Jun 25, 2017
"Permanent. Physical. Suffering."
The eighth birthday of the podcast, but a rough month in the world. A last-minute change to the selection for this episode opened up the inclusion of some verses by Prodigy of Mobb Deep, who passed away just a few days ago. On top of the musical tribute, the title and artwork of this episode are inspired by Prodigy quotes from two different cuts - "G.O.D Pt. III" and "Mac 10 Handle" respectively. As always with a birthday episode, I like to break some favourites out, and I think that there are some classic mixes to be heard this month. Let me know what you think!
PS - If you got a copy of the podcast last month (ep.96) with the repeated "pull it up selector" sample before the first voiceover, it got fixed within the first few hours, so if you re-download it's gone. Maybe the broken version is a virtual collector's item? ;)
Nas : The World Is Yours (Tip Mix)
One of the all-time great remixes, and one of a track which was a classic to begin with! Q-Tip comes through with a stripped down beat headlined by absolutely perfect boom-bap drums, and Nas slightly changes the lyrics from the original version heard on "Illmatic". While we're here - everyone who listens to this podcast should have heard "Illmatic" at least once. It's an unmissable landmark.
Non Phixion : 5 Boros (Remix 'Instrumental')
Ok, let me get this out of the way - we DJs don't want your "TV Track". Just give us a plain instrumental, without adlibs and hooks, and we're good. This beat is a prime example of one I'd like a clean copy of - DR Period with an absolute monster which is streets ahead of the Necro-produced original. The vocal version appeared on the show all the way back on episode 13, and it's well worth going back for a listen!
IAM ft. Sunz of Man : La Saga
I think this is one that most people won't know, and understandably so. I came across this on "Yo! MTV Raps" many moons ago and was surprised by two things; firstly, that this French crew had got a Wu-Fam feature at a time when that was a rare thing, and secondly - how amazingly extravagant the video production was! The episode 68 notes alluded to this one, which I was saving for a special occasion. I got this on the "Le Flow" compilation of French Hip-Hop, but it's originally from the album "L'ecole Du Micro L'argent".
Group Home : Up Against The Wall (Getaway Car Mix)
Another classic 90s remix, appearing on one of DJ Premier's finest projects, the debut Group Home album "Livin' Proof". Those drums, that piano - perfection. Group Home might not have been the greatest MCs in the world (although I do think Lil' Dap is generally underrated), this album got the most out of them.
Royal Flush : Can't Help It
A great tune from the "Ghetto Millionaire" album. Prince Kaysaan on the beat bringing some 80s soul flavour to the beat, filtering down to the bassline during the verses in that early-mid 90s style with the slapping drums to match! On the mic, Royal Flush is kind of laid back in the style of a Mic Geronimo, and Khadejia reworks Michael Jackson on the hook. Here for it.
Prodigy : You Can Never Feel My Pain
I almost played this on the show a couple of times this year, but it just didn't fit the mixes. With the passing of Prodigy this month, I asked a few people if they thought it'd be appropriate to include it this episode, and everyone agreed. A great closer to P's first solo album, "H.N.I.C", this is an extraordinary track where he goes in depth about his lifelong battle with Sickle-Cell Anaemia, a blood disease primarily found in Black and other tropic-originating people. The lyrics feature what could be regarded as some shots at 2Pac, which likely stemmed from Pac's entirely unwarranted mocking of Prodigy's illness on "Hit 'Em Up". Ric Rude's production is a great backdrop for an intensely personal song.
Mobb Deep : Temperature's Rising
For most people, it's "Shook Ones, Pt. 2", but this is my personal favourite track on the second (yes, second) Mobb Deep album "The Infamous". Lyrically it's as dark as you'd expect from the Queensbridge duo - based on the true story of Havoc's now late brother, who had been on the run for murder - but musically, it's so smooth. This was Q-Tip at for me, the height of his producing powers, alongside the Mobb. The drums bang hard and then the beautiful Patrice Rushen sample comes in, and Crystal Johnson's hook tops it all off. Prodigy, Havoc, Q-Tip and Crystal created a classic.
Yadava : For Peace
Time to chill things out for a little while! Yadava, resident and co-founder of the Manchester night "So Flute" cooks up something fresh and clean for the "Manchester With Love" compilation, a mammoth gathering of music from the city which is raising money for the Red Cross "We Love Manchester" emergency fund. With a cause like that, and a package of 226 tracks for a minimum donation of £10, I can't recommend highly enough that you get a copy!
