Apr 30, 2020
"History repeats what you refuse to learn about."
- Planet Asia
Another month inside, which I'm sure is a test of patience for many. It's been an odd one, which feels like it hasn't been any less busy than normal, and so the rhythm of podcast production has pretty much been as usual. The selection ranges from some of my earliest, brokest vinyl purchases to the latest releases of the digital age - hope you all find something in there that makes you rewind (and then buy an album)!
Rest In Power to Arch Stanton of Mothership Connection, Bill Withers, Ebow of Foreign Beggars, Fred the Godson, and Stezo...
As mentioned in the show, I'm now on Twitch : twitch.tv/airadam13
Twitter : @airadam13
Kam ft. Xzibit and Maskerade : Nowhere
I was looking for Kam's debut album "Neva Again" on Spotify and had no joy, but this turned up and has been getting a lot of play since then! 2016s "Mutual Respect" clearly needs an end-to-end listen if this is the standard - a quality song, dark and brooding, castigating the fairweather friends who gas young men up into committing all kinds of crimes but then abandon them to a life in the system. The production from Jmyth and Tariqbeats - who as far as I know, have no credits anywhere else at all - is perfect for the theme.
Jake One : Dawkinss
It's hard to find good instrumentals in this speed range that aren't heavy synth/trap-based (which is sometimes what you want, but not in this spot), but Jake One's free "#prayerhandsemoji" has come through a few times on that score!
UGK : Use Me Up
The first of the month's Bill Withers inclusions, Pimp C shows that he knows not to mess with a good thing as he lifts the groove of the 1972 hit single "Use Me" from the "Still Bill" LP, as well as the theme! C was always a producer with a deep love and appreciation for soul and funk, who wasn't afraid to bring in live instruments when he needed to, and he adds a little guitar and organ flavour to this tune from their 1992 debut "Too Hard To Swallow".
GQ : Rated Oakland
Low and slow (J.U.S.T.I.C.E League and 8 Bars on the beat), no hook, no wasted time. No-gimmick emceeing from a no-nonsense city, as GQ says what he has to say in barely two minutes on the title track from his debut album. The title track is often the big centrepiece, so it shows a lot of confidence to keep it so brief and concentrated.
Kid Frost : No Sunshine
This is a track from my early vinyl buying days, when I was pretty broke and if I saw something in the bargain bins from someone that had been mentioned in Hip-Hop Connection, I picked it up! Kid Frost (now Frost) was already ten years deep into his career at the time 1992s "East Side Story", from which this is drawn, was released, and he represented hard for his Mexican heritage at a time when Latino rappers were rare. This track reflects a side of the gang culture that is such a significant part of LA life for many, participants or otherwise; the other side of an explosion of anger is more often than not a lifetime of regret.
RZA : My Lovin' Is Digi
The Wu's takes on love songs are always a little different! The "RZA as Bobby Digital in Stereo" LP is 22 years old this year, but this is the first time we've gone to it on the podcast; it won't be the last, though. Classic 70s soul sampling on this one, self-produced by RZA as you'd expect.
DJ Quik : Quik's Groove II
Brand New Heavies ft. Gang Starr : It's Gettin' Hectic
We step outside the Gang Starr catalogue for a track that may have passed you by if you didn't happen to be listening deeply in the early 90s. The 1992 "Heavy Rhyme Experience, Vol.1" album saw BNH, the London acid jazz and funk group who were getting big respect after their debut, slightly alter course and collaborate with Hip-Hop crews for their sophomore release. This was a pioneering album, which even preceded Guru's "Jazzmatazz" series. He's the perfect MC for this collaboration, and sounds more than comfortable doing his thing over a live band!
Voodoo Black ft. Leaf Dog : Fall Back
Played them last month, but had to give you one more taste of Voodoo Black in case you hadn't got the "Sitting At The Table" album yet! The mic killers from Manchester bring in Leaf Dog from The Four Owls, who complements them well on some straight Hip-Hop business. I love how DJ Cutterz has the kick drum and bassline working on this track, and the scratch work is polished too. Big ups!
Prince Po : Mecheti Lightspeed
I was pleasantly surprised to find that I'd never included the vocal version of this before! Madlib is on the beat, giving this often-overlooked half of Organized Konfusion some smooth heat. This is from the B-side of the "Holla" 12", but both tracks are also on the 2006 "Prettyblack" album.
Maffew Ragazino, Action Bronson, and Torae : Avatar
Pete Cannon on the beat! Blackpool may not be the first place you'd expect a fierce Hip-Hop producer to emerge from, but he's been doing his thing for years and has worked with some highly respected artists. This 2014 single from "Brownsville's Jesus" is wall-to-wall NYC on the mic - and for my money, Torae was the right choice to bring it home on that third verse.
BoomBaptist : Razzle Dazzle
Agent J of Groovement put me up on this Texas-based producer when he announced his "Boom Shakalaka" LP, all about the beloved video game "NBA Jam" - I certainly remember emptying my shallow pockets into that one as a teen :) BoomBaptist lives up to his name with the vibes, so if you like good beats and/or remember the 90s well, check the album!
Levelz : LVL09
If you're not used to hearing some of the MC styles on this record, prepare to have your face blown back! This Manchester crew is made up of a ton of artists who are stars in their own right, and the combination over the Metrodome-produced beat here is devastating. When the rapid spitting happens, what should strike you is the clarity - you can hear every word, every syllable even. Get this as a "name your price" on Bandcamp, and don't be shy to put a little something in!
Curren$y : Empire Monopoly
Short, but a better track in my opinion than Max B's "We Got Doe", which was the source for the Dame Grease-produced beat. It runs at a perfect pace for Curren$y, who spits a mix of his trademark lifestyle rap, street business, and Boardwalk Empire references on this standout from the "Return To The Winner's Circle" mixtape.
Ty ft. Mpho : Brixton Baby
Get well soon Ty! I thought I'd dip into his most recent album "A Work Of Heart" for this episode, and we have a ode to his place of birth as well as the adopted home of Mpho, the guest vocalist. Ty also built the foundation of the beat, then built on by Drew Horley, Akwasi Mensah and Julien Siegel. The combination of all the artists give the neighbourhood the love it deserves!
Planet Asia & 38 Spesh : God Degree
I can't even remember what lead me to this one via Spotify, but it's always good to hear new Planet Asia. The new "Trust The Chain" album is completely produced by 38 Spesh, and I love his beat here, regal dopeness that gives Asia's conscious rhymes a fitting backdrop.
Leavv : Valley (Original Mix)
Germany's Leavv is no joke when it comes to the "chill-hop" vibes that have become popular on long streaming Youtube mixes over the last few years. His work is crisp, clean, and refreshing as a nice tonic water on this track from the 2018 "Mind Garden" album!
Bill Withers : Grandma's Hands
Some of you will know this song very well, while others will have had a flash of realisation from the very first bar! Yes, this was famously sampled for Blackstreet's "No Diggity", but it's a truly great record in its own right. A single from 1971's "Just As I Am", this is just raw soul, and a record many of us can relate to - if not about grandparents, perhaps other elders who are no longer with us.
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!