Oct 30, 2018
"...whispered from a watery grave 'you are our only hope'..."
- Bishop Lamont
(0)113 is the area code for Leeds, so it's a perfect month to include a good number of tracks from my home city! The selection also has some excellent new/recent tracks, and a couple of really serious reaches into my vinyl archive.
Twitter : @airadam13
Kardinall Offishall : Kill Bloodclott Bill (Bang Bang)
A big tune I used to enjoy playing back in the mid-2000s. The 2004 "Kill Bloodclott Bill" mixtape from Kardinal, released the year after the "Kill Bill" film, had plenty of bangers on it and is one to grab if you can find it. This particular track has him taking the industry ("Bill") to task over a self-produced beat with plenty of low-end and that Nancy Sinatra sample for the hook. I imagine quite a few people are hearing this for the first time, so I hope it hits you like it did me when it came out!
[DJ Premier] Blaq Poet : Poet Has Come (Instrumental)
DJ Premier just has endless great beats. This one came off the 12" for "Poet Has Come", but I had to loop it up as it's a "TV Track". I don't know why anyone ever created those - DJs don't want the hook and adlibs!
DJ Agent M ft. B.T.I : Reveal
A meeting of the generations here, with B.T.I (formerly/fully Breaking The Illusion), a Leeds cornerstone, taking the mic on a production from DJ Agent M, a younger producer who has clearly been picking up tips from those who came before him. This track from the "Uncanny EP" is just on that straight-up Hip-Hop vibe and after playing you just a bit of an Agent M track recently, I wanted to give you a proper listen to some of his stuff right here.
Apathy : The Order
Apathy isn't a MC I keep up with generally, but I got recommended this DJ Premier-produced track and I've been trying to find a place for it on the show for the last three episodes! On wax since 2004, you may well know him from his contributions to the Demigodz and Army of the Pharaohs crews - he's certainly got a long discography. His latest is "The Widow's Son" album, from which this is taken, and the signature Primo beat complete with Kool G Rap samples is a perfect setting for Ap to get spit heavy bars over.
Semi Six & Ilajide : Do My Thang
If this doesn't make you move, a pulse check needs to be done! This track by Detroit's Semi Six from his "Park Orange" LP, produced by Ilajide, is just an absolute winner. Ilajide makes skilful use of the open hi-hat along with the bass notes hitting between count to get your neck and shoulders moving like a prizefighter, while Six flows confidently over the track. He states his aim for this release was to showcase his skills as an MC and to provide an example for younger rappers coming up - I'd say he's more than done that.
Homecut ft. Corinne Bailey Rae and Soweto Kinch : I Don't Even Know (DJ Vadim Remix)
"Homecut" is a pseudonym of the MC, beatboxer, educator, and general all-rounder Testament, who has made Leeds his home after being born in London and brought up in Manchester. His one-man theatre show "Woke" is excellent, by the way! This track of his got the nod over other worthy selections from his catalogue partly due to it featuring one of Leeds' most outstanding artists in any genre, Corinne Bailey Rae. The also world-renowned saxophonist Soweto Kinch is also features, and DJ Vadim puts his own twist on the original version of this track (from "No Freedom Without Sacrifice") and brings in plenty of extra bass. You can get this and the rest of the "Homecut Remixed, Vol.1" album on Bandcamp.
AMP : The World
A 2009 beat I'm only just getting up on! This comes from the album "DJ BattleCat Presents G's & Sexy Vol.1", but this specific track is credited to AMP - I'm not sure if it's a collaboration with the longtime California production wizard or a solo beat, but it's great music with that West Coast mix of sun and bass.
Ghostface Killah ft. Killah Priest and Bishop Lamont : Constant Struggle
A good few years ago, many of us in the online Hip-Hop community were amused by the hilarious (but also on-point) words of a man under the name Big Ghost, writing in the style of the speech of Ghostface Killah. Fast-forward to the present day, and Big Ghost Ltd is a producer whose style is all business, with no hint of a nod to crossing over to a pop audience. The huge news this year that he was actually going to produce an album for Ghostface himself was a total blindside hit, and the LP does not disappoint! This track was an early standout for me, with all three MCs expounding on their own concepts of freedom, but Bishop Lamont absolutely shutting it down with his brilliant third verse. All those great lyrics would be slightly wasted with the wrong backdrop, but Big Ghost's gospel-driven beat takes it to church in fine style!
