May 29, 2019
"...educate yourself. Don't depend on your school for help."
- Charlie Brown
Coming to the end of the tenth year, we have an episode this month with the selected tracks centred around the theme of education - either by title, or by content. We cover a span of over thirty years of Hip-Hop, many styles, with everything from multiple MCs on a track to none at all! Do the knowledge.
Upcoming events worthy of your attention...
And one more link...
Twitter : @airadam13
Smif N Wessun : The A.L.L.
The number of times I've played this since it was released, it's sure to be in my top Spotify tracks of the year. Brilliant title track from the new Smif N Wessun album, their first in a little while, this is concentrated dopeness. Nothing hidden, just Tek and Steele putting their hearts out there on the mics with 9th Wonder providing a somewhat ominous beat. It's got a little skip to the drum track, and a perfect use of the vocal and choir-like samples. Could not have been done any better.
Lil Will Productionz : Another Day, Another Dollar
The Beat Tape Project released the 36-track "Common : The Beat Tape Project" back in 2014, but it's one of their projects I only recently picked up. Lil Will comes with the crunchy drums right here.
Slum Village : Multiply
This was the easiest of the four operators to find, since this track still gets regular play on the iPod! Slum flip an old prog-rock sample (but only a tiny piece!) to spit some pure sex talk. Find this one on their self-titled fifth album.
Show & A.G. ft. Lord Finesse and D-Flow : Add On
Absolutely signature boom-bap from the 1995 "Goodfellas" album (second disk of my copy is still mysteriously missing...), with the beat magic coming from the SP and S950 of the legendary Show. The lyrics absolutely match up, with Lord Finesse opening up, D-Flow from the Ghetto Dwellas on the second, and A.G. bringing it home.
Soul Position : Share This
Not something that was in my collection before this month, but I bought it as it represented "division" in this section of the show. This is very much from the early 2000s alternative Hip-Hop scene, the strain that was a little left-field even for the underground. Soul Position brought together RJD2 on the beats and Blueprint on the mic, and this is from their debut release, "8 Million Stories". If you like Anticon-type stuff, this will be right up your street!
Wiz Khalifa : Take Away
It was much tougher than I thought to get a track that would fit the "subtraction" theme! Eventually, Wiz' sophomore album "Deal Or No Deal" turned up the goods. Big Jerm has this one sounding big and bold, and Wiz comes off raw as he expresses the feelings that came from his then-newfound success.
Eric B & Rakim : Chinese Arithmetic
When I was a kid and heard this track, I knew nothing about DJing and just imagined being able to scratch like Eric B does here - I'd say that nowadays I definitely could! An instrumental track from the debut "Paid In Full", this is pure 80s business.
Cut Chemist : Lesson 4 - The Radio
"Return of the DJ, Volume 1" was an absolute groundbreaker of a compilation. After years of the DJ being pushed to the back, and the demise of DJ tracks on Hip-Hop albums, Bomb Records had the great idea of doing an all-DJ album. The whole thing is an essential, but this particular track is significant not just because of how good it sounds, but because of the lineage it asserts. With the title "Lesson 4", it plants itself as the latest in the series of "Lesson" sample/break mixes as originally constructed by Double Dee and Steinski between 1983 and 1985. You might only know Cut Chemist as part of Jurassic 5, but he definitely holds it down on his own.
The Roots : Table of Contents (Part 1)
A short track - in fact, only half of the track as it's presented on the must-own "Things Fall Apart" album. This one is The Roots' take on/homage to "Kibbles and Bits" by Alliance - now that is digging in the crates!
Gang Starr : As I Read My S-A
Not the first song mentioned when the classic "Step In The Arena" is mentioned, but excellent just like all the rest. The young Guru (not to be confused with Young Guru) is fresh as ever on the mic, and DJ Premier is on production as well as cutting up fiercely on the turntables!
Cut Chemist : Lesson 6
Appropriately for his name, this track from "Deep Concentration" works in a bunch of chemistry samples that might just take you back to high school. The sheer volume of samples and the way they come in and out on this cut is quite something - and if you want some really deep background, check out this tape of his sketched-out ideas and sounds!
Mark B & Blade : 24 Hours (Everyday) (Instrumental)
There's always love for Mark B (RIP), but why this beat from the B-side of the "Ya Don't See The Signs" 12" in particular? Well, to follow up on the close of the Cut Chemist track, what is four times six? ;)
MF Grimm : Teacher
I love a good martial arts film, and Grimm channels that feeling on this pick from the "American Hunger" triple album. JL on the production while Grimm works everything from pressure point techniques to "Fist of Legend" and "Karate Kid" into one long verse.
Kev Brown : Homework Part 2
"No substitutes, but y'all students." It's a real shame that Kev Brown is retiring, because his records are so good. This isn't even him at full power but the quality is there to hear on this short track from the "Homework" LP, his long-awaited follow-up to the also mighty "I Do What I Do". Plenty of school references in this one, especially in the first part of the first verse.
Poor Righteous Teachers : Each One Teach One
Wise Intelligent has been on the podcast a couple of times, but this is the first inclusion of the whole PRT crew. Coming out of Trenton, New Jersey, this group hit the scene back in 1989 with conscious lyrics heavily influenced by the 5% (plenty of references in this track if you listen), and are highly respected by those in the know. This cut produced by the late Tony D from their sophomore LP "Pure Poverty" blends some reggae flavour into the mix, while Wise and Culture Freedom give us some words to live by!
Lord Jamar ft. Sadat X and Queen Tahera Earth : Study Ya Lessons
Unabashed Gods & Earths content here, from Lord Jamar's lone solo release, "The 5% Album". Sadat X is of course Jamar's bandmate from Brand Nubian with an incredibly deep catalogue of his own, but Queen Tahera Earth, the extra guest on here, makes her mark on her only on-wax appearance to date. Lord Jamar does a solid job on the production here too, it should be noted!
Kev Brown & LMNO : We Got This (Instrumental)
Went back to the "Selective Hearing" album for this beat, nice and low-key to follow the production on the Lord Jamar track without being jarring.
Leaders of the New School : Teachers, Don't Teach Us Nonsense
Long Island's Leaders were still young when their debut "A Future Without A Past" was released, and they may well have been writing from extremely recent experience here! As it happens, they were also influenced by a song from the legendary Afrobeat musician Fela Kuti, who years before recorded "Teacher Don't Teach Me Nonsense". While Busta Rhymes closes things here and ultimately became the big breakout star of the crew, I personally think Charlie Brown had a better verse on this particular 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!