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Air Adam Podcast

Hip Hop Music

A mix through a selection of Hip-Hop and whatever else comes off the shelves - special respect to those underappreciated artists, album cuts, and b-sides - always keeping it varied, aiming to make sure everyone discovers something new every episode!


Manchester, United Kingdom


A mix through a selection of Hip-Hop and whatever else comes off the shelves - special respect to those underappreciated artists, album cuts, and b-sides - always keeping it varied, aiming to make sure everyone discovers something new every episode!






Episode 171 : Ripples and Echoes

"Let me say it again, and say it with feeling..." - Jay Dee A big episode this month - both in importance and in number of tracks - as we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the 1973 Kool Herc party at 1520 Sedgwick Ave, Bronx, NY, that arguably sparked Hip-Hop! The format is slightly different from the usual, and the episode is centred around three records which have been sampled, references, and homaged throughout Hip-Hop history - echoing through time. The influences manifest differently as they encounter each artist, so even within the set of tracks that have a common root, there are wide variations of style, subject, and sound. I think you'll enjoy the hour I've put together for you! Twitch : @airadam13 IG: @airadam Twitter : @airadam13 Playlist/Notes Westside Gunn, 緑, and Kool Herc : Kool Herc Intro Big up to Westside Gunn for going back to the source and allowing us to hear from Kool Herc himself on this intro to "FLYGOD Is Good...All The Time". KRS-ONE and Marley Marl : Hip Hop Lives KRS is one of the greatest MCs of all time - and as Bomani Jones said, maybe the one person you'd pick if there was no music, no anything, and they just had to go on stage and command it. Marley Marl is often overlooked by those not necessarily in the know, but the man behind the Juice Crew (who famously battled KRS in the Bridge Wars) was a revolutionary in the field of production, with his approach to cutting up samples being the grandfather of most of what you would have heard afterwards. Together, they released a 2007 album "Hip Hop Lives", of which this is of course the title track, and a rallying cry for the culture. [Buckwild] Meyhem Lauren : Love and Loyalty (Instrumental) Buckwild never wavers from the path of putting in the honest effort that his talent deserves to deliver quality material. If you want popcorn, microwave beats, go elsewhere! This is a great beat from his 2014 "Silk Pyramids" project with Meyhem. Fred Wesley & The J.B.s : Blow Your Head A funk classic that must have sounded positively UFO-like when it was released in 1974 on the "Damn Right I Am Somebody" album, and there's a reason for that that I only just learned; the crazy synth wasn't even on the track to begin with. The original was recorded in 1973, and only after that did James Brown, playing with his newly-bought synthesizer, doodle all over the track before adding it to the album! Apparently Fred Wesley was not impressed... The D.O.C. : Portrait Of A Master Piece The "Blow Your Head" sample here is relatively backgrounded, definitely not the focus of the instrumental - but as good as the Dre-produced beat is, the star here is without question the MC. This track comes from his first LP "No One Can Do It Better", which had people tipping him for big things, before he was cruelly and ironically deprived of a critical attribute - his voice - when his larynx was crushed in a car accident only five months after its release. He later returned to recording with a changed voice, and has written classics for several artists, but it's a huge shame that he never got to follow his debut up on his own terms. Hijack : Style Wars When Brixton's legendary Hijack got a single deal with Music of Life, none of them knew how to create a record as such. The three-man inner core was made up of DJs Supreme and Undercover alongside the MC Kamanchi Sly, and it was actually the latter who suggested using the Fred Wesley sample. Supreme was unconvinced, believing that it would make their track too much of an imitation of the then-recent "Public Enemy No.1", but relented on the basis that the rhymes and cuts would be so good that they'd make up for any deficiency on the beat side. As it turned out, "Style Wars" turned out to be an absolutely classic single in its own right, and in my opinion, never came off as a bite. Public Enemy : Public Enemy No. 1 One of the first records ever to sample "Blow Your Head", this is arguably the inspiration that all the others...


Episode 170 : In My Own Lane

"Tell Nipsey I'm still running laps." - Dave East We're past the halfway point of 2023 and summer in the UK is...variable. Instead of trying to go seasonal in the main, I've gone with a selection which is heavy on relatively-recent releases while excavating some absolute gems from the crates. There's almost no way anyone knows all of these tracks, and as such, I'm aiming to send all of you to go and buy some of this stuff so that the artists know how much you appreciate top-quality material! Twitter : @airadam13 Twitch : @airadam13 Events : Playlist/Notes Saigon ft. Benny The Butcher : No Witness Big New York State action on this new single, with Saigon in combination with Buffalo's Benny The Butcher (lots of alliteration there!). The beat is heavy goodness courtesy of the DITC legend Buckwild, and is exactly what you need for MCs like this. Benny continues his run of form on features, while Saigon kills it as the returning veteran, starting his first and last verses with a similar four bars before diving into his subjects. That last verse is a stark warning to the youngsters who are sending themselves to prison by documenting their questionable associations and/or illegal activities on social media and on records... Judah : Sweet Jesus Digging this one out of the stash was a real win - I think it's a perfect chaser for the Saigon track. Taken from an old favourite, "The Ghostface Beat Tape" by The Beat Tape Project, this instrumental by Washington D.C.'s Judah has Blaxploitation flick written all over it. Serial Killers (Xzibit, B-Real, and Demrick) ft. Kurupt : Dickies & Bandanas The "Serial Killers Vol.1" mixtape has been sitting in my collection for almost exactly ten years without me drawing from it, but that's part of the nature of the show - it's not about just playing the brand new cuts or the old classics, but digging deeper. Heavy west action from this union of MCs together with the still-underrated Kurupt. No details on who produced this, but there's no G-Funk, no smooth synths on the beat, instead using a hammering rhythm track and string stabs as the driving elements. Khrysis and Geechi Suede : Delta9 Khrysis has continued to deliver quality material over the years since his early days when the Justus League were first breaking out, and this is no exception. That vocal sample in the beat sounds semi-uplifting, and semi-dark - though the latter might be the reflection off the heavy drums and tense keyboard lines. Geechi Suede comes through with a less abstract verse than you might expect from him, despite it being a track about actually getting high! The 2021 "The Hour Of Khrysis" album is the place to hear more - don't worry, not all the tracks are quite this short :) Curren$y ft. Jim Jones and Tommy Wright III : Marcus Camby Curren$y on an entire project channelling 80s Miami vibes? That's something I'm grabbing with both hands. The short "Vices" album came out earlier this month, with all production coming from frequent collaborator Harry Fraud, and this is one of the standouts for me. Lush with just a touch of tension, the production is absolutely on-theme. On the mic, Curren$y is in his usual lane, followed by Jim Jones of Dipset who comes with a slightly more energetic delivery while still matching the downtempo vibe. I don't know Tommy Wright III, but I think he's just on the hook here - either way, one of my favourites this month and looking like a late contender for my most played tracks of 2023! Dave East & DJ Drama ft. Buda & Grandz : Egyptian Kings I'm only just catching up with last year's "Book of David" mixtape, but there's some absolute heat on there, including this downtempo, almost bluesy track. I may need to search out the instrumental, because Buda, Grandz, Mike Kuz, and A-Vow knocked this one out of the park, with it being the perfect backing for Dave's choppy flow. In turn, in adopting that slow he leaves space for the beat to show through the gaps -...


