan : Clan In Da Front
On my first listen to "Enter The Wu-Tang", this was the track that made me know for sure that the album was a classic. The Wu members regularly battled to see who would get to be on any particular RZA beat, and you can hear for yourself how undeniable GZA was on this one - one of only two tracks on the album to feature just one MC.
The ARE : Clap Ya Hands
The "Manipulated Marauders" project is much older when I look at the release date (2007) than it feels, but still gets solid play from me on a regular basis. The ARE tears up the classic Bob James "Nautilus" sample amongst others to bring some freshness to the familiarity of the Tribe "Clap Ya Hands" track from "Midnight Marauders".
Rockwilder ft. Erick Sermon, Method Man, and Redman : Clutch Reloaded
I missed the original version of this track, but this remix is absolute fire! This might be the most aggro I've ever heard Erick Sermon, and I can't be the only one struck by the combination of "bunch a n****s walking down the block like it's Selma" and the lyric that gave us this month's epigraph. Following Erick, the match made in blunt smoke, Meth & Red, continues the lyrical assault, and Rockwilder's beat is a banger that reminds you of a classic sample atomised. A must-purchase!
Ice Cube : Arrest The President
The man who brought us "I Wanna Kill Sam" back in the 90s is back to burn and has absolutely no problem going in on Mango Mussolini! Atlanta's Shawn Ski provides a stomping, horn-laden beat while Cube calls out Agent Orange for being an asset of Russian intelligence, and his general devilish behaviour. This tune definitely puts you on notice for the upcoming "Everythang's Corrupt" album.
[DJ Quik] Nate Dogg ft. Eve : Get Up (Instrumental)
One of those singles I somehow picked up a couple of a while back and still barely play! The first single from Nate Dogg's third album, it's not crazy but does have that Quik flavour and the beat a good bridge between the bombast of the Cube track and something a little more subdued...
Public Enemy : See Something, Say Something
I was looking for something funky in this spot and this fit the bill perfectly. Chuck D is from the right kind of era to know what to do with a groove like this, and has the experience and intelligence to drop wisdom all over it. Gary G-Wiz is on production on this lyrically clever flip of the Department of Homeland Security slogan, an overlooked track from "How Do You Sell Soul To A Soulless People Who Lost Their Soul?"
El Michels Affair : C.R.E.A.M
Much harder to mix with than I thought, but that's often the case with live bands - tempos are much more likely to shift within the track than with electronically sequenced music! Anyway, this is just one of the many great Wu instrumental cover versions from El Michels Affair, who gave us this tribute to the 36 Chambers classic on "Enter The 37th Chamber". It's always interesting when a band is sampled by a Hip-Hop producer as part of a composition, and then another band interprets that new version.
A Tribe Called Quest & Busta Rhymes : God Lives Through
The original "God Lives Through" included the voice of Busta via a sample from Tribe's own "Oh My God" on the same album, but he wasn't actually on the track. As he says, he always wanted to rhyme on it and here he gets his chance! This version is from the Q-Tip and Busta mixtape "The Abstract and the Dragon", and here I've just gone with the Busta verse and then Phife's - which is the same as the original, hopefully you own it by now :)
Black Milk ft. Fat Ray and Elzhi : Sound Of The City
Detroit time! Black Milk covers the low end lovely with well-engineered kicks and bass driving this track along. The title track to his first solo LP is a worth headliner, and I always laugh at the shade thrown at Mike Jones at the end of the second verse!
Hall & Oates : Method Of Modern Love
A new one to me, but after reading recently that this was the song that inspired the hook to "Method Man", I took a listen and thought I'd play a snippet here. You hear the first eight bars looped up for a couple of minutes, then we let it go so you can hear the introduction of the chorus - then stop the track and merge into...
Wu-Tang Clan : Method Man (Home Grown Version)
...the tune that drew from it! This isn't even the version from "Enter The Wu-Tang", but an alternate version that was on the 12", and is even more raw and lo-fi than anything on the album. It sounds like it was recorded in a basement and probably was, and I'd bet that this was the original, later re-done for the LP. For the turntablist heads, this is the version Mista Sinista used for his killer juggle - solved a mystery for me!
Cypress Hill : How I Could Just Kill A Man
Classic Cypress! Back in the pre-internet days, some New Yorkers thought this crew were locals from the Cypress Hills housing project, but in fact they were from all the way over in Los Angeles. The first album is still my favourite after all these years, and this track was fierce - a hit without even an attempt to soften up for the radio. DJ Muggs layers up legendary breaks for the beat and even has a few bars on the mic at the start of the second verse, while B-Real spits memorable bars on the kill-or-be-killed lifestyle, and Sen Dog jumps in for the hook. Early 90s heat.
Slum Village (ft. Young RJ) : Nitro
Detroit in the mix again, with the 2009/10 lineup in full effect, along with family member Young RJ on the boards and rhyming as well. The beat actually has a lot of RZA feel to it, and I could easily have imagined this on one of the early Wu albums. No slacking on the mic either, everyone represents and make this a tune worth tracking down - I got it on the "Villa Manifesto" LP, but it's not on all versions so look out for that when buying.
Inspectah Deck : R.E.C. Room
I'd forgotten that it wasn't until six years after the release of "Enter The Wu-Tang" that we finally got a solo album from Inspectah Deck, but "Uncontrolled Substance" did eventually arrive - maybe it needed that incredible verse from the start of "Triumph" to create the momentum! I believe this was the lead single, a tribute to the rec room parties from the Wu's youthful days, with a characteristically Wu-Tang beat courtesy of True Master, who cooked up some great tracks over the years.
[DJ Premier] Gang Starr : Just To Get A Rep (Instrumental)
One of those tunes everyone either knows or really should! I think the 12" will have an instrumental on it, but this is taken from a white label instrumental version of the whole "Step In The Arena" LP.
Air Adam : 13th Chamber
I wondered if this was worth including, but if not now, then when? I recorded this maybe 10-15 years ago, and while some of the plain movie samples were just layered over the top from my DVD collection, everything else comes from the turntables! The bassline is a plain tone being modified with the 33/45 button and pitch slider, the drumming is all done with scratches, and then the kung-fu samples that were available on battle tool vinyl (no Serato back then!) were scratched over the top. This was my tribute to/version of Wu's "Wu-Tang : 7th Chamber - Part 2" from the first album, derived from a battle routine I once developed, and was on my "Sleight of Hand" mixtape - a few of you might still have 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!