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Air Adam Podcast

Feb 29, 2024

Tick tock, this is how we rock...

"Rockin' and rollin' like the myth of Sisyphus..."

- Anthony Cruz

More than any other month in the year, February is the one where we remember some of the greats that have passed on; as such, this mix includes tracks from J Dilla, De La Soul (RIP Dave), Big L, and Big Pun. The average ruggedness level is high, and we start off with a classic sample being used on a remix you might not know...volume up!

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Slum Village : We Be Dem (Atomic Dog Mix)

"Atomic Dog" is one of the most heavily-used samples in Hip-Hop, and with good reason - even in novice hands it sounds good, and with someone like J Dilla in charge, it sounds amazing! He has it twitching on the three on a beat it's impossible not to move to, and on the mics, the crew don't get too complex. It's only a short one, which I got on a white label of unreleased Slum Village cuts, but I think you can find it these days on some of the digital platforms. In my opinion, this mix wins over the original version!

The ARE : OH

You can hear the sound of a well-known Michael Jackson cut being atomised and reconfigured on this killer from the "Dem Damb Jacksons" instrumentals, which punches so hard that you realise why the track title is in upper case! The whole project, as you might guess from the name, is all MJ and Jackson 5 samples, worked to perfection by the man from Houston who you may also know as a member of K-Otix. 

De La Soul ft. Yummy Bingham : Much More

A single that deserved to be so as a standout from "The Grind Date", this starts off with an uncredited guest appearance by the DJ Premier questioning the commitment of some to the the Hip-Hop culture, before passing to the late great Dave (aka Trugoy) to handle the opening verse. "Using these minutes like I value the call" is a great analogy for an MC who understood more than many how important it is to say something when you have the platform to do so. J Dilla's beat is grand and imposing, and his re-pitching of the main sample as used in the hook wrong-foots you - it was originally sung by a man, but sounds like a woman by the time he's finished with it!

Sol Uprising ft. Emanon : Feel The Sound

Somehow I'd "played past" this one over and over again, due to it sharing a slab of vinyl with the incredible "Raach Ya Sol" on the 2004 "They Don't Know" 12", but having stumbled on it while shortlisting for this month, I think I need to find more places to play it! Sol Uprising is the union of Sci the MC and the awesome Stacy Epps, who is towards the top of my list of "Musicians I Wish Had Released More Material". Alongside them here are Emanon, with Exile (who you might know better for his work with Blu) on production, and Aloe Blacc on the mic. It's the records like this, the ones that slip under the radar, the ones that you sometimes take a chance on, that really make a DJ's record collection.

L.E.G.A.C.Y : More

Legacy strides over this cut from the "Legsclusives" album with so much confidence that you can't help but love it! 9th Wonder's beat from the heyday of the Justus League initially draws you in with the short sample that repeats throughout and his swinging drum track (with a different snare/clap than you might have expected), but that sneaky low bass really anchors it.

Kid Capri ft. Big Pun and NORE : Block Party

Big Pun is regarded as one of the greats in spite of him unfortunately passing away without a huge amount of recordings - his impact was that powerful. It's always a joy to realise you have a feature by him that might not be known to many, and so we land on this collab alongside fellow Latino New Yorker Noreaga, with the legendary Kid Capri on production. "Soundtrack To The Streets", on which this appears, was Kid Capri's 1998 album where he handled things behind the boards and brought in an all-star cast on the mics - being a DJ with his kind of pedigree, there were a lot of people he could call! 

Otis McDonald : One For Dilla

This could happily be played anytime, but as we're paying tribute to J Dilla this month then it's a perfect inclusion for the current episode. You can definitely hear the influence throughout, even as it builds from an initial relatively chilled loop to a more energetic second section before settling down again. This is great work from the "Summer" album.

NEMS, Uncle Murda, Dave East, Scram Jones : NY Is Killing Me

"City workers give up twenty years of they life and still can't afford to pay a mortgage in the Five Boroughs..." It's raw, it's abrasive, and it has a point! You might have missed this one from last year, but this Scram Jones-produced single has Coney Islands' NEMS and guests expressing their frustrations with life in modern day New York City. It's like a rawer, more serious version of J-Zone's "Bullshit City", which the longtime listeners will have heard back on episode 11!