Episode 169 : Thirteen Squared, Fourteen Years

"Paid my dues, now pay my fee." - Pete Rock Another year in the books! This is the fourteenth birthday episode of the podcast, and it's wild to look back at how different the landscape looked back in 2009 when I started it off. At least nowadays, I don't have to explain what a podcast is! I needed a selection worthy of the milestone, and I think you'll enjoy it - Hip-Hop basically end-to-end, with some virtuoso performances on the mics, the boards, and the turntables. Turn the volume up and check the styles... Book a ticket to see me play live in Salford with the 45 Kings and Queens on July 8th here! Gigs & streams calendar : Twitter : @airadam13 Twitch : @airadam13 Playlist/Notes Swizz Beatz ft. Jadakiss, Benny the Butcher, and Scar Lip : Take 'Em Out Huge new single to open things up for this month, and a track I can already tell is going to make my list of top Spotify tracks this year. As part of the 50th year of Hip-Hop celebrations, Mass Appeal have released a couple of producer-led EPs with a selection of MCs, and this is of course from Swizz' contribution. It's not the production style most would think of when Swizz Beatz is mentioned, but listen for the classic "The Bridge Is Over" drums accompanied by what sounds like a pipe organ with the "evil" stop pulled all the way out - vicious. And the MCs, my goodness! LOX legend Jadakiss opens up, hands off to modern-day street rap giant Benny the Butcher, and cleanup duty is handled in fine style by the young and hungry Scar Lip. The video is great as well - chaotic, dark, monochrome, giving me just a taste of the same energy as the visuals for Ice Cube's "Wicked" back in the day. The whole package is hard like titanium. Onyx : Throw Ya Gunz (Instrumental) After starting the show with a track sampling the yelled into Onyx's first single, which was a big tune in its day, I decided to follow up with the instrumental as I hadn't heard it in so long. RIP to Chyskillz, the producer, who passed away in 2018. Coach NYM : Work Ethic One from my gym playlist for you, taken from the "Healthy Gangsta" LP. Part of the RBG movement, NYM gives a message on this track and the rest of the album that very much aligns with the innovative "Workout" LPs that stic of dead prez (their lowercasing, btw) released in 2011 and 2020. Turn this track up and get your motivation right! Bronx Slang : Excuse Me Again My man Jerry Beeks accurately and sadly points out that the subject of this track will continue to be relevant into the foreseeable future. Following up from the original "Excuse Me Officer" from the "Bronx Slang" LP, this is, in Beeks' distinctive style, a run-down of yet more Black people who have been murdered by the police. The producer Fake Blood gives it a soundtrack with just a hint of melancholy that still makes you nod your head thanks to his drum programming, and leaves enough space for you to hear every work clearly. Find this on the appropriately-named "Substance" album. Blak Twang ft. Fallacy : Homegrown I promise I didn't just try to find every track that sampled Onyx and throw them into this episode! The b-side of the incredible 1996 "Real Estate" 12", this is not only pure lyrical rawness from both MCs (Blak Twang/Taipanic/Tony Rotton and Fallacy) over a beat from V.R.S, but it's also the source of an incredible number of samples. If you go and check the excellent Blak Twang LP "19 Long Time", you'll be amazed how many times he samples himself, and from this specific cut - EPMD would be proud :) The Musalini ft. Pete Rock and 9th Wonder : Carmel City 2 The vast majority of times, a sequel track is done by the original artist (for example, EPMD's "Jane" series, Ice Cube with the "Gangsta's Fairytale" pair), but this is an interesting exception. Pete Rock, the producer of the original "Carmel City" from his and CL Smooth's "The Main Ingredient" LP is here...but only on the mic, and even then only as the featured guest! Lead duties are...


Episode 168 : No Sudden Moves

"I was a seventies baby, raised in the eighties..." - Scarface An appropriate quote for this month's episode, in which we keep a constant speed all the way through - an unbroken chain in the low-80s BPM range! A little rugged, a little smooth, some old and some new, and hopefully something for each of you 🙂 Remember, you can always see a list of my next few upcoming streams and gigs @! Twitter : @airadam13 Twitch : @airadam13 Playlist/Notes Lupe Fiasco ft. Jay-Z : Pressure The show starts back in 2006, with a selection from Lupe Fiasco's debut "Lupe Fiasco's Food & Liquor", produced by Prolyfic. He came out strong on this album, representing Chicago in fine style, a city that historically hadn't been as regarded as some when it came to Hip-Hop. Being able to get Jay-Z in for a feature on your debut, even back then, was a sign that you were to be taken seriously, and Lupe has definitely justified that in retrospect. Marco Polo : Pirate Hookers The modern move towards independent digital releases on platforms like Bandcamp means it's easier than ever to get hold of gems like "MP On The MP ; The Beat Tape Vol. 2" - at one time they just wouldn't have come out at all, or maybe got a limited run of hard copies. It's hard to describe this track, but the quieter sections make me think of the back streets in a French detective movie, while the louder parts are much more bombastic. If you like hearing instrumentals breathe without vocalists, support releases like this and let the artists know! Dan Greenpeace & Diamond D : Nowhere To Run To This release was an incredibly pleasant surprise - I had no idea it was coming out until just before release, when Greenpeace posted about it on Instagram. I've had the pleasure of knowing Greenpeace since the mid 90s - he was working at a company where I had a summer job, and we bonded over a love of Hip-Hop. He was DJing on the side and was a big influence on my listening, putting me up on artists I might not have heard at the time, and he was the absolute first person I remember talking about independent Hip-Hop in the sense of the early Rawkus releases and things like that. I even remember him having the idea of a column in Hip-Hop Connection called "Independents' Day", which came to fruition some time before another well-known magazine "borrowed" that title for their column and ran with it! Anyway, around the time we met, Diamond D's first LP would not long since have been out, so it's amazing to see him producing a track for an artist that we would both have been looking up to from afar all those years ago. Chunky, dark, menacing, the beat is a suitably threatening setting for Diamond's bars, and when one of the most storied producers in Hip-Hop history allows you to produce him, you know you're doing something. Salute! The Away Team : Steppin On Toes A nice bit of rugged aggro with Khrysis on the boards and Sean Boog on the mic as The Away Team, a North Carolina crew that came out as part of the Justus League collective. This is on their second LP, 2007's "Training Day", which has some really solid tracks and is definitely worth a listen. While 9th Wonder was the most prominent producer from Justus League, Khrysis was putting out heat round the same period and has continued to work to the present day, with beats for everyone from Busta Rhymes to Rapsody. Slim Thug : No No No One of two straight tracks from Southern legends, we go to the nawf of Houston for a killer from last year's "BIGslim" (which it seems, is the name he plans to go by in the future) album. It of course features Slim's distinctive relaxed yet straightahead flow, as well as a Mr. Lee beat with some nice contrast - rapid, dead-on hi-hats alongside a main drum pattern that gets there when it gets there! Scarface : Safe The first full track on "The Fix" and a personal favourite from Scarface's long and storied catalogue, this is a raw record that explicitly talks about the contents of...


Episode 167 : More Tune

"We on they mood board, though they livin' in denial." - Solace This month's selection came together slowly and then all at once! It's turned out to be a great combination of deep album cuts, some lesser-known bonus tracks and remixes, as well as some brand new nuggets you can and should add to your collection! Of course I had to give you some Guru, and we start the episode with a cover version of a record that samples another musical giant, the recently and sadly departed Ahmad Jamal. Don't forget that you can get the up-to-date list of my upcoming streams and events at! Twitter : @airadam13 Twitch : @airadam13 Playlist/Notes Elzhi & Will Sessions : The World Is Yours RIP to the great Ahmad Jamal, the legendary pianist who was famously sampled on the original "The World Is Yours" on the classic Nas "Illmatic" LP. As we've already played that on the podcast, we instead turn to the excellent re-imagining of that album by the all-Detroit combination of the band Will Sessions and the gifted MC Elzhi. It's always interesting when a musician is sampled by a Hip-Hop producer, and then that production later remade by other live musicians - bringing things full circle. The Quarter Inch Kings : I'm No Comeback As part of the Beat Tape Project, Toronto's Quarter Inch Kings channel some soulful flavour on this instrumental from "The AZ Beat Tape" - one that I could very well hear the Brooklyn Legend on. Masta Ace & Marco Polo : Masta Polo I was almost going to describe Marco Polo as one of the new generation of producers, but then I realised - it's been eighteen years! Still fresh, yet a veteran, he combines with a legend from the Juice Crew, Brooklyn's Masta Ace, for some classy 21st century boom-bap. You need to find the Deluxe edition of the Polo-produced "A Breukelen Story" album to get this one, and it's well worth the effort. Terri Walker ft. Ty : OK One of the finest soul singers these isles have ever produced, though an underappreciated one, Terri Walker has always shown love to the home team, with this track being a great example. The Nottingham stalwart Joe Buhdha is behind the boards, and the late London don TY warms up the mic before Ms Walker strides over the instrumentation. You might know her first few LPs, but definitely check for the later stuff, such as the EP this track was release on, "Joe Buhdha Presents Breakout". RIP Ty, live long Terri Walker. Gang Starr : 2 Deep (City Lick Mix) This is one of my earliest Hip-Hop 12" purchases, and a version of the Gang Starr classic deep single that I had to grow into! The UK's Dodge City Productions were, in retrospect, a perfect choice to take on remix duties here, a group well-steeped in the jazz that Gang Starr had helped pioneer as part of Hip-Hop. The late great Guru is in fine form, on his grown man business over all three verses - starting closer to battle mode and then weaving in his message. Apparently a Europe-only release, this is a worthy version to stand next to the original from the "Daily Operation" LP. Curren$y : Fortune 500 This is clearly an anthem for LLC Twitter, with one long verse about getting that cash, and the outro showing Curren$y quizzing the next generation. The brand new "For Motivational Use Only" LP is another in the set of releases where Curren$y links up with a single producer to build a cohesive whole - in this case, the veteran Jermaine Dupri. I'd be lying if I said it was a collaboration that I was thinking about, but it works! Medline : Payé Entièrement Sound familiar? If you didn't guess from the title, this is a wicked instrumental cover of the classic "Paid In Full" by Eric B & Rakim that just cannot be denied. You can head straight over to Bandcamp to get the digital version as a bonus cut on the "Je Sais Que Tu As De L'​Â​me" release (put that into Google Translate if you don't speak French) - really, an essential pickup in my opinion. Knaladeus : Lose Or Win Not in terms of complexity as...