Bumpy Knuckles : Ol Morning
I can definitely relate to needing a bit of time to get up to speed first thing in the morning nowadays! Bumpy, through a description of his daily routine, reflects on a long and respected career in Hip-Hop, one that hopefully still has more miles yet to travel. Nottz on the beat on this pick from the "Pop Duke, Vol.1" LP.
Natural Elements : NEon Lights
One of the great unsung groups surprised me this month coming out with some new material I wasn't expecting! The new "Death Comes In 3s" release is, as the title implies, a three-song collection produced by Charlemagne (the original, not the Breakfast Club one) and J.Armz that I'm really enjoying. As always, all three MCs are on point with the bars and flows, making this a must-check!
Invisible Orchestra ft. J Bravo : Therapy
Nottingham's Invisible Orchestra are a well-respected group of experienced musicians, and they've always shown love to Hip-Hop. J Bravo is one of the foremost MCs from Leeds, and this track is a quality northern connection! Find this on the 2010 "Two Syllables" compilation from First Word Records.
Abstract Orchestra : Fantastic
Another orchestra, why not? Now Abstract Orchestra are straight Leeds and centred around a big-band Hip-Hop aesthetic. Their debut LP release "Dilla" was, as you'd expect, their own versions of classic J Dilla productions, and this is one of my favourites both in the original and replayed form.
Braintax : Monsoon Funk
Braintax started in Leeds as a duo, before DJ Test left and Joe Christie (also the founder of Low Life Records) carried on the name and eventually relocated to London. He retired in 2008, but we still have that old material to look back on. This killer cut somehow was going to be left off the "Panorama" album, but luckily it made the grade and so we get to hear him declare that he's "Yorkshire to the bone" over one of his own quality beats.
MAIDM : B-Boy Shit
Two artists here who might not be from Manchester, but have absolutely carved their names into the city scene with tons of great work over the years. Aim released three highly respected albums on Grand Central (plus more besides with different labels), and Mikey D.O.N is part of the great Krispy, and a DJ/selector with the championship hardware to prove it! They combine here on the B-side to the "Tun Up Di Heat (Party Banger)" single for some pure...well, B-boy shit! Mikey brings energy on the mic as he pays tribute to the culture over an uptempo beat that sounds just as good in the headphones as on a big system.
Ultramagnetic MCs : Kool Keith Model Android #406
Always loved this obscure Ultramagnetics track, but my goodness, the sound quality on the pressing is *awful*. This is on the 1997 "The B-Sides Companion", but I haven't as yet been able to find which, if any, Ultra single this is on the flip of - there are some new tracks on the collection, despite the title. It's definitely got the vibe of the "Critical Beatdown" era, though, with Keith on the mic and Ced Gee working his usual magic behind the boards.
Snowgoons ft. El Da Sensei : Show Love
From 2007's "German Lugers" album, we have 50% of The Artifacts on the mic on a typically dramatic beat from Germany's Snowgoons! The sample grabs your ears straight away, but the drums are definitely doing a lot on this track, with snare rolls scattered over it and the kick being pretty prominent in driving the beat forward as well.
Ilajide : To The Moon (Instrumental)
Another bit of Detroit flavour, taken from the "Five Week Heet III" three-song set, part of the lead-up to the "Heet Tape" album.
Lovebug Starski : Amityville (The House On The Hill)
I promised you this a few months back when Starski passed away, so here it is in the most appropriate month! I remember this 1986 single from childhood, but only in the last year or so managed to add a vinyl copy to the collection. Starski was there in The Bronx at the very beginning of Hip-Hop, and as well as his records is also well known for working at The Rooftop in Harlem in the 80s alongside Brucie B. This track, produced by Kurtis Blow, has Starski coming off the theme of the Amityville Horror in his own irreverent style! RIP to one of the originals.
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!