DJ Muggs & Meyhem Lauren : Ready For War

There are many things I love about this track, one of the more specific being the sampled vehement assertions regarding the cost of the sound system :) Of course, the production from Muggs is dark and heavy as per usual and the man on the mic is one of my favourite MCs, Meyhem Lauren! The third in the series of Soul Assassins LPs was another star-studded affair that spawned a companion short film shot in the actual Death Valley - and that in turn spawned an original score from which this track is drawn.

Buccaneer : Bad Man Story

A dancehall classic that's been getting a lot of play from me recently, a gunman anthem on the Baddis riddim that can move any dance! This 1998 release is on "Da Opera" LP, which is well worth a listen, as well as being a big single and also popping up in the Jamaican crime film "Third World Cop".

Blak Twang : Online

Bringing it to the UK for the last tune in the segment, and one I hadn't played at all for a long time - long enough that only after recording did I catch a line that I felt more comfortable censoring. From the third Blak Twang LP "Kik Off" (following the originally-unreleased "Dettwork South East" and "19 Long Time", Tony Rotton gets busy on a Preemo-influenced Harry Love track.

Nicolay : The Specialist (Instrumental)

The Dutch master himself has blessed us via the medium of modern digital distribution with a collection of his old unreleased instrumentals, "Nice Chops - The Dutch Schultz Tapes 2004-2008", which absolutely still stand up today. You can hear his more contemporary material as a soloist and as part of The Foreign Exchange, but this is a great bit of nostalgia and part of a wider set of releases celebrating twenty years of Nicolay's music.

Method Man ft. Raekwon : Meth vs. Chef

Easily one of my favourite cuts from "Tical", Meth's debut and the first of the Wu solo albums, which somehow turns thirty this year... All the elements are here - raw beat, the infamous kung-fu samples (this time from "Ten Tigers of Kwangtung" and "Shaolin Master Killer"), and bars upon bars. Meth opens up before the bell rings to end his verse/round, and then Raekwon brings it home rough like Timberland wear, as he would himself say!

Semi Six : Silver Moon

No singing hook, no hook at all in fact on this single - just a constant lyrical onslaught by one of the finest MCs in the D. The intro is eerie, off-balance, and makes it sound off when you mix it, but as soon as it's over, the dark beat thunders in and doesn't let up until the death - props to the producer, fellow Detroit native AntBell!, for providing a suitable soundtrack for this one.

Mixmaster Mike : Bermuda Tri-Axl

The 2000 "Eye Of The Cyklops" release is so simultaneously chaotic and seamless that when I came to digitise it, the only way I could work out where each track began and ended was to look it up on Discogs and read from the track timings! The legend from Rocksteady DJs/Invisibl Skratch Piklz and also the Beastie Boys, whether on production or on the wheels, always walks that line between virtuosity and total anarchy in a way few can pull off. 

O.C. ft. Big L and The Lost Boyz : Dangerous The Sequel

I cut this one a little short as O.C's next verse isn't so much to my taste! I thought sharing this slightly different version of the Big L-featured cut from the classic "Jewelz" LP would be a good way to play a track you may not know while also including some Big L - like Big Pun, he sadly didn't have a long enough time with us to build a deep catalogue. Production is done by Da Beatminerz, who take one of the all-time classic samples and put some deep bump underneath it. This on the B-side of the excellent "Can't Go Wrong" 12".

[DJ Spinna] Jigmastas : Magnetize (Instrumental)

The drums are smacking, the bass is rumbling, and the overall vibe is hectic on this instrumental from the 2016 "Resurgence" album from this much-respected Brooklyn crew. I played the vocal version of this back on episode 91, which is definitely worth a listen!

Natural Elements : This Is Not A Drill

High-wire apocalyptic Hip-Hop, courtesy of one of the finest groups of MCs you can even think about finding anywhere. Over Charlemagne's dramatic beat, A-Butta, Mr. Voodoo and Swigga all tear it down on a single that suits the extremely serious times we find ourselves in. The original plan was to start the episode with this track...but how do you follow up after this kind of demolition?

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!