Oct 31, 2021
"We set out on our travels, we do the best we can..."
The autumn is firmly with us here in the UK, but spending even more time in the house means more time to dig through interesting picks for the show! This month we've got some serious old classics alongside a good chunk of new Manchester music, and a flow that takes some unexpected turns but should have you fully mellow by the end of the hour. Hook up your sound system of choice and enjoy the ride...
As promised, here's the link to buy one of the last few tickets to see Ras Kass and Big Noyd on November 19th, where I'll be spinning some tunes myself on the warmup!
Twitter : @airadam13
Twitch : @airadam13
Freak L ft. Tray Bag MC : Line For Line
This is an MC I'm light on facts for - he released two 12" singles in 87/88, and that seems to be the end of his recorded output. However, it's about quality and not quantity and the "Line For Line/When The Pen Hits The Paper" single is a great one to have for lovers of the first golden era. Vandy C is on production with the mix handled by the late great Paul C, and Freak L kicks rhymes in a vintage but polished style.
DJ Spinna : Urgent
Tucked away on the B-side of the "DJ Song" 12" with Ticklah, this is a jazzy instrumental I thought was worth sharing - and one that goes to show that Spinna, who is well known for the squelchy basslines as well as excellent house production, can flip pretty much any style you want.
N.O.R.E ft. Bumpy Knuckles : Thiz Iz Hip Hop
We start the section off with the aggression on 10, with a selection from the appropriately named "Crack On Steroids" mixtape - one which I think passed quite a few people by! You can't front on this track though, with a killer three-borough combination - Noreaga from Queens and Bumpy from Long Island bringing the straight gutter lyrics, and DJ Premier repping Brooklyn on production with his patented boom-bap style.
J-Live : Get Live
If you've been lucky enough to see this man live (there's that word again), you may have seen him MCing and DJing at the same time, a rare skill. This isn't that, but he does self-produce this cut alongside the rest of the "Always Will Be" EP - all I need now is to find out he did the cover art as well!
Ill Camille ft. Brevi : All I Know
Inland Empire's Ill Camille comes through with the heavy co-sign from a certified Cali legend, Battlecat on the beat! She takes an autobiographical approach on this tune from "The Pre-Write", which is somehow already ten years old, describing her quest to rock mics - mission accomplished. Brevi does a good job with the hook and additional vocals, giving you an uplifting breather between Cam's verses.
Mos Def : Habitat
I hadn't heard this for ages and completely forgot how much I've always loved this track! "Black on Both Sides" is an album I actually don't play very often, but this was an early standout for me the first time I heard it back in 1999. Everyone has a story of the place they come from, and while Mos specifically describes his upbringing in Brooklyn, this is really a song for everyone and the place you might call home - either because that's where you come from, or because you've made it one. DJ Etch A Sketch only has a few production credits, but absolutely knocked this one out of the park - bumping and cheerful in a way that's difficult for many to execute.
The Detroit Experiment : Highest
The 2003 eponymous album by this group is a real meeting of the minds, all great Detroit musicians - Carl Craig, Bennie Maupin, Marcus Belgrave, Regina Carter, and the late Geri Allen. It's a mix of jazz and electronic styles that's well worth checking out, and this track shows just one face; a cool, late-night bump that builds with element after element before taking you down easy at the end. Carl Craig and Karriem Riggins did their thing on this cut.
Organized Konfusion : Late Night Action
The "Soul In The Hole" soundtrack on Loud had quite the collection of great tracks - not all of which actually appeared in the film - and this is one well worth a re-visit. OK (Pharaohe Monch and Prince Po) produce this one as well as lacing the mic, and the guests Boku Rule and Cairo work hard to keep up their end of the workload!
Gang Starr ft. G-Dep and Shiggy Sha : The Mall
This is one of those tracks it feels like most people just do not like - but I've always enjoyed it since the first listen! A guest-heavy outing from the "Moment Of Truth" LP, it's not until the final verse that Guru touches the mic - but all the MCs have fun with their rhymes around hitting the shops and getting fly. DJ Premier is of course on production, and caps things off with a deft cut-in of a lyric you may recognise during the hook...