Episode 166 : Public Art, Unseen Artists

"Godbodies behind bars, y'all see the barcode." - Pharoahe The month went from the ridiculous to the sublime, but as always, here we are right on time! This episode we pay homage to Phife and Biggie Smalls, and bring out some great recent releases alongside some older tracks that I think will have escaped the notice of many - after all, there's so much music out there! Almost an hour-long mix this time out, let's get to it... Twitter : @airadam13 Twitch : @airadam13 Playlist/Notes E-40 : On The Case One of the hardest-working men in Hip-Hop, E-40 has recorded twenty-six studio albums, and still sounds as dope has when he debuted back in 1992. This is from his sixteenth, the second in the "The Block Brochure : Welcome To The Soil" trilogy, and as the prisoner quoted in the hook says, it does indeed slap! Chris "THX" Goodman gives him a dark, stomping beat which is a perfect backing for 40's flow as he gives you some free game. Whether you're facing a case or just a tough week at the work, I hope this helps! Lsdream & Z-Trip : Space Funk Giving exactly what it says on the tin, this tune is heavy instellar bass business. Z-Trip is better known to many of us as a turntablist and DJ, but his collaboration here with the former Brillz is a beautiful slice of bassy, floaty, vocoded production goodness! Semi Six & Ilajide : Too Code Going back to the "Park Orange" collab between these two Detroit natives, we have bump in abundance on this one. If one part of the track stands out, it's the fact that clearly, the roads in their neighbourhood and those in Manchester have a lot in common. Don't ride your 23" rims round here, for your own good! Karl Hinds : Don Gramma Twenty-two years on, some of these terms may have been superseded, but you get the point! Essentially the UK (or London, at least) version of Big L's underground hit "Ebonics", Karl runs you through a selection of the local slang, and handles the squelchy, bassy production on top of that. I'd only be half-surprised if it turns out he did the 12" cover design too... Bumpy Knuckles ft, Sy Ari Da Kid : Word It was a struggle to find a tune to fit into this spot, but I'm pleased with the choice - very much a deep cut from Bumpy, taken from the now ten-year-old "Mix Files, Vol.1" EP, which seems to be little hard to find nowadays. In fact, it's not even listed on his Discogs discography at present, which makes me wonder if that's just an oversight or if it was actually some kind of bootleg! Note : Feburary 29th does come, just infrequently... Rich The Factor & DJ.Fresh : White Party I've been playing this one in the car so much over the last year or so, it's about time it made its way onto the show! Kansas City's incredibly prolific Rich The Factor isn't coming with particularly complex bars, just vibing to the 80s-flavoured beat from DJ.Fresh from their edition of the "The Tonite Show" series, sampling a great bit of jazz-funk to great effect. Tavaras Jordan : Photogenic (Instrumental) It was great to see a complete instrumental release of Le$' "E30" LP, which was produced by Tavaras Jordan, who is rapidly becoming a personal favourite. Smooth synth and drum machine action with a lot of polish. Definitely one to hear in the car! Slum Village ft. Phife Dog : Push It Along Marking the anniversary month of Phife's passing, I thought I'd share a track of his you may not know. The circumstances are beautifully circular - Phife, Ali Shaheed Muhammad, and Q-Tip make up Tribe. Q-Tip puts J Dilla on as part of The Ummah, a production unit that worked on the later Tribe albums, which ultimately gives a boost to the early career of Slum Village. Years later, Slum Village, after the passing of J Dilla, bring Phife of Tribe in for this feature - named after a track from Tribe's debut. You can find this on Slum's "Yes!" LP, with Young RJ representing lovely on production. ILLAMAN & Pitch 92 : Sometimes Relax Great new single out of the UK, with ILLAMAN (all...


Episode 165 : The Second Plug.

"Too old to rhyme? Too bad, too late." - Dave This month marks a huge loss for the Hip-Hop community, and the music world more widely, as Dave, aka Trugoy The Dove of De La Soul, passed away. As part of the group, he was a perfect match with Pos on the mic, and was one of those low-key people that no-one ever had anything but good to say about. De La's influence is hard to overstate; without them, we might have had no Tribe, no Pharcyde, no Souls of Mischief... They showed that you didn't have to follow the hypermasculine style of their time, and brought their own brand of humour and creativity. On top of that, they were frequent and much loved live performers, and Dave's presence as part of one of the best shows in the culture will be greatly missed. Of course, in tribute, we have several De La Soul tracks in this month's selection. Before we get into the tracklist and notes; here's where you can donate to relief efforts in Turkey and Syria following the devastating earthquake they suffered this month. Twitter : @airadam13 Twitch : @airadam13 Events : Playlist/Notes De La Soul : Stakes Is High Knowing that we were going to make several visits to the De La catalogue, I just had to open the episode with this one, the title track to their fourth album. The late J Dilla is on production, and there's a classic story of Posdnuous having to "Jedi mind trick" Q-Tip out of taking the beat for himself! To Pos' ears, the majesty of the beat perfectly fit the grand theme De La were going for with the lyrical theme, and he was bang on. The title actually came from Dave's late cousin Fudge, who told him " all better do something. The stakes is really high for you right now..." and his words live on through this work. De La take that title and use it to warn how high the stakes were for Hip-Hop at that time, with the jiggy and Mafioso era in full swing and raising real alarm for the direction of the culture. Pete Rock : Play Yo Horn The first instrumental of the month is a 2015 release, though whether it was actually recorded anywhere near that year, I couldn't be sure! For one, Pete Rock is a master at channeling vintage flavours, and secondly, he's been known to bring stuff out of the vaults that sounds great even today. I would love to hear MCs getting busy on this dense cut from "Petestrumentals 2". Fat Joe and Big Pun : Best Behavior (Remix) I love the dark, late night flavour of the original version, but Show does an equally good job on this remix (one of at least three to exist) - big horns, banging drums, and an overall stripped-back, boom-bap feel. You already know Big Pun is going to give you heavy bars, and Fat Joe holds it down on the mic too. I have this on a 12" backed by "My Life's On The Edge" by A-Bless, but I hear it's also on the 2005 "Street Talk" DITC compilation. Big L : On The Mic This vinyl had already been throught the wars when I got it, but I guess the surface noise lends a certain flavour! You might recognise the vocals from the track "Size 'em Up" from the posthumously-released "The Big Picture" album, but this raw Roc Raida-produced track is on the B-side of the "Flamboyant" 12" single - definitely one to pick up for the Big L fans. RIP Big L and Roc Raida. D'Angelo : Devil's Pie One of those happy accidents, the bassline of this track was created by DJ Premier for a track with Canibus. It didn't work out and D'Angelo happened to call the same day, and he asked to hear the unfinished product. He loved it, and they went back to the studio the next day to finish what became one of the standouts on his sophomore "Voodoo" LP! Mad Skillz : It's Goin' Down Arguably the first MC to really make some noise out of Virginia (hence the name of his debut LP, "From Where???"), Skillz may not have the record sales of some of the more famous MCs...but he may well have written their rhymes at some point! This track is an early J Dilla production (from when he was going by Jay...


