Dec 31, 2018
"Watch the roads before crossing."
Beating the deadline, coming in a few hours before the New Year, giving you time to play this on the way out - or if you're staying in! This month's mix has some of my favourite tracks of 2018, as well as some choice selections from deeper in the crates. Enjoy the listen, and spread the word!
Twitter : @airadam13
The Mouse Outfit : Late Night Doors
One of Manchester's finest crews blessed us with the acclaimed "Jagged Tooth Crook" album this year and they continue to bring the quality every time out. New collaborator Berry Blacc takes his place on the mic alongside old hands Dubbul O and Ellis Meade for some quality low-tempo flavour, with the beat being an absolute gem. The drums, bass, and piano are all played without flash and to absolutely perfect combined effect - the mark of musicians who know exactly what they're doing!
Maes & Fybre : This One
Pure Manchester again, with these two dub producers almost outlawing everything that isn't bass on this one! One of the many (seriously, many) great tracks on the "From Manchester With Love" compilation.
Curren$y : Drone Footage
I pretty much planned this segment in reverse, and this was the last tune to fall into place. 70-ish BPM is a tricky speed for Hip-Hop, unless it's got trap-type production like this - which ironically was so slow I had to boost it up a bit! Not much to say about this succinct track - a bite-sized portion of Curren$y's signature lifestyle rap over an 808-heavy beat. Pick it up on this year's "Parking Lot Music" EP.
Andy Mineo & Wordsplayed as Magic & Bird : Kidz
I think I found this album on a random Spotify search and was drawn in by the "Magic & Bird" theme - as it turns out, it gave me a great tune for my gym playlist! Andy Mineo isn't someone I've heard before but he's a Christian Hip-Hop artist (well, that would explain the sudden prayer right before the last hook!) out of NYC who's been recording for the last five years or so. Apparently the lyrical theme for this one came from the producer Beam, who, when Mineo complained on hearing the beat that he wanted to get away from the trap sound, told him "just do one for the kids!" Mineo and Wordsplayed ride the beat ably and prove him dead right :)
Z-Ro : Like A Rocket
With the recent release of the "Sadism" album, and last year's "Codeine", it looks like the retirement is off! I'm always here for Ro's half-sung, half-rapped delivery style, and it fits perfectly over Risko Funk's 80s ballad-sampled track. The original flavour isn't overwhelmed by the drums or extra bass, but there are lots of nice touches along the way - heavy filters sweeping in, extreme pitch shifting on the drums towards the end, and a general tendency to make you want to replay the tune :) I don't know if the track title is taken from K-Rino's quote from a Houston Chronicle article a couple of years back, but if so then it's a great connection! Oh yes - didn't realise I bought the clean version of this until I put it in the mix :)
Zero 7 ft. Hidden : Mono
After a long hiatus, Zero 7 are back and I'm always interested to hear what they're bringing. This single starts off with pure spacey vibes before the solid drum line comes in, followed by the vocals of Hidden - soulful, and also restrained.
Kaytranada : Nevalie
A very old one from the man out of Montreal, first posted on his Soundcloud about six years ago. Took a while to find a good track to follow the Zero 7, but EQing this one down to just the snare and trappy hi-hats initially opened up a really good opportunity for a mix!
Children of Zeus x Black Milk : Won't End Well
Manchester and Detroit combination! When this was released at the start of December I thought it was a one-off single, only to be completely surprised on Xmas Eve with the release of "The Winter Tape", an essential and completely free album! This track featured appropriately bleak and sparse production from Black Milk while Konny and Tyler describe the lack of happy endings in the street game - as your parents certainly did if they're anything like mine. 2018 has absolutely been the year of Zeus and they're carrying big momentum into 2019.
1982 ft. Lil' Fame and Haile Supreme : It's On You
The union of Termanology and Statik Selektah has finally returned for their second full LP "Still 1982" - and not before time. The hi-hat-less drums and occasional chimes in this beat made it mix smoothly with "Won't End Well" and got it the nod over another cut that we'll definitely play here in the future. Haile Supreme is new to me but the soul he puts into the hook certainly grabs your attention, and M.O.P's Lil' Fame steals the show on the rhyme side, though Termanology is absolutely solid as always.
Marco Polo ft. Invincible : Drunken Sleuth
It's always good to hear Invincible, who is always one to come with high-quality bars. In the guise of an overlooked drunk, she takes on corruption, homelessness, and the lack of democracy in her home city of Detroit on this ambitious and well-executed track. This is one where it's well worth reading her own annotated lyrics to get more background on the specifics. Beat-wise, Marco Polo is one of the finest in recent years and his work here and on the rest of the "PA2 : The Director's Cut" album is a great example of modern production that is inspired by a classic sensibility.
Cormega ft. Chantelle Nandi : More
The Queensbridge veteran brings a positive, uplifting message on this selection from the 2014 "Mega Philosophy" album, with the vocalist Chantelle Nandi making her debut appearance. As the album title suggests, the 30-minute collection is centred around this kind of theme, so it's definitely worth taking a short while to hear the whole thing!
Doo Wop : Castle To Castle (Instrumental)
I was torn in planning over whether to play the vocal version or just this beat, but the direction the mix went in meant that we'll save the Raekwon bars for another episode. This is the A-side to a vinyl that features the Rahzel-voiced "Ten Tape Commandments" on the flip, with both of course produced by one of the undisputed legends of the mixtape game.
Pusha T : Numbers On The Boards
Stomping, aggressive tune from Pusha's first solo album "My Name Is My Name" with Don Cannon, Kanye, and 88 Keys all combining to provide the production. No matter how good the beat though, you come to Pusha T for lyrical ability and he brings it as per usual - double-meanings aplenty as he dresses down any and all challengers. Michael Kors also catches a stray on the second verse!
The Step Brothers : Step Masters
I hadn't played this album for a while and am not sure how the illness of this cut slid managed to be forgotten by me for so long! Evidence and Alchemist are both underrated on the mic, and Alchemist must get the biggest "WTF?" laugh for "flippin'... like things that flip" :) The energy in this track is much more than you'd think possible given that it's only about 91 BPM, which is a credit to the production from these two heavyweights. Oh yes - do have a genuine laugh at the video!
Alchemist & Prodigy : We Got This
I was sure that one of the samples from the previous track had been used by Alchemist before, and I was right! This version is from the "Chemistry Files" mixtape, but for the full version you'll need to find the bootleg 12" single that includes it.
Camp Lo : Love Is Love
Just the right tech-sounding track to fit this space in the mix! This wasn't even my favourite track on 2017's "The Get Down Brothers" but it's a great example of how Sonny and Geechi aren't afraid to jump on different kinds of beats and lace them with their trademark slang waterfall.
K-Murdock : New Religion
A friend of the show who is an endlessly creative beatsmith, and his "Soundscapes Vol.2" is a mix of video game-inspired beats and instrumentals from his work with MCs. I had this one playing in the house and found a good home for it here :)
9th Wonder ft. Skyzoo and Ness : Let It Bang
Closing with pure slick-talking battle rap here from the "The Dream Merchant 2" compilation, all produced by 9th Wonder, then only about five years into his career. The drums and bass definitely have the classic flavour of early 9th, as well as the great chop/re-purposing of a nice soul sample. It's all east on the mic, with Brooklyn's Skyzoo and Ness from Philadelphia (you may know him from Da Band) trading bars and telling us to play this until you break the tape - which I suppose gives away the age of the track...
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!