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Air Adam Podcast

Oct 31, 2023

We earned this in Manchester!

"...kick rocks or kick rhymes..."

- Jean Grae

The seasons are most definitely changing on this side, and the heavens have been pretty open the last couple of weeks while I've been putting the show together. Unfortunately during that time, we lost a couple of respected DJs and producers, DJ Mark the 45 King and Groove Damoast, both of whom are included in this month's mix. May they rest well. 
The selections for this month span a time period of almost fifty years, from a 1975 funk classic to a brand new release from one of Manchester's finest, making stops in the 80s and the independent Hip-Hop wax era of the 90s - something for all the heads!

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DJ Muggs, Roc Marciano, Meyhem Lauren, and Rome Streetz : 67 Keys

Two MCs I've seen live recently with another (Rome Streetz) I would have seen if it wasn't for work's on-call schedule, talking pure drug business over some thriller film-type production courtesy of DJ Muggs, who has constructed an amazing second act post the Cypress Hill classics that everyone knows him for. Everyone gets busy on the mic on this new single, with Meyhem killing that last verse.

David Cutter Music : Upstart

UK beat action here with this London beatmaker cooking up a quintessential boom-bap type of beat with a little of that DJ Premier flavour and heaviness - I might need to blend this with some M.O.P! Get this on the recently-released "Follow Dreams" LP.

MF DOOM : Lickupon

I went back to the "Viktor Vaughn Vaudeville Villain" LP after being gifted an amazing alternate cover for display recently, and this was a standout on my first listen in a while. The producers (Heat Sensor) work the same sample as Biggie's "Warning" but with all sorts of other stuff going on, and DOOM just goes nuts from beginning to end. Bars upon bars with no hook, purely the sounds of someone who loved to flip words every which way.

Doo Wop ft. Raekwon : Castle To Castle

You've got to be brave to hop on a track with the crime-rhyming slang master Raekwon if MCing isn't your full-time gig, but Doo Wop (one of Biggie's favourite DJs) gives a good account of himself here as well as holding down the production! A classic jazz sample is the basis for this track from "The State vs Doo Wop" which is also available on a 12" if you need the clean version and instrumental.

Little Brother ft. Rhymefest and Supastition : Do It To Death

A personal headphone favourite I could have sworn I'd already played on the podcast, but which somehow missed the selection for the last fourteen-plus years! All four MCs kill it, but my favourite is absolutely Phonte on the opening verse, with his "American Pie" reference never failing to make me smile! Focus... is on production and those drums are absolutely smacking here, making this track a highlight of "...And Justus For All".

Marley Marl : Hip-Hop History #4

Short and sweet, with a chunky and bouncing beat from the godfather of sampling as we know it today, and no rhymes - just a few words about his own history in Hip-Hop. Find this one on the 2000 "Hip Hop Dictionary" release, which I thought might be a big hard to find but is actually available digitally.

Kev Brown & Dre King : Black Champions

Tough, tough instrumental that I've had on repeat this month, taken from the seven-track "King Kev" project from these two musical masters. Dre King is, amongst other things, a sample pack producer who provides top-shelf instrumental pieces for producers to sample, and his work is used to great effect once Kev Brown gets it into his MPC. No hi-hits on this, just the kick and snare smashing through the whole beat, giving you little spaces where just the bass and keys play before the drums kick you in the head again!

Pharoahe Monch ft. Jean Grae and Royce Da 5' 9" : Assassins

An appropriately named track from the "W.A.R. (We Are Renegades)" album, with all three MCs fitting perfectly into the roles of Hip-Hop assassins (check the full version to get the intro), since none of them have ever encountered a beat they couldn't kill. M-Phazes is on the beat, and it's appropriately loud and dramatic - not something that blends into a mix naturally, because so many things don't sound quite like this.

[DJ Premier] Westside Gunn, Conway The Machine, and Benny The Butcher : Headlines (Instrumental)

I was surprised to find I hadn't played the vocal version of this Griselda track before, but DJ Premier's instrumental provides a nice bridge here between a track with no outro and one with too little drum intro - coming in hard with the aggressive stabs before transitioning into string-led production.

Redman : Bricks Standup

A short freestyle-ish expedition from Redman's "Ill At Will Mixtape Vol.1", which sees one of the all-time greats killing it over the instrumental for Jay-Z's "What More Can I Say?". That instrumental was produced by Brooklyn duo The Buchanans, who somehow cooked this up as one of their first creations and got it placed on "The Black Album" - talk about coming in hot!

