Jul 28, 2022
"If you move, I'll fall."
I've been away for most of the month dealing with a family emergency, but I've just about managed to get an episode together with the few days of the month I've been in Manchester. I spent a few of the days away trying to do my day job in some absolutely punishing heat, and so ended up listening to a lot of laid-back tunes to fit the temperature - as such, I thought I'd shape the month's selection in the same manner! Some old classics (including one for KMG, RIP) and more recent cuts, moving through a few different genres - enjoy!
Twitter : @airadam13
Twitch : @airadam13
India Shawn ft. Anderson .Paak : Movin' On
We start the episode on the modern soul tip with a killer from Los Angeles native India Shawn, who you'll have heard on the podcast before. As much as Anderson .Paak comes through with a great guest appearance, it's absolutely still her song. It's sunny, fresh, and a good song to wake up to as much as anything! With her message of moving out of a bad situation to something better, India Shawn creates an uplifting cut alongside producer D'Mile, which you can find on the short "Before We Go" album.
Tavaras Jordan : The Player's Ball
The more I catch up on his back catalogue, the more this man becomes one of my favourite musicians and producers. This instrumental is from his "SouthernPlayalistic" beat tape, and it's a sunny, refined track which, while you could imagine being topped with an R&B singer quite easily, is perfect just as it is.
Roy Ayers Ubiquity : Everybody Loves The Sunshine
One of the timeless, foundation, unimpeachable summer anthems - already forty-six years old and it still gets plenty of play. That's not even getting into how many times it's been covered, remixed, sampled, it's just a cultural staple. If you don't know, Roy Ayers is a jazz/soul/funk artist, writer, and producer, who has been putting out work since the early Sixties - and who is still performing live today! This is the title track from one of the albums under the name "Roy Ayers Ubiquity", and while the whole LP is good, this will always be the standout.
Lisa Shaw : Better Days
The opening track from Lisa Shaw's second LP, "Free", this is a light and airy, beautifully-engineered track that puts Shaw front and centre, at a slow and leisurely pace to warm you up for the more uptempo material that makes up the majority of the album. Still waiting on a third LP from this incredibly talented artist though...
Le$ : Campaign
Late night Houston rider music! The "Le$ Is More" EP was another quality release from the man with maybe the biggest contrast between his work ethic and how energetic he sounds on the mic (that said, Snoop also exists), and after playing this quite a few times this month I thought it was the track to include in the mix. Those gliding keyboards open things up and acclimatise you and then when the drum track drops, you're fully locked in.
UGK : It's Supposed To Bubble
If you don't know UGK's work, I'd recommend giving them a listen - Pimp C (RIP) and Bun B came out of Port Arthur, Texas, with their own highly-musical brand of Hip-Hop that stands up against anyone you can name. What often sounds like samples in their work is often built up with live, replayed versions of famous licks played by Pimp and guests, and then they bring their southern flavour to the mic. This track comes from their second LP, 1994's "Super Tight", and they're celebrating with a little champagne. It does, indeed, be like that sometimes.
MF DOOM : Red And Gold (Original 12" Instrumental)
No matter what, "Operation Doomsday" will always be my favourite MF DOOM (RIP) release - at that time, it hit like nothing else, sounding like someone with a stack of 80s records, a drum machine, and a mic, holed up in a bedroom and going for it. I'm not going to mention the sample, but it's not hidden at all - and you likely recognise it from some other uses!
Prodigy : Stronger
The late, great Prodigy on a slow and low number from the "The Ellsworth Bumpy Johnson EP" and later the "Bumpy Johnson" LP, spitting rawness with that legendary voice. King Benny borrows from the 1966 Nina Simone classic "Four Women", and the specific words he takes and manipulates makes me wonder if it's a specific reference to P's strength in enduring sickle-cell anaemia for so long.
Brand New Heavies : Mind Trips (Durham Remix)
If you want a different take on BNH material, definitely seek out the "Elephantitis" remix collection - it's two CDs (or digital, I guess), one being funk-based and the other all house remixes. As you can hear, this is the former, reworked by the Hip-Hop producer Bob Durham, who gives this a classy, laid-back vibe. As well as being on that remix collection, this was on the original "Mind Trips" single from 1995, along with a Def Jef version - so worth looking out for!
Geto Boys : Leanin' On You
When the Geto Boys first came out with this lineup for their legendarily brutal 1990 debut "The Geto Boys", you could never have imagined that one day, Bushwick Bill (RIP) would be spitting Christian bars, which just goes to show you never know what the future holds! Bill's lyrics on this track from "The Foundation" were actually written by Willie D, who also delivers the opening verse himself. Mr. Mixx of 2 Live Crew builds the track around a 70s soul sample, borrowing the hook entirely to set the theme for all the MCs to rhyme about loss, pain, and those times when we all falter.
