Apr 30, 2021
"...you will remember my name."
It's been a grinder of a month. It shook the world when DMX passed away at 52, only for his former contemporary Black Rob, who himself had recorded his best wishes for X towards the end of his life, to pass only a week later. With everyone still wrapping their mind around those losses, the sudden death of Digital Underground founder Shock G was the icing on a very bitter cake. Of course, you'll hear a little of all three in the selection this month.
On a personal note, I was scrambling towards the end of this month as my airadam.com internet presence was hacked - affecting my homepage, podcast materials, and more. I have regained control, but it might be a little while until the warnings from Google go away, if you try to visit anything - hopefully, that will be straightened out soon.
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Mase ft. The Lox, Black Rob, and DMX : 24 Hrs To Live
For two of the artists on this track to have passed away within a week of each other is just unbelievable. Easily one of the best tracks to come out of the Bad Boy camp, this Myrick/D-Dot/6 July-produced album cut was a strikingly serious highlight from Mase's generally commercial/party-oriented debut LP "Harlem World". Black Rob can be heard as the third MC, and DMX as the memorable closer. Of course, neither of them spent their last few hours as described, which is a reminder that we often don't have any control as we near our ends - but both will have their names remembered, as DMX declares. RIP.
Frankie Bleu : Moses Theme
I only recently heard this record in full, so thought I'd get a copy for you to hear! It's from the soundtrack to a bizarre-sounding 70s film starring Dr.J entitled "The Fish That Saved Pittsburgh", which I've never got sound to seeing! The soundtrack was on Philadelphia International Records and was packed with the orchestral, string-heavy soul that made up the famous Philly sound. I was going to play just a snippet, but it deserved to breathe a little more :)
Pete Rock : Shine On Me (Instrumental)
The "Shine On Me/Climax" 12" on Fat Beats sounded a little different to a lot of the Pete Rock production that had come before, but one thing that brought that old feeling back was the sound of CL Smooth on the mic, and the union of both means that this is a release you should definitely try to have in your collection!
Anthony David ft. Algebra : 4 Evermore
If you didn't want a classic slow jam, this could be a great first wedding dance song! New to me, but actually a 2011 release on the "As Above So Below" LP. DJ Kemit (probably best known for his work as part of Arrested Development) provides a smooth groove with some nice drums to give the bump. Both singers on the track come out of the Atlanta scene, and the lyrics and vocals are top-notch. A beautiful modern love song.
Nas ft. RaVaughn : Royalty
For me, the highlight is actually the hook, courtesy of RaVaughn - a bit patriarchal for my taste in part, but otherwise I love it! This was a standout for me on Nas' "Lost Tapes 2", and was produced by Hit-Boy - the same producer he paired with for the recently Grammy-winning "King's Disease" LP.
Camp Lo : Sky High (Trackstar Blend)
We go back to the original "80 Blocks From Tiffany's" mix for this one, the track that closed the tape. I'm a little confused on the credits for this - it's labelled as a Trackstar blend, but I believe Pete Rock did the beat. Either way, I do prefer it to the original "Sky High" from "Stone and Rob Caught on Tape". This tape on the whole is worth checking but it's the second instalment that gives you the major heat!
Parliament : One Of Those Funky Thangs
If you know your East Coast Hip-Hop, you might recognise a big break on this one! One of the best tracks on the 1978 "Motor Booty Affair" album, this is classic P-Funk which gives you that good feeling every time.
[Trackmasters] Nature : Talking That Shit (Instrumental)
I'm not sure if it's the hi-hats, the percussion, or the little vocal effect embedded in there, but this track definitely gives its origins away - a Trackmasters beat for Nature out of Queensbridge, from his solo debut "For All Seasons".
DMX ft. Sheek : Get At Me Dog
The first time I heard this, my reaction was "who is this guy ripping the beat off 'Get The Bozack'?" Turned out it was DMX, being played on the Radio 1 rap show for the first time, with his second single (1993's "Born Loser" was his oft-forgotten debut), taken from his debut LP. Dame Grease provides the re-animation of this NYC funk break and X growls, barks, and threatens from end-to-end, with Sheek providing just the right tone for the hook.