Episode 164 : The Jordan Year

"...baking soda, get it crackin' when you mix me with Kane." - Checkmark If you're like me, every time you write 23 this year you're thinking it! The first episode of 2023 is here, and we go mostly on the downtempo tip and mix up the genres in a big way, so there's almost sure to be something new for everyone in the mix! RIP to Laylaw and Gangsta Boo. As mentioned on the voiceover, you can now keep up with the schedule for all my streams (and I'll start putting my IRL shows here too) at! Twitter : @airadam13 Twitch : @airadam13 Playlist/Notes Termanology ft. Raekwon : Passport Kingz I was reminded of this track after listening to a podcast about citizenship and a shady character known as the "Passport King"! It has an ominous-sounding intro (as an aside, that pastor should be in prison), and then doesn't let up for the rest of its running time, with Raekwon and then Term going hard over Staik Selektah's production. One verse each is the perfect dosage. Find this on Termanology's 2018 "Bad Decisions" album. [Dru Kevorkian] Smif-N-Wessun : Reloaded (Instrumental) Just screaming mid-2000s New York, this is the instrumental for the title track of Smif-N-Wessun's third LP. I could hear this beat on the soundtrack (and too loud) for a street DVD of the era... El Michels Affair & Black Thought : Grateful Looks like there's a big treat coming later in the year, with the collaborative "Glorious Game" due in April. One of the best writers in Hip-Hop history in combination with one of the coldest bands in years? Yeah, that's a must. This lead single was released this month to give us all a taste and it's a great appetiser. The flute kind of hypnotises and draws you into the thick mists of the rest of the music, where Black Thought is waiting with high IQ, high-density street lyricism. Be grateful, indeed. Shabba Ranks : Have This Woman Coming off the back of the "Ting-A-Ling" sample woven into the "hook" of the preceding track, I thought I'd take the opportunity to move straight across into a Shabba track, and one that I just recently digitised during the task of taking on my whole reggae and dancehall 7" section! Over the "Girl A Love" riddim, Shabba's lyrics remind me that despite the gyalist/player image put forth in most of his catalogue, he's been happily married since 1992 - so he and his wife will just have celebrated their pearl wedding anniversary! Camp Lo : Award Winning They may never have got the level of acclaim that the title speaks of, but those who know know. Bars upon slang-filled bars on this deep album cut from "Ragtime Hightimes", with Ski on production. Play this one loud in your headphones when you need to go somewhere and let them know who you are :) Above The Law : Another Execution Including this one as a tribute to the recently-departed Laylaw, who was an integral part of the Above The Law story - not only did he manage them, but he has production credits on their debut "Livin' Like Hustlers", including for this track. It's a slow and low number on a classic sample, and if you want the instrumental then you can find it on the B-side of the "Murder Rap" 12". Unusually for ATL, it's Cold 187um solo on the mic, in storytelling mode with two tales of having to let that thing ring out. People Under The Stairs : Chris Says 'Nice One' (Bonus Beat) This short semi-interlude track from the 12" of "The Cat" is actually only 44 seconds long, so I looped part of it up to make it a suitable length to include here - just because it's a nice piece of digging/production that PUTS clearly included just for that extra flavour! RIP Double K. Gangsta Boo ft. DJ Paul & Juicy J : Where Dem Dollas At? I've not historically been a big follower of 3-6 Mafia, so I bought this track specifically to play it on this episode. DJ Paul and Juicy J of 3-6 are on production, but even though DJ Paul also takes the third verse, he has to play second position behind Lady Boo, which is only right....


Episode 163 : Cold, Rolled.

"...while she was waiting for her son to shine." - Mystro Ok - last month was a bit chilly but this one was ridiculous! As 2022 ends, we loosely have a winter/Xmas theme scattered through the selection, some brand new releases that deserve sharing, and many other gems including a Grand Daddy IU production after he passed away this month - RIP to him. By the way - as well as all my other social media accounts, I'm now on Mastodon, since Twitter seems to be falling apart - you can follow my account on Twitter : @airadam13 Twitch : @airadam13 Playlist/Notes Shaquille O'Neal ft. Jay-Z and Lord Tariq : No Love Lost I'd almost forgotten that this track existed until I was going through the "S" section of my wax! Shaq was certainly a competent MC, if not a standout, but he was consistently able to leverage his status into some memorable collaborations. Even in 1996 when this track was released on the "You Can't Stop The Reign" album, his third, Jay-Z was a big feature to get, and Lord Tariq was not long off dropping the enormous hit "Deja Vu (Uptown Baby)" with Peter Gunz. Production comes from Poke and Tone (Trackmasters), and it's a chill head-nodder that definitely brings back memories of the era. Side note: there's another version of this cut from the DJ Clue "Fall Pt.1" mixtapes that also features Nas! Kev Brown : Myrrh The don of the bassline dropped a surprise Xmas project last year, the sixteen-track and appropriately-named "The Kev Brown Holiday Special" and generously offered it at a discount this month. This track goes straight for the nativity angle, with those choral voices floating around the the classic eighth-note sleigh bells and the kind of solid, chunky, funky foundation that Kev has absolutely mastered. This wise man from the east (coast) delivers 🔥 Jointhedots, Dubbul O, and Berry Blacc : Right Now Brand new flavour from Manchester! I was literally waiting for them to bless me with a copy of this track before recording this episode, so convinced was I that it'd be another in a streak of excellent singles, and it does not disappoint. Dubbul O and Berry Blacc, who are the vocalists for their live performances, combine to provide the vocals on this one, with Berry showing his versatility by singing on the haunting hook as well as spitting the second verse. JTD's production, headed up by Defty, is based around a classy bassline, and everything else falls into place perfectly around it. Another release worthy of your support! Smif-N-Wessun : Nothin' Move But The Money Nineties classic! This was an underground and mixtape staple shortly after it was recorded, never actually got released. This track was supposed to be on "Dah Shinin'", Smif-N-Wessun's debut LP, and would even have been first single, but they couldn't clear the sample, and so it had to be dropped. Shame, as it's an absolute killer, with Da Beatminerz taking the original track and manipulating it over to the dark side like Palpatine, creating a perfect canvas for Tek and Steele to get busy, weaving in and out of each other's bars like the legendary duo they are. If you see a copy of this (which will usually involve some kind of bootleg vinyl), just grab it! Tiny Hearts : Snow Cold I can't even remember how I stumbled upon this cut, as I totally missed it on its 2013 release on the "Stay" EP, but this definitely felt like the right time of year to drop it, certainly if the well-below zero temperatures in this area were anything to go by! Tiny Hearts is the combo of Detroit production legend Waajeed, and the duo of producer/composer Tim K and singer Deanne Reynolds of DEDE. Reynolds' dreamy, ghostly vocals are a great compliment to the heavy synth bass and machine drums, and this is the kind of thing that could fit nicely into all kinds of headphone mixes as well as moving a big sound system - even if it's no club tune. Cookin' Soul x A Tribe Called Quest : Butter Cookies I thought I was the only one...


Episode 162 : Writers' Block

"This might be God speaking, it's just my mouth is moving." - Ka The weather might be cooling, but there is some heat on this one. We pay respects to two Hip-Hop stalwarts who sadly and unexpectedly left us this month - Tame One of The Artifacts, and Hurricane G. We include music from both in the mix, along with some material from their contemporaries, and some newer stuff that might have escaped your notice. Listen, enjoy, buy the releases from the artists you like - let's please give them their flowers while they're here. As well as the socials below, you can also now find me on Mastodon - Twitter : @airadam13 Twitch : @airadam13 Playlist/Notes Public Enemy : LSD One of those tracks I've wanted to play for ages - but something always gets in the way! Unrelenting, banging, squelching, militant sonics to go with the always-fierce lyrics of Chuck D make this a perfect episode opener. Released in 1999 as part of the "There's a Poison Goin On" album, you can kind of place it in time thanks to the specifics of the critiques Chuck is making of the music industry of the era. That said, some of the shadiness is, sadly, timeless... [Non Slick] Genesis Elijah : Jah Bless (Instrumental) This was a big UK single when it dropped - that heavy bass that always goes down well here, with layers of synth and FX that are so forward that the drum track doesn't have to do too much! According to Neil Craig on Youtube who actually engineered and mixed this tune, Non Slick's beat almost went to Rodney P but they met Genesis Elijah and ended up giving him the beat instead. I'd argue this is still his best single, so that union was a blessing indeed. Clear Soul Forces : Don't Stop A good friend gifted me the 2019 "Still" LP on wax this month, which was a perfect present for someone who rates CSF as highly as I do! As always, the MCs absolutely explode with lyrical energy, and Ilajide brings his trademark heavy bass and knocking, slightly off-balance kick drum programming to the dance. Here's the kicker - this only the first half of the track. If you want to hear the rest, go ahead and support with a purchase! Ozay Moore & 14KT : Record Store Day Recently I was speaking to a young workman who loves music, but doesn't actually own any - he listens strictly on streaming services. They have their place, but the magic of the record shop is something that can't be duplicated, and that's the subject of this beautiful memoir. As he says, there are still shops out there so let's support them - not just on Record Store Day, but year-round! Production on this, along with the rest of the "Taking L'$" album is by 14KT - nicely done, kind of sunny-sounding with lots of changeups and decorations through the track. A Tribe Called Quest : Against The World As I say on the voiceover, I was actually going to play something else here originally, but just picked it out of the library on the fly after the mention of Dilla beats on the preceding track. This was from his work on Tribe's "The Love Movement", which like many others I really didn't like much at the time of release, but it's been long enough that it might need a revisiting! The15 : Still Here A bit of soul for you, coming out of a city you might not readily associate with such - Las Vegas! This duo (so far as I can tell) don't have an album out as yet, but this 2020 single is pure vibes. If there's something going off in your head as you listen, you might be recognising a vocal motif from Common's "The Light". By the way - when did you last hear scratching like this on an R&B track? Packo : Photon Freefall I'm not sure where I first stumbled upon this one, but I love it. Hawaiian DJ and producer Packo has a long series of "The Pocketbook Collection" singles, but he came out of the gate blazing with this as track one on the first! The rhythm bumps along with some flavoursome loose timing, while the soundscape of synths is warm and draws you in. Then the strings...


