Jul 31, 2021
"Put on the wings of the morning and fly."
It somehow feels like an awful long time since the last episode - the new job has been keeping me extra-busy and the speed of world events just seems to keep accelerating. Sadly, one of those events was the passing of Biz Markie - another legend lost too soon. I've selected one of his most famous tracks to close the episode, but I hope you enjoy the fifty or so minutes before that as well.
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Above The Law : 100 Spokes
Air Adam trivia : I own four copies of this on 12"! I had a beat-juggle routine with one of the remixes, and in the old days, you couldn't just hit "instant doubles" on Serato - plus the records do wear out! The original is the better track for a straight listen though, with Cold 187um handling the production and the first verse, with the late great KMG bringing his trademark low-key style to the second. This is more easily available on the excellent "Time Will Reveal" album - which I actually have twice on vinyl, and once on CD...
The Rattler Proxy : Death Machine (Jokers of the Scene Remix)
I don't know if this will be everyone's cup of tea, but it's a track I've been playing heavily since I first heard it on one of Victoria Rawlins' Twitch sets. If you've got great headphones, or big speakers, you'll be amazed at how the low end comes in and envelops you after the long ambient intro. The Rattler Proxy were a Greek duo who broke up last year, but this remix of one of their 2014 releases feels like a lasting classic to me.
Semi Six ft. Tha Essence & 5'4 : Heaterz
Fellow Polo enthusiast and Detroit native Semi Six is back with a new EP "Assorted Fries", and brings a couple of spitters along for the ride on this single. Atlanta's Tuamie provides the crispy-clean instrumental, and the whole track is no hook, pure bars.
Elzhi : Light One, Write One
Last year saw the release of Elzhi's third solo LP "Seven Times Down Eight Times Up", which follows the old-school tradition of having the same production personnel from beginning to end - in this case, JR Swiftz out of Brooklyn. Always a skilled writer, El gets busy over the nice soulful jazz/vocal sample and classic boom-bap drums.
* as an aside - you only have to get up as many times as you fall down...
Capleton ft. Method Man : Wings Of The Morning
I remember having to look up the meaning of the title; it's shared with a 30s film, but originally from the Book of Psalms. This is a winner from the era when US artists began to collaborate with reggae and dancehall stars - with results of varying quality, it has to be said! It shows how well it really can be done, with Capleton's Rastafari lyrics and deejay style meshing with the characteristic grittiness of the sound of Wu-Tang's Method Man. The piano sample will be familiar to many, hooked up by Stuart Brown, and the drums are rugged enough to do justice to the vocalists. The 1995 "Prophecy" album was a strong release, and this was one of the best cuts from it.
Lone Apostrophe : Take Me
Manchester's own Lone Apostrophe is a true student of beatmaking, and his new "Webs" collection is a great pickup for anyone with an attachment to the golden age of the boom-bap. Those echoed/delayed horns take you back to mixtapes in 1993...a mood.
1982 ft. Skyzoo and Jared Evan : Summer In New York
If ever there was a track that announced the title before you hear it, it might well be this one! The combination of Statik Selektah and Termanology is also known as 1982, and their compact new release "The Summer EP" is headed up by this sunny track, which is definitely lifted by Jared Evan's hook .
Nas ft. Cordae and Freddie Gibbs : Life Is Like A Dice Game
"When I finish this shit, sure
to be a hit..."
I was extremely surprised to see this one pop up recently! Many years ago, there was an unreleased Nas track with the same title, ropey sound quality but as dope as you'd expect. It was recorded around the time of "Illmatic", and leaked on the underground but never made an official release. Apparently, Spotify recently asked Nas if he'd resurrect it and so the production was re-done (by Hit-Boy) and he brought in Freddie Gibbs and Cordae to join him for a memorable recording. This deserves to be the hit Nas predicted it would be over twenty-five years ago.
Sadat X ft. Jigmastas : Don't Get It Twisted (PUTS Remix)
One of those great independent 12" releases that illustrate why the streaming services aren't (at least yet) in a position to replace a collection built over years. This remix by People Under the Stairs was on the B-side of the "Plan X" single, and pairs up Sadat X with Kriminul of Jigmastas - as you'd expect, the original was produced by DJ Spinna.
Tanya Morgan ft. Kooley High : So Good
Sonically, seasonally appropriate once again - this 80s soul club-sounding cut has summer written all over it. Tanya Morgan (Donwill and Von Pea, if you didn't know) will be releasing their fifth LP "Don and Von" in August, from which this is the second single. The North Carolina crew Kooley High come along to deepen the MC roster for this one, which whets the appetite for the album perfectly.
Buckwild : Mad Ammo (Instrumental)
REMI ft. Konny Kon : Good Mates
I'm glad Michelle Grace Hunder put me up on the latest (and final) album by this crew out of Melbourne, not least since I happened upon a Konny Kon guest appearance I might otherwise have missed! "PTSD in the hood runs undiagnosed" - isn't that just the truth? Remi and Konny spit raw reality on their verses, with Sensible J on production. Definitely peep the "Fried" LP.
Pete Rock ft. Pharoahe Monch : Just Do It
We go back to the "Soul Survivor 2" collection for this track - not quite up to the mark of the first, but still an excellent LP. Only great producers can make a beat as sparse as this and make it sound complete, not unfinished. The spaced-out keys on the hook are an added bonus, a nice bit of additional polish. Pharaohe Monch can sound good on pretty much anything, so when he gets quality material like this then it's an easy win.
Roots Manuva ft. Ricky Rankin : Bashment Boogie
I've been meaning to play this one for years - originally thought it would be one to open a show with, but I think it works well enough here! One of the early tracks on Roots' critically-acclaimed second LP "Run Come Save Me", this one bumps along with a digital flavour (Lotek on the beat) as he tells the story of getting ready to go out of town for a jam. One of the great artists ever to come out of the UK scene, Roots drops plenty of references that the home crowd will get, and it still stands up twenty years after release.
Khadejia ft. Product : Here We Go
A slightly obscure track, despite all the personnel involved! This was on Funkmaster Flex's "60 Minutes of Funk - The Mix Tape Volume III" release, and he produced it along with Wyclef and Jerry Wonder. I believe this is Khadejia's only headline release, but she's got a fair few features in her discography, including "Can't Help It" by Royal Flush which I love. Accompanying her are the duo The Product, whose releases I must say passed me by at the time! They borrow a classic Boogie Down Productions lyric and build around it for a nice little jam.
Flamingosis : Jet Skis & Hennessy
Flamingosis just has that knack of cooking up instrumentals that make you feel great. This selection from "Flight Fantastic" is no exception, and perfect for a summer's evening.
Biz Markie : Nobody Beats The Biz
What can I say that hasn't been said about this certified classic from a recently-departed giant? Well, maybe I can give you some trivia gems you may not have been aware of - it's got to be one of the most-sampled Hip-Hop tracks of all time, the title/hook is based on commercials from an 80s electronics chain in NYC, and Biz bought every copy of the Lafayette Afro Rock Band record containing "Hihache" (used for the drums here) from one shop to replace Marley Marl's scratched-up copy! A legendary track from the "Goin' Off" LP, which will be played as long as this culture lives.
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!