Jun 29, 2022
"I only ride with the MFers that I used to walk with."
- Suga Free
Another milestone passed - this is the thirteenth birthday episode! Thank you all for staying with me over the long road travelled since that first pilot show. For this month's episode, we once again visit the old and the new, starting with a brand new release from one of my favourite MCs and ending with some storied veterans coming back to burn like T La Rock!
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Matterflow ft. Raekwon : Gray Space
We open the episode with a brand new cross-Atlantic combination - the Parisian producer Matterflow alongside the Staten Island Wu-Tang legend Raekwon. It's a reflective single with a downbeat sound, as Rae talks about moving from the "gray space" he inhabited in his young days to a very different life now. As some of us were recently discussing on a Twitch stream, nowadays in the age of digital releases it's so easy for a single like this to come out and quietly slip by the people who'd want to hear it, so I'm glad I didn't miss this one.
King I Divine : Reflections
I first heard King I Divine's production a good few years back when someone sent me his work, but then he dropped off my radar completely - which would mostly have been my fault! It was a pleasant surprise to hear him popping up on the Chillhop label, whose releases are quickly becoming a go-to for soundtracking tough programming sessions. This is a beautiful little single, not long, but with a relaxed piano line running through, finding its way through all the drums, percussion, and bass.
Mobb Deep : Back At You
RIP Prodigy. There's a good chance that this track might have slipped past you - the very similarly named "Right Back At You" featured on "The Infamous", but this slower, more measured cut was on the "Sunset Park" soundtrack. It also apparently got a single release, which I might chase down just to get the excellent Havoc instrumental.
People Under The Stairs : Carried Away
RIP Double K, another artist gone too soon. I was surprised not to have played the title track to the PUTS "Carried Away" album, their seventh, before, but the vibe is perfect for this time of year. The beat is so crispy and airy that Thes and K give us a twenty-bar intro before the lyrics start to just enjoy it, and a similarly lengthy outro - which also makes it great for DJs!
Marco Polo ft. Oddisee, Kev Brown, Kenn Starr, Kaimbr, and Cy Young : Low Budget Allstars
The DMV (DC, Maryland, Virginia) is in full effect here! Marco Polo is on production, as this is taken from his first LP "Port Authority", but I think it's fair to say that he clearly shows a Kev Brown influence on this beat. I wouldn't be surprised if these two MPC masters collaborated to cook up this track, before Kev and crew got on the mic to top it with bars upon bars. If you like a good posse cut, then this is going to make you smile from ear-to-ear - while nodding your head!
Camp Lo ft. Trugoy The Dove : B-Side To Hollywood
The Lo and De La together on this deep album cut from Camp Lo's debut "Uptown Saturday Night" make for a flavourful combination. Interestingly, this is the only song on the LP not produced by Ski - Trugoy gets behind the boards himself, and you could easily imagine this track, with the hook and all, being on a De La album.
[Tonedeff] PackFM : Stomp (Instrumental)
The Bhangra vibes are heavy on this one! Tonedeff channels the kind of sounds I remember hearing in my neighbourhood as a kid into a banger for Brooklyn's PackFM. There are plenty of interesting things going on in this beat, from the periodic drum rolls/flourishes to the section where the programming suddenly changes and starts racing along in double time - it's a nice piece of work!
Visioneers : Rollin' For The Ride
I'd somehow almost forgotten about this track, until I gave the "Dirty Old Hip-Hop" LP a spin recently. A great mostly-instrumental groove, it could easily have been used as a bed between mixes but here it gets chance to breathe! Visioneers is a project headed up by Marc Mac (of 4Hero), Hopper, and Somatik, and they've put some serious releases out over the years. This breezy groove is perfect for the summer months, and should hopefully prod you into listening to the whole album.
Zapp : Brand New Player
This isn't the sound most people would associate with Zapp, but take away the talkboxes and heavy synths and they still get busy with traditional vocals and instrumentation! As well as the late great Roger Troutman and the rest of the crew, this track features production from the legendary bassist Bootsy Collins of Parliament/Funkadelic fame, and the combination is magic. This oft-overlooked gem is on the debut Zapp LP, which is one to absolutely grab on vinyl if you ever see it - it's an important one to have in your collection.
