Apr 30, 2023
"We on they mood board, though they livin' in denial."
This month's selection came together slowly and then all at once! It's turned out to be a great combination of deep album cuts, some lesser-known bonus tracks and remixes, as well as some brand new nuggets you can and should add to your collection! Of course I had to give you some Guru, and we start the episode with a cover version of a record that samples another musical giant, the recently and sadly departed Ahmad Jamal.
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Elzhi & Will Sessions : The World Is Yours
RIP to the great Ahmad Jamal, the legendary pianist who was famously sampled on the original "The World Is Yours" on the classic Nas "Illmatic" LP. As we've already played that on the podcast, we instead turn to the excellent re-imagining of that album by the all-Detroit combination of the band Will Sessions and the gifted MC Elzhi. It's always interesting when a musician is sampled by a Hip-Hop producer, and then that production later remade by other live musicians - bringing things full circle.
The Quarter Inch Kings : I'm No Comeback
As part of the Beat Tape Project, Toronto's Quarter Inch Kings channel some soulful flavour on this instrumental from "The AZ Beat Tape" - one that I could very well hear the Brooklyn Legend on.
Masta Ace & Marco Polo : Masta Polo
I was almost going to describe Marco Polo as one of the new generation of producers, but then I realised - it's been eighteen years! Still fresh, yet a veteran, he combines with a legend from the Juice Crew, Brooklyn's Masta Ace, for some classy 21st century boom-bap. You need to find the Deluxe edition of the Polo-produced "A Breukelen Story" album to get this one, and it's well worth the effort.
Terri Walker ft. Ty : OK
One of the finest soul singers these isles have ever produced, though an underappreciated one, Terri Walker has always shown love to the home team, with this track being a great example. The Nottingham stalwart Joe Buhdha is behind the boards, and the late London don TY warms up the mic before Ms Walker strides over the instrumentation. You might know her first few LPs, but definitely check for the later stuff, such as the EP this track was release on, "Joe Buhdha Presents Breakout". RIP Ty, live long Terri Walker.
Gang Starr : 2 Deep (City Lick Mix)
This is one of my earliest Hip-Hop 12" purchases, and a version of the Gang Starr classic deep single that I had to grow into! The UK's Dodge City Productions were, in retrospect, a perfect choice to take on remix duties here, a group well-steeped in the jazz that Gang Starr had helped pioneer as part of Hip-Hop. The late great Guru is in fine form, on his grown man business over all three verses - starting closer to battle mode and then weaving in his message. Apparently a Europe-only release, this is a worthy version to stand next to the original from the "Daily Operation" LP.
Curren$y : Fortune 500
This is clearly an anthem for LLC Twitter, with one long verse about getting that cash, and the outro showing Curren$y quizzing the next generation. The brand new "For Motivational Use Only" LP is another in the set of releases where Curren$y links up with a single producer to build a cohesive whole - in this case, the veteran Jermaine Dupri. I'd be lying if I said it was a collaboration that I was thinking about, but it works!
Medline : Payé Entièrement
Sound familiar? If you didn't guess from the title, this is a wicked instrumental cover of the classic "Paid In Full" by Eric B & Rakim that just cannot be denied. You can head straight over to Bandcamp to get the digital version as a bonus cut on the "Je Sais Que Tu As De L'Âme" release (put that into Google Translate if you don't speak French) - really, an essential pickup in my opinion.
Knaladeus : Lose Or Win
Not in terms of complexity as such, but in terms of tone, does Knaladeus here remind you of Black Thought at all? Either way, self-produced dopeness with quality songwriting from this artist out of Florida, one of the early tracks on his 2018 "Letters To You" album. His heartfelt lyrics on top of that beat are already a great blend, but the cherry is provided by DJ Stranger's cuts, drawing from the lyrics of Guru - once I heard those, this track was a lock for this episode.