Episode 161 : Dark City

"Great Britain is a myth right now..." - Strategy Two different occasions combine for this month's episode; it's Halloween, and (0)161 is the Manchester area code, and so we lean towards the dark, sinister, and eerie, as well as including a good chunk of Manchester music in the mix. In several cases, we manage to find both aspects in the same track! The episode title fits the well as having some literal truth. The nights are closing in, and the temperature is falling...this is your seasonal soundtrack. If you'd like to watch my recent appearance on the "All Back To Mine" show, you can catch the replay on Youtube! Twitter : @airadam13 Twitch : @airadam13 Playlist/Notes Ice-T : Midnight It's a long track, but deserved to be heard in full to get to that ending, which will be appreciated by anyone familiar with Ice-T's catalogue. He's one of the master storytellers in Hip-Hop, and this work of his pen lets you know that there are realistic settings that can be as perilous as any horror film. Taken from probably Ice's best album "O.G. Original Gangster", these four verses play out over a dark instrumental with a classing banging drum sample, courtesy of Shafiq Husayn and the legendary DJ Aladdin. A-Trak : Don't Fool With The Dips (Instrumental) Turntablist supreme A-Trak and Dipset weren't an obvious combination, but this 2006 single was a great combination - while the double-timed hi-hats are reminiscent of some of the Heatmakerz production that the Dips were often heard on, the chopping, angular harshness of the rest of the track is something else entirely. Take a close listen and you'll hear that it sounds like a lot of the sounds are scratched in on a turntable - they probably were! It's worth getting this single if you see it, just don't expect any complex socio-political lyrics :) Regents (Cartridge and Strategy) : Greengate Adhesive The 70/140 BPM might be popular now but it was definitely a UK creation from back in the days, and the kind of ideas that started off in jungle found their way to the originators of grime. That kind of aesthetic has always been part of the Manchester scene from its inception, and Cartridge's production on this cut from last year's "Shegry" EP would fit a damp, dark night in the city perfectly. Strategy, an absolute mainstay of the Manchester and Salford scene, burns down the mic on this one, dropping classic local references in amongst the rest of his bars, and the way the vocals are laid at times makes it sound like there's two of him piling over each other to get all those words out. Fire. LEVELZ : Look Who It Is Manchester again, as we take the opening track from the debut "LVL 11" mixtape from this powerhouse collective. Metrodome and Biome handle production, with the skittering hi-hat pattern dancing across the heavy low end that takes up most of the space in the instrumental, and heavy, distorted bass tones like that have always been very popular here. This is quite a long tune so I did mix out with some verses still remaining, so pick up "LVL 11" online to hear every MC get busy! Kosheen : Cruelty The Bristol area has given us a number of excellent groups who fuse interesting, beat-heavy production techniques with quality vocals, and Kosheen are no exception. This is a selection from their 2013 "Resist" LP that has just the right feel for this episode, with a lumbering, thudding undergirding to the creepy keys and Sian Evans' vocals. Just the kind of record that can fit perfectly into a listening, rather than a dancefloor set. PRGz : WoodGrain I have had this record from "Fear and Loathing in HuntsVegas" on my hard drive for absolute years, and always thought a Halloween-time episode would be the best time to bring it out! DJ Benzi and Diplo pull the creepy sing-song melody from the soundtrack of a famous horror film, and the strings, while not quite so dark, certainly add to that feel. Add the 808-based drum track, and you have a certified southern...


Episode 160 : Raw Up Close

"Whose ways are strange when it's time to survive?" - DOOM My birth month comes around once again, but times are getting rougher out there, so this is a pretty rugged selection on the whole - which, to be fair, fits the changing of the season too. Looks like I'm going to be pulling the hoodies and boots out... RIP Coolio, who passed away just after the music recording was completed for this episode. Never heard a bad word said about the man even once. I'd love to see our legends grow old. Twitter : @airadam13 Twitch : @airadam13 Playlist/Notes L.E.G.A.C.Y : 7-3-71 For all these years, I had no idea what the track title was referring to, but I decided to try and find out while writing these notes. There weren't too many notable events that seemed to fit, but one looked possible - the death of Jim Morrison. On this track, L.E.G.A.C.Y mentions being "the Jim Morrison of this"...the mystery might just be solved! 9th Wonder is on the beat, which shuffles along nicely with a bassline-driven rhythm while L.E.G.A.C.Y spits two freewheeling verses. The "Legsclusives" album from 2003 is now available on Bandcamp, so you can get this and put some money directly into the man's pocket. Statik Selektah : Nobody Move As much as the vocal version with Raekwon and Royce from the "8" LP is a winner, it's actually nice to hear this dramatic number on the instrumental version of the LP without the vocals. The drum track brings to mind the famous "Amen" break, but I don't think it's a sample, and the horns are a great accompaniment. Black Moon : Stay Real If the sample sounds familiar, your ears aren't deceiving you! While you might recognise it from Jay-Z's "Public Service Announcement", it was the Beatminerz who cooked it up for this track first (and actually, Buckwild touched it even before them). It's a noisy, dark backing for Buckshot's slithering Brooklyn flow, while 5ft comes with a more animated mic style. This single was a standout from the "Total Eclipse" LP, which was a worthy addition to the Black Moon catalogue. They're truly a group who never, ever switched it up for commercial appeal. Prodigy & DJ Premier : Walk Out The welcome surprise of the month is this dark single, just released by the estate of the late Prodigy of Mobb Deep. With DJ Premier, who backed Mobb Deep early on, on production, P just goes in with his legendary icy-cold delivery. For more, check the any-day-now release of the first posthumous Prodigy album, "The Hegelian Dialectic 2: The Book of Heroine". Rest in peace P. Meyhem Lauren, Daringer, and Hologram : Raspberry Crush Meyhem is one of my favourite on the mic, so I was excited to see he had a new release out, entirely produced by Daringer from the Griselda crew. "Black Vladimir" is a 15-track platter of fuzzy, dusty, mostly downtempo street production for an MC who knows exactly what to do with that kind of material. On this tune Meyhem's fellow Outdoorsman Hologram comes along for the ride, and he does his thing - though there was one adlib I had to be rid of - but Meyhem will pretty much always be the best MC on any track you hear him on. Roc Marciano & The Alchemist : Zig Zag Zig If you like the kind of dark, downtempo crime records that have been in vogue over the last few years, understand that Roc Marciano was a pioneer of that style. Combine him with the genius behind the boards that is The Alchemist, leave to cook, and you get something like the new "The Elephant Man’s Bones: Pimpire Edition" album, from which this is drawn. The drums are more prominent here than on many Roc tracks, but still somewhat subdued, and he kicks his trademarked slick talk, street corner, word association lyrics over a long verse before Alchemist brings it home with a changeup on the beat. If you've ever heard me talk about "headphone music", this is a prime example. Jay Dee : Kamaal A little something to nod your head to, taken from Jay Dee's 2003 "Vintage" release. The tracks themselves are from the...


Episode 159 : Playing Rough

", we choose violence..." - Da-Neek Last month we had a nice, chilled, downtempo selection, gliding through several different genres. This month, we're flipping the script and rooting ourselves in pure beats, rhymes, and cuts! Twitter : @airadam13 Twitch : @airadam13 Playlist/Notes Public Enemy : Terminator X To The Edge Of Panic I was originally going to start the episode with the second track you'll hear, but a) I figured there'd be some listeners who wouldn't grab the reference it was making, and b) I'm always up for a bit of Public Enemy! This is an album cut from the seminal "It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back", and a bit of a signal of the era; how many groups nowadays would do a track about their DJ? In fact, how many of them even have DJs? The LOX : Terminator LOX And now, we slide into a brand new release that has lovers of the real nodding in approval! Yonkers' own LOX come out swinging with this rugged single based around the preceding PE track. Great to see skilled veterans of the artform paying homage to those who came before them. J-Zone : I'm Fuckin' Up The Money (Instrumental) J-Zone is now a highly-accomplished drummer, but he was a beast on the MPC - even if the lyrics were humourous, the skills were no joke. The vocal version of this cut from "Pimps Don't Pay Taxes" actually has H.U.G soloing on the mic with a fine performance, but you'll need to grab the "Live From Pimp Palace East" single for this instrumental. Neelam (ft. Da-Neek and Goalden Child) : We Got Em Like I rarely use emojis in my write-ups, but 🔥🔥🔥🔥! If I recall correctly, I heard a snippet of this posted on Instagram by Pete Rock, and immediately went to chase it down. The video clip was immediately attention-grabbing, with women in militant garb doing drill manoeuvres around the MC, who's crystal-clear flow cut through the ominous, militaristic beat. Neelam and the guest MC on this cut are all representing the Nation of Islam, and each is from a different part of the country - in order, California, New York, and Chicago. All of them have skills, but Neelam is an absolute standout. This is a killer from the "Anomalous" EP, with Marquis Henri Scott and Vinson Alaz Muhammad providing the instrumental backing for three verses of the type you rarely hear these days. Royce Da 5'9" : Soldier's Story I decided to follow up with another military-inspired track, even if it's not coming from the same place message-wise! This Reef-produced 2000 track from Royce was on the B-side of the "Boom" single, and if I'm honest, I've always preferred it! Red Astaire : Ghetto Hell RIP to Red Astaire, who sadly and unexpectedly passed away in June this year. The Swedish beatsmith put out some incredibly high-quality work over the years, and this 2004 12" - now available as a digital release - is just one example. It takes a brave person to consider ripping out DJ Premier's production on D'Angelo's "Devil's Pie", but Red does it. Stripping things all the way back to a straight rhythm at first and then adding synths along the way, he crafts a beat that is a worthy remix - and then tops it off by throwing a sample of a speech on economics and exploitation on at the close! Red Astaire may no longer be with us, but his 12"s will be in the crates of many DJs for a long time to come. [Charlemagne] Natural Elements : 2Tons (TV Track) One of the few TV Tracks that isn't marred by a load of vocals! The drum action on this beat is serious, courtesy of the real Charlemagne, who was the man behind the board for almost all of Natural Elements' earlier material. Definitely seek out the vocal version of this cut, as what NE are known for, more than anything, is their incredible MC skill. Tek : Hip-Hop A bite-sized heater from the 2006 "It Is What It Is" album which also spawned the monster "#1 Sound". Tek works in perfect sync with the production here, leaving space for the various vocal samples and wrapping them into the verses...


