Aug 31, 2012
"Olympic torch flaming, we burn so sweet..."
Been a big month - since the last show I've had an amazing trip to New York and also had the chance to see the Olympics in London! The idea for this month's cover art popped into my head while I was down there and I decided to put it together and see how it looked. Shout out to the man Node of The Charles Report for the loan of the blue and yellow records!
And to give you the links I promised;
In The Loop's 3rd birthday - will be recovered from two nights before ready for this one!
...and did you wonder who the "Bartendaz" I mentioned are? Trust, they don't serve alcohol, they serve this...serious!
Now let's talk about the month's tunes...
Call O' Da Wild : New York Undercover
I reckon 99% of people fall into two camps when it comes to this tune - those who've never heard it, and those who overlooked it! Tucked away towards the end of the DJ Muggs "Soul Assassins Chapter 1" producer project, it lacked star power on an album containing everyone from Dr.Dre to Mobb Deep to Wyclef, and I've never heard anyone else mention it, ever. I love that slow-burn feel to it though, almost completely without drums - a serious rarity on a Hip-Hop record!
[DJ Life] Quakes : Fat Track Format (Inst)
It can only be said that this record languished, utterly forgotten in my collection. I think I grabbed it in a selection of other vinyls because it was on Son Records, but then it just kind of got filed away. Pulled it out this month to have a quick listen and found this nice little beat on there. I do know this is a 1998 release, but that's the extent of my knowledge on this one!
Samantha James : Rain
I think I became aware of Samantha James' debut "Rise" album on Om Records after having it recommended to me by Amazon based on previous purchases - about 5 years after it was released though. When I saw it for a decent price I thought I'd take a chance on it and was very pleased with the decision! It's all very well-produced electronic stuff but with her quality singing and writing giving the album its soul. Almost to underscore that the quality of the actual song stands separately from the production, there's an acoustic version which is just as good if not better. I think it's beautiful!
Nas ft. Cocaine 80s : Where's The Love?
One of those bonus tracks that really is a good addition, this is on the deluxe version of the killer new album "Life Is Good." In keeping with one of the big themes of the album, Nas devotes a good chunk of the lyrics to talking about the decline of those once considered street big-shots in their day - and as one of the best writers of all time, he does it with skill. Chicago's No I.D. turns it out on the beat, rocking the same drums as 3rd Bass' "Brooklyn/Queens" and then going over that with the dark instrumentation. Cocaine 80s was a new name to me but is apparently a Chicago collective including No I.D, Common, and James Fauntleroy - I would have to guess it's him singing on the hook, and I love it, fits like a glove.
The Mouse Outfit ft. Dr.Syntax, Sparkz, and Kosyne : Escape Music
Great new UK track, from the first listen it stood out as one I thought more people should hear. Music is provided by the on-the-rise Manchester crew The Mouse Outfit, whose live Hip-Hop shows are not to be missed if you've not had the chance to see them yet! They've really been putting the work in and hopefully will get that break. Alongside them on here are a quality trio of MCs - Dr.Syntax and Sparkz from Manchester, and Birmingham's Kosyne - who are all names to be watched. They've done this track as a free release, so grab yourself a copy here. While you're at it, have a look at the video helmed by bass man Defty - nice work!
Slum Village : La La
There's a version of this on the 2002 "Trinity (Past, Present, and Future)" album, but I'm playing this from a 2001 12" which seems a little more stripped down. Waajeed on production here, very understated.
DJ Spinna : Verbz
Just a little something from the "Compositions 2" instrumental vinyl. It feels like I know it from somewhere else though...did anyone ever rhyme on this?
Erule : Worldwide (Domination)
Fire. What a record! First heard this on a compilation I downloaded of "Hip-Hop you may have missed" or similar and it was the standout for me by a mile. In true older generation/DJ style, I had to have it on vinyl, but it turned out to be pretty tough to get - long out of print, and probably not a big seller the first time round! After balking at the first few Discogs appearances it made, I finally got in there and got a good copy at a price that didn't need me to sell (m)any organs. The track is stripped-down genius - more bass pulse than bassline, a few guitar licks and busy, super-snappy drum programming from a producer going by the name of King, and Erule (sometimes written as E-Rule) just annihilates the track with his precise, rapid-fire rhymes. An unsung classic, released in 1998 on Kinetic Productions - if you find a copy, don't let it go!