Omas : Eat To The Beat
It's been a very long time coming, but we finally have the first full-length solo project from Manchester's Omas, better known to many as DJ and producer for The Natural Curriculum, or as 1/3 of the At Large crew. He's a man who digs in the crates heavy and is always working on something, whether on the MPC or on the wheels, and it's great to hear a whole LP of his uncut ideas. "Plying Trade" has only recently been released, so if you're quick you might be able to get one of the remaining vinyl copies!
Dubbul O & Jointhedots : What Ya Missin'
Manchester for a second straight track; this is probably the release I've enjoyed the most in the past month, with artists who have consistently delivered the goods coming through once again! Episode 118 guest Dubbul O, one of my favourite MCs, comes together with Jointhedots, a new band headed up by producer/bassist/bandleader Defty, whose name you should recognise from his Mouse Outfit work. The energy on this one is laid-back, with all elements from the MC through to each instrument having enough space to breathe and be appreciated. Keep your fingers crossed and ears open for more from this crew!
Loop Schrauber, TRIBEZ : Cruisin
A beautiful little beat on the Chillhop label, released last year as part of "Chillhop Essentials Winter 2020", this has a laid-back funk to it and the kind of sonic polish that makes you want to crank the volume all the way up! Loop Schrauber is a producer out of Regensburg in Germany, who clearly is as comfortable with a bass in his hands as on a drum machine, and this debut single with Tribez is a great bit of head-nod groove.
Pusha T : If You Know, You Know
This was the brash opening track from the "DAYTONA" LP. Kanye's production is loud, kind of on the edge, but Pusha T's clarity can cut through just about anything! On this cut, he casually dismisses those who spit drug game lyrics without the background to make them convincing. By the way; just because I was clearly having a quiet day, I once decided to answer Pusha's question...
Le$ : Purple Heart
"Let me take the long way home" was very nearly the epigram for this episode - that pitched-down vocal sample on the hook (later heard at normal pitch) is dope as anything. An absolute killer from the 2015 "Steak X Shrimp 2" mixtape, Happy Perez goes in on the production and gives Houston's Le$ a perfect setting to flow in his characteristic relaxed fashion. He's one of the hardest working artists out, with a seemingly endless flow of releases, and is definitely worthy of your listening time if you enjoy this style.
Big Hutch ft. Bam : Just Another Day
Not even my favourite track on the solo"Executive Decisions" LP from the Above The Law producer and MC, but this bonus track has exactly the kind of breezy vibe to fit into this spot, hidden right underneath the proto-trap-ish drum patterns. With most of the album being straight-up MCing, this track takes a diversion into a mostly subdued singing performance, with featured artist Bam doing a solid job making the switch work.
Children of Zeus : What I'm Seeing
One more Manchester tune as we come towards the close of the show, a selection from the fire new Zeus LP "Balance", which they're currently touring to packed houses! A nice bit of double bass underpins this one, with Tyler's vocals at the start given space by not crowding the mix with loads of extra instruments. Then the subtle rhythm track comes in and things get even better, with all elements finally coming together when Konny Kon touches the mic at the halfway point. These guys have worked incredibly hard to build the skills and the sound that people are waking up and taking notice of - attention that is extremely well-deserved.
DJ Quik : Quik's Groove II (for U 2Rip2)
Getting you ready for the final wind down (shout out DJ A-Up), we go back to the "Way 2 Fonky" LP by one of the greatest ever to work the boards, Compton's own DJ Quik. Even nowadays, an chill instrumental workout like this would be notable on a Hip-Hop LP, but back in 1992, this was absolutely unique. Quik is truly an amazing musician/producer/engineer - get to know the catalogue.
Silje Nergaard : Be Still My Heart
This may not be to everyone's taste, but I've always loved this tune and it brings us down to full relaxation at the end of the show! Quite a few years ago a friend got me a CD from some MCs hustling their wares in the pub we were drinking in. It was a bit of a mixed bag, but one of the tracks opened with a sped up sample of "my heart is not lonely or broken, it's not of ice or of gold..." and I thought "I need to find where they got this sample from!" A bit of web searching let me to the Norwegian jazz single Silje Nergaard, and her 2001 album "At First Light", from which this is taken. There's not much I can say, just listen and enjoy as we wind down for another month!
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!