Episode 158 : Summer? Madness.

"If you move, I'll fall." - Traditional I've been away for most of the month dealing with a family emergency, but I've just about managed to get an episode together with the few days of the month I've been in Manchester. I spent a few of the days away trying to do my day job in some absolutely punishing heat, and so ended up listening to a lot of laid-back tunes to fit the temperature - as such, I thought I'd shape the month's selection in the same manner! Some old classics (including one for KMG, RIP) and more recent cuts, moving through a few different genres - enjoy! Twitter : @airadam13 Twitch : @airadam13 Playlist/Notes India Shawn ft. Anderson .Paak : Movin' On We start the episode on the modern soul tip with a killer from Los Angeles native India Shawn, who you'll have heard on the podcast before. As much as Anderson .Paak comes through with a great guest appearance, it's absolutely still her song. It's sunny, fresh, and a good song to wake up to as much as anything! With her message of moving out of a bad situation to something better, India Shawn creates an uplifting cut alongside producer D'Mile, which you can find on the short "Before We Go" album. Tavaras Jordan : The Player's Ball The more I catch up on his back catalogue, the more this man becomes one of my favourite musicians and producers. This instrumental is from his "SouthernPlayalistic" beat tape, and it's a sunny, refined track which, while you could imagine being topped with an R&B singer quite easily, is perfect just as it is. Roy Ayers Ubiquity : Everybody Loves The Sunshine One of the timeless, foundation, unimpeachable summer anthems - already forty-six years old and it still gets plenty of play. That's not even getting into how many times it's been covered, remixed, sampled, it's just a cultural staple. If you don't know, Roy Ayers is a jazz/soul/funk artist, writer, and producer, who has been putting out work since the early Sixties - and who is still performing live today! This is the title track from one of the albums under the name "Roy Ayers Ubiquity", and while the whole LP is good, this will always be the standout. Lisa Shaw : Better Days The opening track from Lisa Shaw's second LP, "Free", this is a light and airy, beautifully-engineered track that puts Shaw front and centre, at a slow and leisurely pace to warm you up for the more uptempo material that makes up the majority of the album. Still waiting on a third LP from this incredibly talented artist though... Le$ : Campaign Late night Houston rider music! The "Le$ Is More" EP was another quality release from the man with maybe the biggest contrast between his work ethic and how energetic he sounds on the mic (that said, Snoop also exists), and after playing this quite a few times this month I thought it was the track to include in the mix. Those gliding keyboards open things up and acclimatise you and then when the drum track drops, you're fully locked in. UGK : It's Supposed To Bubble If you don't know UGK's work, I'd recommend giving them a listen - Pimp C (RIP) and Bun B came out of Port Arthur, Texas, with their own highly-musical brand of Hip-Hop that stands up against anyone you can name. What often sounds like samples in their work is often built up with live, replayed versions of famous licks played by Pimp and guests, and then they bring their southern flavour to the mic. This track comes from their second LP, 1994's "Super Tight", and they're celebrating with a little champagne. It does, indeed, be like that sometimes. MF DOOM : Red And Gold (Original 12" Instrumental) No matter what, "Operation Doomsday" will always be my favourite MF DOOM (RIP) release - at that time, it hit like nothing else, sounding like someone with a stack of 80s records, a drum machine, and a mic, holed up in a bedroom and going for it. I'm not going to mention the sample, but it's not hidden at all - and you likely recognise it from some other uses! Prodigy : Stronger The late,...


Episode 157 : XIII

"I only ride with the MFers that I used to walk with." - Suga Free Another milestone passed - this is the thirteenth birthday episode! Thank you all for staying with me over the long road travelled since that first pilot show. For this month's episode, we once again visit the old and the new, starting with a brand new release from one of my favourite MCs and ending with some storied veterans coming back to burn like T La Rock! Twitter : @airadam13 Twitch : @airadam13 Playlist/Notes Matterflow ft. Raekwon : Gray Space We open the episode with a brand new cross-Atlantic combination - the Parisian producer Matterflow alongside the Staten Island Wu-Tang legend Raekwon. It's a reflective single with a downbeat sound, as Rae talks about moving from the "gray space" he inhabited in his young days to a very different life now. As some of us were recently discussing on a Twitch stream, nowadays in the age of digital releases it's so easy for a single like this to come out and quietly slip by the people who'd want to hear it, so I'm glad I didn't miss this one. King I Divine : Reflections I first heard King I Divine's production a good few years back when someone sent me his work, but then he dropped off my radar completely - which would mostly have been my fault! It was a pleasant surprise to hear him popping up on the Chillhop label, whose releases are quickly becoming a go-to for soundtracking tough programming sessions. This is a beautiful little single, not long, but with a relaxed piano line running through, finding its way through all the drums, percussion, and bass. Mobb Deep : Back At You RIP Prodigy. There's a good chance that this track might have slipped past you - the very similarly named "Right Back At You" featured on "The Infamous", but this slower, more measured cut was on the "Sunset Park" soundtrack. It also apparently got a single release, which I might chase down just to get the excellent Havoc instrumental. People Under The Stairs : Carried Away RIP Double K, another artist gone too soon. I was surprised not to have played the title track to the PUTS "Carried Away" album, their seventh, before, but the vibe is perfect for this time of year. The beat is so crispy and airy that Thes and K give us a twenty-bar intro before the lyrics start to just enjoy it, and a similarly lengthy outro - which also makes it great for DJs! Marco Polo ft. Oddisee, Kev Brown, Kenn Starr, Kaimbr, and Cy Young : Low Budget Allstars The DMV (DC, Maryland, Virginia) is in full effect here! Marco Polo is on production, as this is taken from his first LP "Port Authority", but I think it's fair to say that he clearly shows a Kev Brown influence on this beat. I wouldn't be surprised if these two MPC masters collaborated to cook up this track, before Kev and crew got on the mic to top it with bars upon bars. If you like a good posse cut, then this is going to make you smile from ear-to-ear - while nodding your head! Camp Lo ft. Trugoy The Dove : B-Side To Hollywood The Lo and De La together on this deep album cut from Camp Lo's debut "Uptown Saturday Night" make for a flavourful combination. Interestingly, this is the only song on the LP not produced by Ski - Trugoy gets behind the boards himself, and you could easily imagine this track, with the hook and all, being on a De La album. [Tonedeff] PackFM : Stomp (Instrumental) The Bhangra vibes are heavy on this one! Tonedeff channels the kind of sounds I remember hearing in my neighbourhood as a kid into a banger for Brooklyn's PackFM. There are plenty of interesting things going on in this beat, from the periodic drum rolls/flourishes to the section where the programming suddenly changes and starts racing along in double time - it's a nice piece of work! Visioneers : Rollin' For The Ride I'd somehow almost forgotten about this track, until I gave the "Dirty Old Hip-Hop" LP a spin recently. A great mostly-instrumental groove, it could easily have been used as a bed...