Ann Peebles : I Can't Stand The Rain
Even if you don't know it, you'll recognise it - a true giant of a track. Inspired by an actual comment from Peebles when a rainstorm started as she and friends were due to head to a concert, songwriter Don Bryant and DJ Bernie Miller wrote the foundation and then brought it to Willie Mitchell, who cooked up the raindrop riff. From there, it just needed a strong vocal to make it a classic and Ann Peebles delivers in spades, a classic performance where she lets it all out. It's been covered by Tina Turner, and sampled by Missy Elliott, but sometimes you need that original lick. More heat on the LP of the same name!
Khruangbin : August 10
We return to Texas for this beautiful instrumental number from this Houston funk powerhouse. The "Con Todo El Mundo" LP is one that really deserves a front-to-back listen on a hot day with a quality pair of headphones or a sound system, and this track gives you a great appetiser. The first song the group wrote together was "August 12", and this track is actually that song reversed, with some added flavour into the bargain. Genius!
Shaun Escoffery : Give Everything (DJ Spinna Remix)
I had a download (sssh) back in the day of the "Soulonica" remix LP claiming that this is a DJ Cam remix, but I bought it recently and it's labelled as a DJ Spinna remix, so that's what we're going with! It's a Brooklyn-UK connection, with Spinna on the beat leaving loads of space for Shaun Escoffery's vocals, stripping away the acoustic guitars and other flourishes from the original. Speaking of the original, it's on the 2002 "Shaun Escoffery" album, which contains some absolute fire - if you only dip in for one other track, I recommend "Conversations Of The Heart".
Above The Law : Encore
Many groups struggle to put together a great three-album run, but Above The Law reached that mark and surpassed it - for me, their HoF run is at least four, and possibly five albums long (ending with "Legends"). This is from their fourth LP, "Time Will Reveal", which is one you should definitely try to find if you've never heard it - in my opinion, it really hasn't aged and remains a great listen to this day. This track was the first on the vinyl (second on CD), and is a perfect opener. The late great KMG takes the first verse, telling the story of the group's come-up in his laid-back style, with Cold 187um delivering his verse with a more hype approach. Production is also handled by Cold 187um, showing absolute mastery of his evolution of the G-Funk sound.
Janelle Monáe : It's Code
You should know the deal by now when one of the modern greats blesses us with an album. "The Electric Lady" is already nine years old, but still stands up and I went back to that LP for this track, another chapter in her long-running musical narrative telling the story of the android Cindi Mayweather. If you weren't listening closely or hadn't read the title, you might think this song was titled "It's Cold", but Janelle flips it in keeping with the overall tech theme.
Jay-Z : People Talkin'
"I ain't gotta sell another record in my life", he says - and while he might have been right, he shifted a fair few after this was recorded! This was labelled as "People Are Talking" on the white label 12" I have it on, but this is much more easily available as a bonus track on the Jay-Z "Unplugged" album. Lyrically you can tell that this comes from the period when Jay seemed to have beef with everyone - Nas, Mobb Deep, some guy selling burgers on the corner...anyway, he's sharp with it as always! Ski Beatz is on production, with his own take on the sped-up soul samples that were so popular around this time.
Agallah : Living Love (Instrumental)
Just what I needed for this spot, coming from the "PCP Instrumentals" by one of East New York's finest. This drumless track that is simultaneously vocal-sampling and yet basically an instrumental - skilfully done.
Trae Tha Truth : Rollin'
Correction here: I said it was
an 80s sample, but in fact it was from a 1979 record. Saying no
I play this one so much for myself, I was amazed to find it hadn't been on the podcast yet! Trae is not only a veteran MC, with solo album releases going back nearly twenty years (and collabs before that), but a noted and self-driven philanthropist who has tirelessly put work into his community. He's so beloved in his hometown of Houston that the city honoured him by declaring July 22nd "Trae Day", and the love is well-earned. He's still pumping out the music today, but we go back ten years to the 2012 "Tha Blackprint" release to close this episode. It's a favourite topic of the region - how ill his car is, how good he looks riding in it - and he executes it well over a reworking of a classic soul sample by Platinum Hands. As with many tracks from the South, I maintain that if you don't like it, you're probably listening to it in the wrong setting; play it on a good car or club system, and you'll understand...
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!