Jan 27, 2019
"...but we worship the dollar, so what we gon' do for jihad?"
- Styles P
Happy New Year! If I say so myself, I think this is a great mix - plenty to match the colder weather we're having, and opportunities for some enjoyable-to-mix transitions between tracks. Press "play" and get ready for end-to-end quality...
Tickets for Homeboy Sandman and Edan in Manchester on Feb 7th - don't miss out!
Twitter : @airadam13
Alchemist ft. MidaZ : Don Seymour's Theme
One thing you might not notice on first listen - this tune has hardly any drums! Alchemist makes a fresh beat regardless on this short and sweet track from his "Russian Roulette" album, an unusual producer-centred project that draws most of its sonic source material from old Soviet-era music. The lyrics are all American though, with Orlando's MidaZ just streaming bars out with no hook to stop the onslaught.
Exile : Love To The World
Fat Beats' "Baker's Dozen" series gives producers thirteen tracks each to show what they can do, and Exile's contribution is a fine one from a true master of the MPC. Not naming the sample, but if you know the Group Home "Livin' Proof" album, it should sound familiar - here though, it's flipped in a very different way.
Hyenas In The Desert : Wild Dogs
Long Island's Hyenas were one of the first acts signed to Chuck D's Slam Jamz label back in the mid-90s. Kendu is the only named MC, with the others being masked and uncredited. They had a bit of a weird vibe, maybe not quite "horrorcore" as I've seen them described, but not entirely out of keeping with a lot of other material of the era. Gary G-Wiz on the production here with a beat anchored around some tight drums. Find this one on the "Die Laughing" release - patchy, but a few good tracks on there.
Jean Grae : The Jam
One of the most flavourful MCs out there, and one who has probably never recorded a bad verse! I bought the "2K6 (The Tracks)" compilation to get a different tune which will appear on the show at some point, but this little heater has jumped the queue in the meantime. Even at a modest 92BPM, Khrysis cooks up a beat that can make you want to at least dance in your chair :)
Heltah Skeltah : Undastand
I was convinced I must have played this on a past episode but was glad to find I hadn't! Smooth but with those strong Beatminerz drums driving it along, this album track has Ruck (b.k.a Sean Price, RIP), and Rock (who at the time, was getting most of the shine) going back and forth in fine 90s style.
Lovebirds ft. Galliano and 80s Babies : Icarus (TBG Remix)
Tall Black Guy on the remix on this gem from Record Store Day 2017 - the original is dope, but when I flipped it to hear this version on the B-side I could barely hand over the cash fast enough! Jazzy, but with a nice bump on the drums, you can just relax for a few minutes to this one.
Dibia$e : Luv Suite
A second pick from the "Baker's Dozen" series, this time from the mind of Watts' Diba$e. Listen closely and you'll hear several different flips of the same classic 80s soul record - a true suite in the classical musical sense.
Children Of Zeus : Head To The Sky
When the surprise release "The Winter Tape" dropped just before the Xmas break, this tune was my clear favourite and that opinion hasn't changed. The beat is an absolutely fire, fierce reworking of a spiritual anthem, but the words are what will stay with you. Konny and Tyler's lyrics about coping with stress and depression will strike a chord with many, and make this one a tune that deserves the widest possible airing.
AZ : Rather Unique
The 90s heads will nod in recognition of this one! "Sugar Hill" was the huge first single from "Doe Or Die", but this cheeky Pete Rock production was the B-side with more of a rugged edge. The master of the SP-1200 also lays plenty of cuts into the mix but leaves room in the verses for the man who broke out big on Nas' "Life's A Bitch" to shine. He certainly lived up to the track title.
Talib Kweli & Styles P ft. Rapsody and Chris Rivers : Let It Burn
I think I may have once sampled the same track as Khrysis did here, so I can appreciate how well he freaked it here! This is from the 2017 EP "The Seven", and while all the MCs do the business, I think Styles P slayed it on the opening verse, if not just his opening two bars.
Viceversah ft. Kool G Rap : Legends Of The Game
I only heard this for the first time recently but it's a 2008 track from the "James And The Giant Beats" album by this Boston-based MC. Vice puts in a decent performance, but I came for Kool G Rap and he predictably steals the show! The Arcitype handles production, incorporating a bunch of snare rolls into a gloomy, forbidding beat.
[Havoc] Mobb Deep : Bloodsport (Instrumental)
This just mixes so nicely with the Viceversah track, it had to be done. Havoc on the beat with one of the less-mentioned album tracks from the incredibly dark and well-executed "Hell On Earth" LP.
Scarface ft. Rush Davis : Steer
From the opening vocals, you can't get much gloomier than this one. Scarface has explored the darker side of things since his very first recordings, and is one of the best if not the best at it. This track from "Deeply Rooted" hits hard from the very first listen, with Face in storytelling mode and Luke Walker (no way did other kids not call him Luke Skywalker) with the kind of beat you can't just stumble into. It's atmospheric, angular, hostile, and somehow soulful all at once, and one that plenty of MCs wouldn't be able to do anything with. This is also a track where the video is well worth a watch.
The Cool Kids : Black Mags Pt.II
"...went to jail and he left me his bike." Pure Weapon of Bass Destruction business here! The first "Black Mags" from 2008 was a killer (that I played all the way back on episode 5), but this amps up the bass even more as Chuck and Mikey look over their BMX days. This is a single that was one of my most welcome surprises of last year, and one that shows that you can, in fact, go home again.
Raekwon : Going At The Face (Freestyle)
One of the great MCs with a freestyle over one of the great instrumentals of all time, in my opinion - Salih Williams' monster "Sittin' Sidewayz" beat for Paul Wall. I could have done with it being a little longer, but that's the way it goes; it's just one of many short tracks from the Raekwon and DJ Thoro mixtape "Heroin Only".
Showbiz & AG ft. Jeffery Nortey : Beautiful Lies
I wanted to play this song from "Mugshot Music" a few months back but couldn't make the speed fit - here, it's perfect. It's the melancholy story of a relationship gone sour, and the early instrumental reminds you of any number of love songs...then those drums smash through to underscore the lyrics. This 2012 release might have slipped under your radar but it's definitely worth going back to check for it.
[Kanye West] Common : The Corner (Instrumental)
Kanye might be on one right now, but I can't deny this beat. I still can't believe this single wasn't bigger than it was, this track is great.
Apollo Brown & Skyzoo : The Flyest Essence
This is a track that either needed to open or close an episode, purely because of the shape of the start and ending. A deep album cut from "The Easy Truth", the leisurely pace of the beat allows Skyzoo to confidently flow around it, like a lyrical river.
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!