Episode 156 : Remain Original

"...'cos it's the right thing to do." - Sensei Of Soul With no particular theme I wanted to integrate this month, there were all kinds of directions available to go in! I've gone with a selection that has some stellar remakes, one or two old and overlooked gems, and an overall pacing that starts you off storming the barricades and ends at deep concentration. As mentioned at the end of the show - I know it's seriously a hard time for a lot of people with the rising cost of living, but if you're one of those doing better, I can't see the point of having money in your pocket instead of going to see Rakim! Twitter : @airadam13 Twitch : @airadam13 Playlist/Notes Public Enemy ft. Nas, Black Thought, Rapsody, YG, Jahi, and Questlove : Fight The Power 2020 Now that is a serious guest lineup! Everyone invited had to be incredibly honoured to get the nod from Public Enemy to appear on the remix of their classic 1989 protest anthem. Sadly, it's as relevant as ever, and the new verses include the names of more victims of white supremacy - let's hope that we're not here for another version in 2051. [Kut Masta Kurt] PMD : Straight From Da Heart (Instrumental) Simultaneously angular and a straight-ahead groove as so many of Kurt's beats are, this was a great backing for Parrish Smith of EPMD on this single from the "The Awakening" solo LP, during the period in which EPMD was disbanded. Robert Glasper ft. Yasiin Bey : Black Radio If you like "Umi Says" Mos Def, then this vocal performance will likely be right up your street. This was the title track of the first Robert Glasper Experiment LP "Black Radio" (Glasper's fifth overall), where he mixes his jazz foundation with Hip-Hop and a lot besides. With the third edition released this year, do yourself a favour and listen to the complete set! Tiombe Lockhart : O'Bloody Days, O'Starry Nights On The Bowery Of all the tracks on Waajeed's "The War LP", this may not be the one that grabs you instantly, but after repeated listens the quality will draw you in. The Detroit electronic sound and humanised drum timing are in full effect on a dense, sweeping piece of production, while Lockhart's vocals are haunting. De La Soul : The Return of DST A short but excellent track which I first heard on " presents: The 40 Oz." It channels a vibe just straddling the end of the old skool and the start of the new (for those that don't know, RUN DMC's revolutionary debut is arguably the dividing line), and pays homage to Grandmixer DXT, who was originally known as D.St, and famously was the featured artist on "Rockit" by Herbie Hancock. Starship Connection : Heartbreaker I think I first heard this on Twitch, where the sheer number of quality DJs you can view on any given day really makes you want to stay on top of your game! Made up of B.Bravo out of Los Angeles and San Fran's Teeko, Starship Connection fly the flag for the classic electro-funk sound, and this single is a sterling example. Bravo takes command of the talkbox and Teeko on production as the duo cover the classic Zapp track "Heartbreaker". The rhythm is, in modern style, a bit more on the edge, and they punctuate the tracks with extra breakdowns and flourishes compared to the original. This was a brave one to take on, but they do it proud! Jan Hammer : Transformers Jan Hammer will always be one of my favourite musicians, and this track from the 1992 soundtrack to the surreal, computer-generated film "Beyond The Mind's Eye" could just have easily slotted into the "Miami Vice" or "Cocaine Cowboys" scores. He's known for being able to do some amazing things with pure synths, including soaring guitar lines like the one we have here - he could much more easily call in a guitarist, but that wouldn't be as much fun! Maro Music, Raekwon, and Ghostface Killah : Throwback Boogie Of all the combinations of Wu MCs, Rae and Ghost is almost certainly the most iconic and influential, so the producer Maro Music pulled a blinder...


Episode 155 : Uptown Funk

" can rally troops, but I play the awesome defence..." - Guru 155 brought to mind the famous Rucker Park on 155th St and Frederick Douglass Boulevard in Harlem, which is the home borough of a recently departed legend - DJ Kay Slay, aka Dez, aka The Drama King (aka Slap Your Favourite DJ. But don't, please). Closer to home, we wish a peaceful journey to Phil Ratcliffe of The Mouse Outfit/Tungusku/Extra Love, who also sadly left us this month. His guitar playing closes the episode, which overall starts off hectic and decelerates towards the contemplative at the end. I hope he'd have approved. Twitter : @airadam13 Twitch : @airadam13 Playlist/Notes PM Dawn : The Nocturnal Is In The House RIP Prince Be. I'd be lying if I said I was really playing PM Dawn back in the day, but when I heard this tune on the "CB4" soundtrack...couldn't deny it! According to Wikipedia, the soundtrack release slightly preceded the "The Bliss Album..." which this is also on. The spoken intro is dope (not sure if it's a sample?), and then that heavy bassline and cuts come in, and finally, those banging drums. Prince Be might have been the bane of other crate diggers at the record conventions in his heyday, but you have to give it up for a track like this! [Pete Rock] Da Youngstas : Pass Da Mic (Remix Instrumental) This is some real vintage 90s SP-1200 instrumental action, with Pete Rock creating the definitive version of this 1992 single. I remember when this came out, the kids in the group would have been about my age and so didn't seem that, they look so tiny! If you don't already know it, check the vocal version for the sample that famously appeared as the hook for Gang Starr's "Mass Appeal". Heavy D : Truthful Mount Vernon again with the late great Heavy D, letting you know who the real overweight lover is on this cut from the "Blue Funk" LP. Tony Dofat is on the beat, and the guest vocalist might sound familiar even if you can't place the voice - Terri Robinson of Terri & Monica, and a backing singer for some absolute legends! Gang Starr : Now You're Mine RIP to Guru, gone for twelve years already. I seem to remember this track being one that Hip-Hop Connection didn't rate when it first came out on the "White Men Can't Jump" soundtrack, but they got that wrong - this is a classic! DJ Premier brings the jazzy vibes on production, but interestingly, Guru's basketball-themed battle lyrics are actually directed at him, since Guru was annoyed about something at the time. While most people missed this on the soundtrack, it later emerged on the must-own "Hard To Earn" LP. Camp Lo & Teck Zilla : Disco Lo Big diaspora connection here (Black Connection, as it were) with Nigerian producer and DJ Teck Zilla combining with Camp Lo out of the Bronx on this new single. Tidal recommended me this, so it must be getting to know what I like! Trademark slang-heavy outing from the Lo on the mic, and the production is hectic - a lot going on in this beat. It's got some retro styles with the horns and some of the samples, but you can hear touches of more recent styles folded in too. Excellent release! E-40 : They Might Be Taping I'm no expert, but I have to believe the police have figured out Pig Latin... regardless, this big tune out of Vallejo has been a headphone and car staple since the release of "My Ghetto Report Card" back in 2006. Rick Rock provides the slapping beat and E-40 the rapid-fire bars. If you only got up on E-40 after his Verzuz with Too $hort, do yourself a favour and check his incredibly deep back catalogue. [Part 2] New Flesh : Stick & Move (Instrumental) This electronic-basslined track is one of Part 2's best, representing for Yorkshire in fine style! This instrumental is on the 12" single, which is a good one to have in the stash if you're a DJ - on a decent sound system, this one moves. Styles P & Havoc : Pay Me In Cash The first of three straight tracks featuring members of The LOX as guests, this comes...


Episode 154 : Criminal Records

"Where the venom corrodes the street..." - Large Professor We have a great mix of the old and new this episode, and I all but guarantee that everyone will hear one new track, and hopefully one that will send you to the shop to add to your collection! Some of the tracks were fitting together as though it was meant to be, so I hope you enjoy the flow. As well as picks from some of the best artists working today, this month's selection contains several jewels left to us fromour departed greats - including a track from Phife's recently-released final LP, flaming Sean Price and Nate Dogg features, and a track from and a story about the late Biggie Smalls. I can't believe it's been twenty-five years already. Twitter : @airadam13 Twitch : @airadam13 Playlist/Notes Armani Caesar ft. Benny The Butcher : Simply Done Short(ish), but not a thing sweet about this one! It's an all-Griselda affair on the mic, with Armani Caesar bringing it alongside guest Benny The Butcher...and then there's that beat. It's exactly what you want from a DJ Premier beat, right down to the trademark multi-sampled scratched hook. You can find this as well as Armani's other styles (no pun intended!) on 2020's "The Liz". Lone Apostrophe : Come Back In this city, you don't have to go far to find talent, and Lone Apostrophe is just one example. A veteran on the boards as well as one of the brains behind the WORKINONIT beatmaking events (get down there!), he blesses us with a gentle groove here that was the opener on last year's "Webs" album. Paul Wall & Termanology : Recognize My Car Surprise (to me, at least) collaboration of the month, but one I'm pleased to hear! Houston and Lawrence, MA come together to answer the call from Pete Rock for this import of the slab life to the East Coast. Pete Rock is in fine SP-1200 fashion (though I know he could easily be doing this style on a more modern machine), and the whole blend just makes me smile. The upcoming Paul and Termanology album "Start 2 Finish" is going to be a good one! Rakim : How I Get Down This is one of those tracks that was buried in my collection, but popped up as exactly the right record to be here and now! DJ Mark The 45 King is on production, giving us two contemporaries who rank among the greats combining for this selection from 1999's "The Master". Even a relatively-overlooked* Rakim LP still gives you bars that will bury most people's favourite MCs, please believe it. The beat is raw boom-bap, with enough space that you catch every single word Ra spits. * I will concede that the cover art is pretty awful though. Statik Selektah, Thirstin Howl III, and Sean Price : Ralph Lauren's Closet Part Hip-Hop, part opera, the haunting feel to this low-slung track, courtesy of Statik Selektah, is a winner. The Lo-Life general Thirstin Howl III has represented the Ralph Lauren lifestyle in Hip-Hop from the jump, and the late Sean Price has been known to be fresh with it also - and both have that classic NYC style woven into their mic skills. This is definitely one of the standouts from "The Balancing Act" LP. Sir Michael Rocks ft. Trademark Da Skydiver : Livin' It Up This tune makes you feel like you should be on a yacht somewhere, even if your budget doesn't even stretch to lilo! 2011's "The Rocks Report" sees Mikey Rocks of The Cool Kids in full floss mode, and he's celebrating with New Orleans' Trademark with the high-dollar sound of the great Ski Beatz soundtracking the whole regatta. Sadat X : Notorious B.I.G. Story (Interlude) A little interlude from Sadat's "Never Left" LP which I thought was perfect to include as we commemorate B.I.G.'s passing twenty-five years ago this month. I believe Sadat's story here of witnessing Biggie's legendary "writing without writing" style describes the recording session for the original "Come On", later remixed for the posthumous "Born Again" album. Tavaras Jordan : G.S. 400 I only found out about this North Carolina heatmaker when he produced the...