Chaka Khan : I Feel For You
Trivia for you - the repeated triggering of Melle Mel saying "Chaka Khan" at the start was a mistake that sounded good, so they stayed with it! This is an absolute monster of a record, with star quality at every turn. For one, Chaka Khan was already a legendary singer at this point, primarily for fronting the funk group Rufus. Featuring in the band, you had some guy called Stevie playing the harmonica (you may have heard of him), and David Frank of The System on the synths. That's not even counting Melle Mel's opening bars. Finally, this song was written by Prince, and actually recorded by him on his second album. Rebbie Jackson and The Pointer Sisters also recorded versions, but which is the one that gets the play? This. Fire.
Suga Free : Hello, Hello, Hello
Sorry Lionel and Adele, but this is in fact the best song with only the word "Hello" in the title ;) "Hello, hello, hello" could easily have been the epigraph for an episode just because of how fly Free's delivery is! Typically outrageous in both ways on the mic, he just slays this old-school flavoured beat from Casino on the "Sunday School" LP.
Clipse ft. Keri Hilson : All Eyes On Me
I cannot work out why this song from "Til The Casket Drops" never got a single release with a video. The Neptunes on production cooked up a beat here which could easily have done well in the clubs, and has been used on many a dance routine! One of the high points of this track is the first line of the hook; I'm not sure if it's intentional, but Keri Hilson delivers it kind of void of emotion - and it works. Maybe it's just me?
Run The Jewels : Call Ticketron
This cut from "RTJ3" has been powering me through skipping (or "jump rope", as some call it) workouts at the gym over the last few months. Crazy hectic, full of energy - if they ever did play at MSG, the place would go nuts over this one!
Miguel Migs ft. Aya : The Distance (Balcazar & Sordo Remix)
The original version of "The Distance" from "Outside The Skyline" is a beauty, and almost got included here, but when I remembered this remix and tried the blend out...it had to be the choice. I do wish they'd used "into the distance" from the original hook here, but that's my only complaint. Aya's vocals are always smooth as silk, and is a great accompaniment to the cold (in a good way), electronic instrumental. Definitely worth checking the remixes release if this kind of thing is your bag!
Trae The Truth : Open Up Tha Trunk
Slow, dark, unnecessarily menacing? Sign me up! Freestyle from the "Another 48 Hours" project by Trae which, as the title suggests, was apparently completed in just two days. Moxiii and Watson The Great come through with an insanely gloomy beat, with the slowed vocal sample for the hook making it sound even more claustrophobic. Teenage me had never heard beats like this, but was trying to make them - would have loved this!
Curren$y : Take You Higher
Cool & Dre go to town with the sample warping and filter tricks right here for the opener of the "Andretti 11/30" mixtape! Curren$y goes with a common theme of his - smoking up and getting lifted. Nothing complicated lyrically, and he cedes control of the track after just one verse to let the producers show off, which is a smart decision. When you've said all there is to say, why not step back?
Corinne Bailey Rae : Taken By Dreams
Leeds! It's been special to see Corinne Bailey Rae's career continue to build, and her latest album, "The Heart Speaks In Whispers" is a worthy addition to her catalogue. I love the way this track opens as a quite acoustic number, then brings in a wave of other elements before settling back into stillness at the end; great production by Corinne and Steven Brown. And if you ever get chance to see her perform live, do.
Wretch 32 ft.Varren Wade, Bobii Lewis & Avelino : Open Conversation & Mark Duggan
The man Mr Mari put me up on Wretch 32 a few months back and after doing a little listening, this went into headphone rotation and I was searching for a way to work it into the show. Wretch 32 started his career in the grime scene before transitioning over to more of a Hip-Hop sensibility, and his "Growing Over Life" album is a considered piece of work. This track, as he describes it, starts as very much like pages from his diary, with feelings and details that many will be able to relate to. When he starts talking about Mark Duggan, bear in mind that this is someone from his area, someone he actually went to school with - not just a person on the news. The track runs slightly short here, but it's definitely worth hearing the whole thing.
Beyoncé : Sorry (Instrumental)
Had to do a little looping and chopping to get enough of an instrumental bed to fit here, just using the intro which I think is killer. Wynter Gordon, Melo-X, Beyonce, Hit-Boy, and Stuart White are all credited with the production of this cut from the "Lemonade" album.
Oddisee : Like Really
Sometimes, you look at the madness out here, that's your reaction. Taken from Oddisee's latest album "The Iceberg", this was a track I first heard live and very much benefits from the input of live instrumentalists. Oddisee has always been a quality artist since his days working with people like DJ Jazzy Jeff and Foreign Exchange, but I never saw him expanding as much as he has done; it's a testament to hard work and commitment to the art, not the fame.
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!