Krumb Snatcha ft. Gang Starr : Incredible
This is possibly the most distilled essence, the quintessential example of what a DJ Premier beat of this era is! On top of that classic boom-bap and between occurrences of that multi-sample scratched hook, the Boston (know your history) duo of Krumb Snatcha and Guru go back and forth on this track from "Respect All, Fear None".
Group Home ft. Guru : Legacy
Guru feature again, DJ Premier production once more, with a crew who got their break featuring on Gang Starr records themselves. "Livin' Proof" is the big classic Group Home LP, but don't sleep on "A Tear From The Ghetto", from which this is taken - there are some solid cuts on there. Guru goes in on the opening verse, and comes back later alongside Lil Dap. Melachi The Nutcracker only gets the hook on this one.
Black Moon : Act Like U Want It
Fierce B-side cut (arguably even better than the flip, "How Many Emcees"), which I appears on the CD version of the classic "Enta Da Stage", but definitely isn't on my original import vinyl. Da Beatminerz (Mr. Walt and Evil Dee) are on production, though those repeated horns in the hook are definitely reminiscent of Pete Rock of the era! Buckshot and 5ft Accelerator share mic duties on this most Brooklyn of Brooklyn tracks.
Nu Vintage : Grynd
Roshin ft. Sean Price : Same Damn 'Lo Sweater
Brand new track I had to play this month! Roshin is a Toronto MC who actually recorded this song with Sean P back in 2010, but finally released it this month after getting the official blessing from Bernadette Price, Sean's wife. FMLSS' beat just grinds like an angry bass spirit is present, and both MCs build from Raekwon's famous line from Wu-Tang's anthem "C.R.E.A.M". Besides generally phenomenal mic skill, Sean P can always be relied on to inject some humour when it's needed, as shows here! Oh, and for those that don't know about the high place Polo Ralph Lauren holds in the culture, peep the free "Horse Power" documentary - you're welcome :)
Termanology ft. Evidence : Low IQ
I'd forgotten all about this B-side, tucked on the other side of the "So Amazing" 12", but Evidence comes through to guest on the mic and the boards and brings that midnight creep vibe. This track is only available on the 12" - you won't find it on the "Politics As Usual" album, so buy both.
Snoop Dogg (ft. Larry June) : Get Yo Bread Up
Not my favourite track from the new "From Tha Streets 2 Tha Suites" LP by any means (currently, that's "CEO"), but the bassline from The Mekanix made me want to use this for some blends! Snoop unsurprisingly takes the crown on this track - if I'm honest, San Francisco's Larry June comes off just a little pedestrian on this one. Snoop has been putting out records longer than some listeners here have even been alive, and he's not stopping!
Clara Hill : Maybe Now
The voice of many great Jazzanova record has carved out a strong solo career in her own right, with six albums at last count. This track from the Berlin-born songstress is taken from "Best of Three", and it's beautiful - if a little short!
Kev Brown : Threat
Remember all those remix versions of Jay-Z's "The Black Album" when the acapellas were circulating? Well, you could do a lot worse than have Kev Brown remixing whatever it was you did. Even better the instrumentals Kev did eventually got released too, so here you can enjoy the bassline king's haunting re-imagining of the already-excellent "Threat".
Digital Underground : Same Song
After everything else this month, to lose the funk genius Shock G as well was a stunning blow to the community. He was the visionary who brought not just some of the P-Funk sound but the attitude, personality, imagination and just pure fun across to Hip-Hop. He took a winding road (sometimes literally) in his early life before becoming one of the founders of Bay legends Digital Underground, but all his experiences produced that one-off personality. We close the episode with this track from the "This Is An EP Release" EP (!), also on the "Nothing But Trouble" soundtrack, which not only features Shock G/Humpty Hump on several verses, but also 2Pac making his first on-record appearance on the final verse. RIP to both.
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!