Episode 153 : Audio Visuals

"Seasoning drippin' off of my style, I dress tastefully..." - Meyhem Lauren It's Feburary once again, and so we dig into the catalogues of J Dilla, Big Pun, and Big L as we mark the anniversaries of their passings. Alongside those gems. we have some excellent brand new releases and some rarities from the vaults. You should definitely have some tunes to add to your shopping list after listening to this one! Twitter : @airadam13 Twitch : @airadam13 Playlist/Notes Semi Six : It's On I would have called this the brand new single, but Semi Six dropped another straight after this with the quickness! Just heavy business from this Detroit booth incinerator, with the hook and the sample incorporated into it coming from Biggie's classic "Who Shot Ya?" Tuamie, who did the production on the recent "Assorted Fries" EP, comes with the heat again - a modern boom-bap sound with some nice extra touches. And you know that "LOX vs Dipset" line he spit is facts! Jay Dee : Dreamy Here we have the more chilled side to the late Jay Dee's style, taken from his "Vintage" EP - which is now available on Bandcamp, and an essential for those who appreciate this kind of vibe. Big Pun : That's How We Roll Apologies for the sound quality - I know it's pretty rough! This is a white label I picked up from somewhere, and while it shares the same lyrics as the track of the same name from the "Endangered Species" album, the beat is completely different. I'm not going to mention the sample, but you probably recognise it, and I can only imagine that they couldn't clear the sample. Anyway, I definitely prefer this version, and I've always found it interesting how an MC as rugged and raw as Pun could sound absolutely at home on such relatively gentle instrumentals. De La Soul : Goes With The Word One of the landmark Dilla beats was the monster he delivered for De La Soul's "Stakes Is High", and so they'll always be tightly associated; had he lived, I'm sure they'd have produced many more classics. Sadly, it wasn't to be, but De La remix their "D.A.I.S.Y" as "Da Inner Sound Of Yancey" on this mixtape, combining re-interpretations of their own lyrics with J Dilla beats from the vaults. In this case, the beat entitled "Don't Say A Word" is repurposed underneath a version of De La's "Potholes In My Lawn". Devin Morrison : No As well as being a great artist in his own right, Onra clearly knows how to spot talent, signing the Orlando native Devin Morrison to his own label and then letting him do his thing on the way to the release of the 2019 "Bussin'" album. This is the lead single, and is pretty much impossible not to like! Somewhat reminiscent of what is often called neo-soul, this definitely isn't stuck in the past and and Devin's production and tastefully-processed vocals sound up to date with a classic feel. Just dopeness. J Dilla ft. Amp Fiddler : Let's Pray Together You're not imagining things if you think you recognise the beat - this was previously used by Common on "Dooinit", but it gets a welcome re-airing on this track from the "Rebirth Of Detroit" album. Amp Fiddler is a Detroit legend who preceded J Dilla, and in fact mentored him and gave him his first MPC! [Tall Black Guy] Essa : The Middle Man (Remix Instrumental) It's been a long while since I played the vocal version of this track on the podcast, so I thought I'd break out Tall Black Guy's instrumental. The vinyl is sold out I believe, but you can still buy this excellent single in digital form. Big L : Casualties Of A Dice Game (9th Wonder Remix) People in the know tell us that we were yet to see Big L reach the height of his powers before he was tragically taken from the world. That's quite something when you hear the skill level he'd already attained, as demonstrated here on one of his classic street storytelling rhymes. You might know the lyrics from his posthumously released "The Big Picture", but on "The DITC Remix Project" the tense Ron Browz beat is removed in favour...


Episode 152 : One Of Our Own.

"...and if they don't understand, then they ain't fam, simple as that." - Nature This month's episode is dedicated to the memory of a great friend who also happened to be a serious DJ - Obelix of Too Many Cooks (second from right in the photo), who tragically and suddenly passed away this month. He was known to many as part of the crew that organised the Family Gathering parties in the mid-late 2000s, and when you weren't dancing to his selections, you were probably chatting to him and hearing his famously loud laugh! He was a regular listener of this podcast and I hope he would have enjoyed this episode. RIP to a real one. Twitter : @airadam13 Twitch : @airadam13 Playlist/Notes Russ ft. Snoop Dogg and Big K.R.I.T. : Free Atlanta's Russ wasn't an artist who'd been on my radar at all until this point, but he pulls together a heavyweight lineup for this DJ Premier-produced selection from his "Chomp 2" album. K.R.I.T might have had the most dextrous verse, but Snoop's verse is the perfect closer, and his low tone is exactly what was needed. Superior Thought : Oddessy Sorry about the spelling, that's on the original! This subdued, mournful instrumental from South London's Thought, taken from "The S'strumentals - SkyisthelimitLP" was just the right mood for this month's opening announcements. Dubbul O & Jointhedots : Stay Shippin' New Manchester flavour here, with a brand new single starring Dubbul O, a true MC who can burn any cipher down or slide along with a groove like this. Jointhedots is the new project headed up by bassist/producer/bandleader Defty, and the stuff I'm hearing makes you wish for a full-length project sometime this year! Common : Testify Common is in full storytelling mode here, setting a scene worthy of a big-screen courtroom drama - in fact, this single did get an extended-length video with serious actors playing the roles! The "Be" album was a bit of a return to the good graces of many (including me, truth be told) after he kind of went heavily off-piste on "Electric Circus"; Kanye West produced most of it, including this track, and hearing this reminds you how good he was at picking out and working with those soul samples. Darkhouse Family ft. Tyler Daley and Kaidi Tatham : All The Way UK talent blazing all over this one, with Cardiff's Darkhouse Family bringing in some of their First Word labelmates. The multi-instrumental don Kaidi Tatham comes in alongside legend in the making Tyler Daley, best known as half of Children of Zeus, and the result is heavy. A weighty low end and banging drum line are complemented by some gentle piano, beautiful horns and flutes, and Tyler's always-great vocals. Khrysis, Rapsody, and Sa-Roc : The Disrespect When you have two serious MCs ready to go, just give them a good beat, hit "record", and get out of the way! It's great to hear Khrysis still bringing it all these years after first hearing him as part of the Justus League, and last year's "The Hour Of Khrysis" (appropriate) is another solid entry in his catalogue. Rapsody, his fellow Soul Council member, puts work in on the first verse with quite a relaxed, smooth flow, before Sa-Roc comes in slightly more amped up on the second. Havoc & The Alchemist : Throw In The Towel (Instrumental) Two of the masters of the dark combined on "The Silent Partner", and this gives you a good sample of the flavour throughout! The Alchemist is in sole charge of production here - the fact that such an expert producer as Havoc trusts him in that position is testament to his skill. Superbad Solace : Sundaze A very short and sweet cut from "Sol Controller 2", Mono En Stereo clearly dug in the crates to construct this layered soul soundtrack for Solace of the Queens duo Timeless Truth to get busy on. Not every track needs to be a lengthy epic to be satisfying! Nature ft. Nas : The Ultimate High Not everyone picks up on the vibe of this one. I remember playing it at a random house party once and hearing someone very...