Peanut Butter Wolf ft. Rasco and DJ Q-Bert : Run The Line

Taking it back to some late 90s underground Hip-Hop that brings back memories of the tail end of my time at university in Manchester, and especially the time when turntablism was starting to break out of the preserve of only the absolutely most in-the-know to the wider Hip-Hop world and beyond. Q-Bert obliterates it on the scratch as he does literally every single time, with all kinds of flaring action that might as well have come from outer space to many of us! Stones Throw founder Peanut Butter Wolf is on production of course on this track from his debut solo LP release "My Vinyl Weighs A Ton", and the all-California lineup is completed by Rasco on the mic. Cleveland-born, but as one of the Cali Agents...he counts.

Tyler Daley : These Cards

One half of Children of Zeus and a certified triple threat, Tyler shows off his singing, rhyming (in case you forgot), and production skills on this bumping new single. And he's 100% correct...he's done alright, to say the least.

The 45 King : Meganizm

While The 45 King is best known for his 80s productions, he was also the producer of tracks like Jay-Z's "Hard Knock Life" and "Stan" for Eminem as well as a number of far more underground collections of beats, like 2006's "Grooves For A Quiet Storm" from which this track is drawn. A chilled head-nodder with a straightforward and clean drum track on top of some summery keys and bass, this fits just as well at a BBQ as on a mixtape!

SoulChef, Steph Pockets, and DJ Groove Damoast : When It Comes To This

RIP Groove Damoast, who passed away this month. I didn't know the full extent  of his work, only knowing his name as a DJ on Twitch, but he was a well-regarded DJ and producer out of Philadelphia who is deeply missed by many. Having heard this 2021 single on one of the many tribute shows, I decided I wanted to share it here. New Zealand's SoulChef is on production, Groove Damoast is the man on the turntables cutting it up with precision, and his Philadelphia compatriot Steph Pockets controls the mic from start to end. Quality Hip-Hop.

Dynamic Syncopation ft. Mass Influence : 2 Tha Left

Early 2000s pick here that I encountered on the Ninja Tune "Xen Cuts" compilation, but was also on the 2002 "In The Red" LP by the combo of producers Loop Professor and Jonny Cuba. As much as this breezy, acoustic guitar-laced track could have been a great instrumental, they stepped it up by drafting in Mass Influence, an underground crew of MCs out of Atlanta who sound very different to what would come to most people's mind when they think of Atlanta Hip-Hop! Apparently some people know this from an advert for Adult Swim segment of Cartoon Network, so it's interesting to know that stuff like Ninja Tune had that kind of reach within the generation who are not making the decisions :) 

Fred & The New JB's : (It's Not The Express) It's the J.B.'s Monaurail, Pt. 1

(Not my apostrophe placement, by the way!)
I had a bit of a play with the cue points feature on Serato to extend this live-drummed intro a little bit, just because those hi-hats are so fire. A classic funk workout from Fred Wesley and the rest of James Brown's famous band of that era (from the "James Brown's Funky People" LP), and one that has been sampled on at least three tracks I can think of - I don't know if the sample was cleared on my favourite usage, so I won't mention it here even though you might have heard me play it in the past...

EPMD : Let The Funk Flow

I'll be real - this is far from my favourite of the tracks on EPMD's classic debut "Strictly Business", but I couldn't pass up the chance to blend into it off the back of the original sample! Listening to the cuts on this makes me smile, performed by the group's original DJ K La Boss (who is still working today under the name Dj4our5ive) in his early years.

[Rashad Smith and Sean "Puffy" Combs] The Notorious B.I.G. : One More Chance (Hip-Hop Instrumental)

In a then-contemporary example of the new school calling back to their Hip-Hop inspirations, Rashad Smith and Puffy essentially lifted the monster Marley Marl beat for Craig G's "Droppin' Science (Remix)" for this drastic remix of a track that was already a remix...ok, stay with me on this. The original "One More Chance" was on "Ready To Die" and was pretty raw on the X-rated rhymes, and was then essentially re-recorded with Faith Evans on the hook with a bit of a bow tie on the production, sampling DeBarge's "Stay With Me" for radio appeal. However, the winner for many of us was taking the lyrics from this version and putting them alongside the undeniable break that Marley used seven years before!

Latee : This Cut's Got Flavor

Closing with a DJ Mark the 45 King production, a real classic for heads of a certain age that you don't hear often enough nowadays! This 1987 single has an absolutely monster drum track highlighted by those heavy kicks, and the slowed-down guitar riff is a perfect era-appropriate backing. Latee only had a few releases under his own banner, along with a decent number of guest appearances, but these to me will always be the rhymes that come to mind whenever this Flavor Unit MC is mentioned. This track just makes me want to put on a Dapper Dan suit and drive an AMG Benz somewhere. To my desk job, I suppose 😁

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!