Onra : 1-4 TONI
If you like a track with instructions (think "Jump Around", or hell, even "The Time Warp"), then this is up your street. That said, if you weren't already nodding your head to this one, you might want to clear your ears out first! Nice beat by the man from Paris, a 2018 track that went unreleased until Valentine's Day this year.
Superbad Solace : Throwing Fits
One for the Lo heads, from one of the foremost representatives currently recording! Solace has done it again with his "Sol Controller 3" project, and this track dedicated to the art of getting fresh is a personal favourite. The references to the Ralph Lauren brand and lifestyle are numerous, but as Solace points out, "you can buy gear, but you can't buy style"! The beat by Mono en Stereo makes you feel like you need to be posing on a yacht for a catalogue somewhere :)
Panama Gat : So Lonely
This man has a spectacular MC name, though it feels a little wrong to point it out when the subject of his song on this episode is so serious. It's raw at times, but that's often how it goes when you're expressing real emotion. On the production front, the soul-sampling beat reminds you of the work of Kanye West and Just Blaze around the same era, but it's not a bite in any way. I'm not sure who put it together, but my guess is 9th Wonder, as this is part of the Justus League "Just Us, Vol. 6" mixtape.
Leavv : Within
A little of that Chillhop flavour for you, with Leavv coming from Germany but this track coming from some kind of dreamland where even the passing clouds come with a bumping drum accompaniment. Find this on the "Chillhop Essentials - Fall 2017" collection, which even now is available as a "name your price" release on Bandcamp!
Ilajide : Boom Shakalak
I'd almost forgotten this track from "#0414917"! The programming of this beat by one of Detroit's finest is on a half-time vibe which makes it feel much slower than the 100bpm than it measures at, and he works that by keeping his flow on the mic downtempo too.
Tha Chill ft. Kokane : RNO
Part of the respected Compton's Most Wanted, Tha Chill missed out on featuring on two of the group's LPs due to legal troubles, but bounced back from them and not only reunited with the crew but has a solid set of solo releases to his name. This track is from the 2020 "Fohead" LP, and I think may be self-produced - the instrumental embodies his name, with it being a little dark and cold, and moderately uptempo without being hectic. On the mic he's joined by another "if you know, you know" west coast legend, Pomona's Kokane, an artist well worth exploring in his own right.
Sepalot ft. Blu : Surrender
Rough, angular, lurching electronic rawness! Heading back over to Germany (Munich, to be precise), we pick up this B-side from the 2008 "She Likes Me" 12", loaded with synths and disembodied yells. It's a challenging background for an MC, but Blu, who you might know for considerably more gentle material, handles it with no problem at all.
Erick Sermon ft. MC Lyte and Rah Digga : Tell Me (If You Don't Feel Me)
Erick Sermon is a respected MC in his own right, but part of his production greatness is in knowing when to draft in even more firepower, as he does here on the 2002 "React" album! Two different generations (in terms of career period, if not age) combine to burn up the guest features here, with Brooklynite MC Lyte and Newark's Rah Digga bringing it home over Erick's beat, which very much has the flavour of the era.
Dâm-Funk : The Flow
The "STFU II" EP is - relatively speaking - a chilled collection for the Pasadena modern funk legend. This track has clean, gliding keyboard pads, but also the right weight of drums and synth bass, plus the tempo, to allow you to dance to it if that's how you feel. Dâm-Funk has been building up a very respectable discography since his 2008 debut single - take some time to explore it if you haven't already.
DJ Quik ft. Ludacris : Spur Of The Moment / Pacific Coast Remix
This might not be the most progressive track in the world, but it sounds absolutely fantastic, still. A standout on 2005's "Trauma" album, in shows how skilled DJ Quik is not just as a producer (and MC), but also as a mixer/engineer. The sunshiney vibes pour out of this one, and Ludacris, who my Twitch crowd all seem to agree is an underrated MC, hits the mark perfectly as a guest. This track seems to have a different title depending on whether you have the CD or vinyl of the album, but the only difference between them is how you rewind it to play it again once it fades out!
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!