Cocoa Brovaz : Won On Won
From the "Rude Awakening" album, this is a good tune to get amped up with, and seems somehow newer than it is - can't believe this is 1997! Tek and Steele sound ready to jump out there and fight all the way through, and Sean Cane keeps the track bumping along underneath. I should play this one out more! Like a broken fishing line, no hook - simply doesn't need one. Clever use of the "One, one, one" sample though, took me a while to fully appreciate that it was being used as a soundalike to "Won On Won!"
Royce Da 5'9" : Hit 'Em
Keeping the aggro level up after the last track! Detroit veteran Royce needed to bring the fire out on delivery to keep up with the instrumental and does so in spades. DJ Premier is smacking the hell out of that piano with some crazy harsh electric guitar and some other weirdness dropping in, not to mention one of his trademark cut-up hooks. I think Royce was always one of those underrated when it comes to his writing, but in recent times with Slaughterhouse he's probably appreciated a little more.
DJ Jazzy Jeff ft. Pos of De La Soul : Let Me Hear U Clap
Not only is this a great track, but the piano makes it blend really well with the Royce record too. Ill production from Jazzy Jeff, with some deep bass, skipping hits, and an unorthodox sampling of Don Blackman's "Holding You, Loving You" - not the piece that everyone else would have chosen, but if you really know the record you immediately recognise it (or at least I did)! Pos solos it on the mic with the skill you'd expect, as usual. If you want to hear more, you need DJ Jazzy Jeff's "Return Of The Magnificent" album, especially at the price I'm seeing it for right now!
[No I.D.] Nas : Loco-Motive (instrumental loop)
I just liked the vocals on the intro, and the loop itself is hard. Nothing else to be said, apart from "'Life Is Good' is an excellent album which everyone should be checking right now" :)
Wais P ft. Roc Marciano : Jewels On It
Brooklyn's pimp on the mic is back, swaggering all over this Statik Selektah beat alongside the gravelly, stream-of-crime-consciousness that is Roc Marciano! My understanding was that this was an "official leak" from an as-yet-unreleased album called "Pussy Rich," but last I heard the forthcoming album is to be titled "Pimpin' Saved My Life," so who knows? The beat may have a vaguely familiar feel, especially to UK listeners - same break as this big hit from a few years back, but seems a bit darker somehow. The seasoning is provided by the cutting up of Prodigy's vocal from "Keep It Thoro" on the hook - right on the money.
Fresh/High Society ft. Camp Lo : Solar Powered II
When I saw this online, I won't lie - it was the words "Camp Lo" that made me click on it. Didn't know about the Fresh/High Society, but the duo of AO and Balistik out of NY seem to be attracting attention in the right places! This remix of their original "Solar Powered" features the Lo on vocals and Ski Beatz on the track to conjour up some gorgeous summer vibes. Very welcome even when your city is suffering from permanent rainfall...
Saigon : Spit
One of two tracks that seemed to make my shortlist for the last few months but didn't quite fit - finally got it on! Low-bass, thumping track from the "All In A Day's Work" digital-only release with Statik Selektah, which as the name implies was apparently all completed in a single day. Worth checking if you're a Saigon fan but not a patch on the more recent "Greatest Story Never Told" LP which you should *all* already have bought!
Gappy Ranks : Stinkin Rich
Another oft-shortlisted track which just so happened to blend well with the Saigon, so made it in the end :) Heard this on Manchester's Peace FM one day driving back from work and quickly jumped online to try and find it for myself! I don't keep up with dancehall as much as I might, but I did find that Gappy is a UK artist from Harlesden signed to the famous Greensleeves label. As I bought this as a digital release, I'm finding it tough to find who did the riddim but appropriately it's very much on the digital end of the scale, right down to the vocals - I can forgive that, this time :) Autotune is virtually always overdone, but here it just kind of helps the vocal to slot in I think.
K-Murdock : Neo Geo
The Panacea producer and friend of the show is back with a new instrumental release "Beats From The East" which is available for...well, as much as you'd like to pay for it! This beat samples the Japanese composer Ryuichi Sakamoto and has just a hint of the video game about it with the digital textures that make it up. Quality as usual.
M.O.P. : New York Salute
As much as I love this track, I think it's reasonable to assume it won't be adopted as an anthem by the New York Tourist Board. All the same, a big favourite since it came out on the 1998 "First Family 4 Life" album, M.O.P's third. With a cool, reflective beat like this, the stage is set for maybe a song about how peaceful life was back in the day, or about burning incense and doing yoga...naaaah! M.O.P produced the track and so it's their prerogative to yell over it about robbery, guns, and other local delights. Who are we to tell them "no?"
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!