Mar 31, 2023
"Godbodies behind bars, y'all see the barcode."
The month went from the ridiculous to the sublime, but as always, here we are right on time! This episode we pay homage to Phife and Biggie Smalls, and bring out some great recent releases alongside some older tracks that I think will have escaped the notice of many - after all, there's so much music out there! Almost an hour-long mix this time out, let's get to it...
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E-40 : On The Case
One of the hardest-working men in Hip-Hop, E-40 has recorded twenty-six studio albums, and still sounds as dope has when he debuted back in 1992. This is from his sixteenth, the second in the "The Block Brochure : Welcome To The Soil" trilogy, and as the prisoner quoted in the hook says, it does indeed slap! Chris "THX" Goodman gives him a dark, stomping beat which is a perfect backing for 40's flow as he gives you some free game. Whether you're facing a case or just a tough week at the work, I hope this helps!
Lsdream & Z-Trip : Space Funk
Giving exactly what it says on the tin, this tune is heavy instellar bass business. Z-Trip is better known to many of us as a turntablist and DJ, but his collaboration here with the former Brillz is a beautiful slice of bassy, floaty, vocoded production goodness!
Semi Six & Ilajide : Too Code
Going back to the "Park Orange" collab between these two Detroit natives, we have bump in abundance on this one. If one part of the track stands out, it's the fact that clearly, the roads in their neighbourhood and those in Manchester have a lot in common. Don't ride your 23" rims round here, for your own good!
Karl Hinds : Don Gramma
Twenty-two years on, some of these terms may have been superseded, but you get the point! Essentially the UK (or London, at least) version of Big L's underground hit "Ebonics", Karl runs you through a selection of the local slang, and handles the squelchy, bassy production on top of that. I'd only be half-surprised if it turns out he did the 12" cover design too...
Bumpy Knuckles ft, Sy Ari Da Kid : Word
It was a struggle to find a tune to
fit into this spot, but I'm pleased with the choice - very much a
deep cut from Bumpy, taken from the now ten-year-old "Mix Files,
Vol.1" EP, which seems to be little hard to find nowadays. In fact,
it's not even listed on his Discogs discography at present, which
makes me wonder if that's just an oversight or if it was actually
some kind of bootleg!
Note : Feburary 29th does come, just infrequently...
Rich The Factor & DJ.Fresh : White Party
I've been playing this one in the car so much over the last year or so, it's about time it made its way onto the show! Kansas City's incredibly prolific Rich The Factor isn't coming with particularly complex bars, just vibing to the 80s-flavoured beat from DJ.Fresh from their edition of the "The Tonite Show" series, sampling a great bit of jazz-funk to great effect.
Tavaras Jordan : Photogenic (Instrumental)
It was great to see a complete instrumental release of Le$' "E30" LP, which was produced by Tavaras Jordan, who is rapidly becoming a personal favourite. Smooth synth and drum machine action with a lot of polish. Definitely one to hear in the car!
Slum Village ft. Phife Dog : Push It Along
Marking the anniversary month of Phife's passing, I thought I'd share a track of his you may not know. The circumstances are beautifully circular - Phife, Ali Shaheed Muhammad, and Q-Tip make up Tribe. Q-Tip puts J Dilla on as part of The Ummah, a production unit that worked on the later Tribe albums, which ultimately gives a boost to the early career of Slum Village. Years later, Slum Village, after the passing of J Dilla, bring Phife of Tribe in for this feature - named after a track from Tribe's debut. You can find this on Slum's "Yes!" LP, with Young RJ representing lovely on production.
ILLAMAN & Pitch 92 : Sometimes Relax
Great new single out of the UK, with ILLAMAN (all caps?) of Pengshui flowing over a Pitch 92 instrumental that is built around what sounds like reversed strings, wrapped in warm bass and a suitably-relaxed drumline. As the song says, sometimes we all need reminding to take a breath. Great to hear Pitch continue to build on his early catalogue with Plato and The Mouse Outfit, consistently releasing high-quality music.
Kardinal Offishall ft. Glenn Lewis : The Naked Truth
This one from "Kardi Gras Vol. 1 : The Clash" went down well on a Twitch stream recently, so I thought I'd finally include it on the podcast for all the subscribers! It's an all-Toronto affair, with R&B vocal master Glenn Lewis adding the perfect accompaniment to Kardinal's loverman lyrics with a hook that I think really makes the track.
Chris Mazuera : Inspiration (Statik Selektah Remix)
NYC's Mazuera was already onto a winner with this track from his debut LP "Let's Take A Trip", but getting Statik Selektah to remix it lifts it to an even higher level. It's still subtle and considered though, with Statik not overwhelming the original, and making it very much a joint piece of expression.
Benny Reid & Havoc : Temperature's Rising
Tracks from this combination between the jazz musician Benny Reid and Hip-Hop production legend Havoc have been trickling out over the last couple of months, and this version was one I was especially glad to hear, with the original "Temperature's Rising" being a personal favourite from the classic Mobb Deep LP "The Infamous". An all-instrumental remake, it of course derives from "Where There Is Love" by Patrice Rushen, but works in a live version of the boom that made the Mobb track such a killer.
Alaskan Fishermen : Fire & Ice
No hook, no radio appeal, no R&B affectations, just aggro underground rawness. The MCs build the lyrical structure in extremely short four-bar blocks, taking turns in trying to spit the most killer lines before passing to the next man. The final cut on Thirstin Howl's "Brooklyn Bullet Goldcard Membership" 12", the dramatic production brings exactly the right vibe.
Will.I.Am ft. KRS-ONE : Take It
It somehow feels wrong that KRS isn't officially the headline artist on this track, but aside from the hook, he is the only one on the mic! This 12" really deserved an airing after it made it into my digitised collection, as I realised that very few people have heard it. The beat is an interesting one, with the timing/programming being a little "off" in a way that makes it hard to mix with but also gives it the hard-to-place feel, and the hardness can't be denied. "Where Is The Love?", this is not.
Ras Kass : TV Guide
Dopeness from the eventually-released "Van Gogh" album, Ras takes inspiration from tracks like GZA's "Labels" and "Publicity", folding the names of dozens of TV programmes into his verses, while simultaneously making a critique of the medium itself. There's an alternate version with very different production courtesy of Carlos "Six July" Broady on the 12" of "Tha Dopest", if you can find it!
Pharoahe Monch : YAYO
The transition here is so swift that you might miss it at first, but we hand over from Ras to Pharoahe with the quickness for a fierce cocaine-themed cut (no pun intended)... Lee Stone's guitar-laden production on this single is heavy, and it's all topped off with some exceptionally sharp cuts courtesy of Boogie Blind of the X-Ecutioners - not seventeen-click flares or anything, just absolute mastery of the fundamentals and great scratch composition.
[Le Damus & SLA] Kwest, Gauge, and Eddie Broke : 718 (Instrumental)
This isn't even my favourite cut on the "Get Large Productions" 12" (that would be the mighty "Get Large"), but the horn-laden production on this instrumental would easily cut the mustard as an A-side on another release!
The Notorious B.I.G. : Real N****z (Do Real Things)
Excuse the sound quality as I share a piece of history - a legendary entry in Biggie's unofficial catalogue that you may never have heard if you're a little younger than me! This is drawn from the "Best Of Biggie" mixtape by Mister Cee, who of course was a critical figure in Big's early career. Sadly ironic given the eventual drama that played a central role in his premature death, the soundscape is pure California, with Biggie freestyling over the instrumentals from some of the biggest West Coast classics of the era. RIP.
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!