DJ Quik ft. 2nd II None and Peter Gunz : So Many Wayz
An aside; between this, "Deja Vu", and his guest appearance on "Rock Steady Pt. II", Peter Gunz has pretty much set his stall out as the king of dirty macking, perhaps only second to LL Cool J. Anyway, his appearance on DJ Quik's "Rhythm-al-ism" album wasn't necessarily an expected one but he holds it down for his town alongside Quik protoges 2nd II None and Mr. Blake himself. This tune has a cool intro but try as I might, I couldn't get it to blend how I wanted to, so go and peep the whole album to hear it for yourself - it's an excellent listen, and an LP which is widely regarded as one of Quik's best.
Z-Ro : We Ride
This one has been getting a lot of in-car play lately, so I was pleased to find a spot for it here. As is often the case with Houston's Z-Ro, there's a marked contrast between the cheerfulness of the production and the darkness of some of what he says, but you certainly can't deny his talent. He's a highly-skilled MC who can switch it up and sing, or do both at once as he does here, and at no time will it sound forced. This track is from the 2011 "Meth" album, but is really kind of ageless - it could have come out last week. Beanz & Kornbread handle the production and cook up a personal classic.
B. Bravo : Da Essence
This artist was played on the show just last month, but this track earned him a rapid return! A skilled practitioner of the electronic funk, he cooks up this track to open the new "Vizionz" LP, so take this free sample and then check out the main course...
The Gap Band : Burn Rubber On Me (Why You Wanna Hurt Me)
This lament of an abandoned man is a funk classic which I'm sure quite a few of you will know - and if you don't, you might well recognise that screeching tyre sample, which has been borrowed over and over again! This absolute monster was on the 1980 release "Gap Band III" from Tulsa's finest, and has been an influence on more musicians than you'd think. Dave Grohl said fairly recently that the drum pattern for Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit" was pretty much a direct lift of the drum intro from this track!
Ilajide ft. Clear Soul Forces : Vol 69
Big Detroit flavour from the recently-released "Pocket Jams" album. Ilajide brings in the rest of the CSF members on this track, which timing-wise feels like it's ready to trip over itself at any moment - it's got a beautiful kind of instability to its funkiness, only enhanced by the firehose delivery of the verses. The vibes here are just undeniable.
Buscrates ft. Laura Benack : You Got Me (Extended)
Having recently got up on some of the work of Pittsburgh's funk maestro Buscrates, I've been digging back for tunes that I would have previously missed, and this is a stunner. You could imagine this one moving a sophisticated dancefloor, with the clear and precise keyboard bassline being the highlight of the beat, and the the production overall leaving plenty of space for Laura Benack's vocals to shine. You can find this on the "Luxury Soul 2019" compilation, but it's also available as a single - digital release, if nothing else.
Suga Free and Kokane : SugaKane
This combination definitely needs to be heard over the length of an entire album. For now, we have this Cutty Dre-produced single, on which two highly influential - if not necessarily widely-known - West Coast vocalists give you a sample of their styles. Suga Free basically turns motivational speaker on this one - if you're not used to him, you might have to rewind a few times to catch some of the jewels!
[Evil Dee] Black Moon : Fuck It Up (Rugged and Ruff Instrumental)
B-side action from the flip of the "Who Got The Props?" 12", with Evil Dee going in with a nice bit of jazz style.
Son Of Noise ft. DJ Stylewarz : Adrenaline
Have you ever seen one of those viral videos where some young and cocky idiot tries to bring it to an older man, only to find himself thoroughly outmatched? Well, Son Of Noise certainly aren't as old as all that, but this absolute flamethrower proves that there's no subsitute for experience - which new jacks are bringing it like this? Son Of Noise were born out of the breakup of the pioneering UK crew Hardnoise, who were responsible for tracks like the legendary "Untitled" and "Mice In The Presence Of The Lion" (which you'll hear cut up here). Despite suffering personal losses and record company drama over the years, they've stayed active and true, and you absolutely have to respect them. Taken from last year's "The Resurrection" EP, this is a great channeling of the classic sound sometimes referred to as "Britcore", which was arguably the most prominent vein of late 80s-early 90s UK Hip-Hop. Think of those records as like action films on wax, and this is a high-quality modern example - the beat by OG Bulldog is pure drama, the bars are packed with skills and aggression, and the cuts? 🔥🔥🔥🔥 This could only close the episode, as there's no way to follow 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!