My podcast is a chance for me to dig into my record collection and give you a monthly mix of music; mostly Hip-Hop, but always with the potential for a few surprises! Listen out for the occasional track from me in there too.
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Episode 94 : The Illest

"...yo' ass lie like the president!"

- Ice Cube

This month marks twenty years since the death of Biggie Smalls - and yet it somehow doesn't feel like that long ago. The B.I.G man's influence still looms large over the culture and this show is no exception. Several Biggie tracks and others inspired by him dot the episode, alongside choices from the discographies of the late Phife and Nate Dogg. Besides those, a few classics and some fairly modern gems you may have missed!

Catch me DJing at Eastern Bloc Records on April 22nd for Record Store Day and then stay out for their big party in the evening! Just over a week later, check DJ Andy Smith at Whiskey Jar for a Sunday night session :)

Twitter : @airadam13


Ice Cube ft. Chris Rock : You Ain't Gotta Lie (Ta Kick It)

The way things are right now, I should do a whole mixtape strictly on the subject of lying! Chris Rock was an inspired choice to guest on this track from "War & Peace Vol.2 (The Peace Disc)" for the adlibs, while Cube just goes in with venom on an assortment of unnamed dishonest people. Production comes from Chucky Thompson of The Hitmen, and it does have a little of that Bad Boy flavour - you could imagine someone like The Lox on this beat back in the day.

Da Beatminerz : Bentleys & Bitches (Instrumental)

Tough beat right here from instrumental version the "Brace 4 Impak" LP (can't believe it's 16 years old this year!) - definitely an album to have in the collection if the ruggedness is what you seek. 

ODB : Hippa To Da Hoppa

Two short verses of battle rhymes in Dirty's own truly inimitable style :) I don't play much ODB here somehow, but he was an MC unlike any other. This isn't one of the most often heard tracks from "Return To The 36 Chambers : The Dirty Version", but it popped into my head as one to bring out this month. The beat was one that RZA had in his archives and that Dirty had mentally bookmarked for himself when the time was right. 

Lords Of The Underground : Chief Rocka

I was well pleased to be able to cut this in and have it rhyme with the hook of the preceding track! A classic Hip-Hop single out of Newark, New Jersey, with K-Def on production. This is the video version, taken from the 12" single, with the original of course being available on the "Here Come The Lords" LP. This tune is quality all the way through, but we don't quite make it to the end of the third verse, because it made sense to loop up a notable Mr.Funkee line and then come in with...

The Notorious B.I.G. : Machine Gun Funk

...a track which happens to use it as a hook! The 1-2-3 combo on "Ready To Die" of "Things Done Changed", "Gimme The Loot", and "Machine Gun Funk" is phenomenal, but this is still an underrated cut in my opinion. Easy Mo Bee contributed an absolutely cracking beat, and Biggie's rhymes are enough for his son to rate this as maybe his favourite from the catalogue. Pure fire.

Mary J. Blige ft. The Notorious B.I.G. : Real Love (Remix)

If you weren't around at the time, it's hard to communicate how revolutionary this was. Hip-Hop and R&B were very separate things back then, and it was people like the Harlem DJ Ron G with his innovative and influential blend tapes who showed the possibilities of combining the two. When Puff Daddy (now P.Diddy) went to Uptown Records, he masterminded producing that kind of combination to the studio, and the "What's The 411? (Remix)" album is one of the most well-known examples. Ron G is actually on the intro to this track (just before the part I start playing from), but Puffy and Daddy-O (of Stetsasonic) are credited with the Hip-Hop-heavy production, blending several classic samples together to give Mary a fitting backing - which also works brilliantly for Biggie, when he comes in.

[Buckwild] Sadat X : The Lump Lump (Instrumental)

Classic boom-bap from 1996, Buckwild's bumping instrumental for the Sadat X track discussing... adventures about town. This was a quality single from the "Wild Cowboys" LP - remember when a tune like this could be a club banger?

Curren$y ft. Nate Dogg & Nijay Sincere : Let's Get It Crackin'

This has one of those hooks that just sticks in your head - Nate Dogg can do that to you. Just know that you cannot sing like him :) Anyway, this is kind of an interesting one; you may be familiar with Curren$y's recent career, the "lifestyle rap" and the sonic flavours that come with it, but this 2010 single sounds more like a move for the clubs and the radio - not necessarily a bad thing at all. He's firmly midtempo here over the DJ Taylormade beat with Nate supplying a hook that may not be catchy, but one that works for sure.

A Tribe Called Quest : The Donald

RIP Phife Dawg...aka Don Juice, apparently! Dancehall-accented tune with some nice turntable work (courtesy of DJ Scratch) for the sureshot combination of Tribe and Busta Rhymes on this closer from "We got it from Here...Thank You 4 Your Service", the final ATCQ LP. One of the only things I've heard in months that involves the name "Donald" and doesn't make me want to be sick!

Lexxus : Stress

I'm kind of mad I had to buy the "Mr.Lex" album a second time (on CD) because so many tracks aren't on the vinyl. Still, big tune here with Bobby Konders on the digital production! Lexxus only has two albums, but his singles discography is deep if you like what you hear.

Large Pro : Off Yo Azz On Yo Feet

(Note: I've just realised that this was also included on episode 76. First repeated track in the history of the show! #oops)

The live guy with glasses just keeps on going. His latest LP, 2015's "Re:Living" was a concise eleven tracks, with this being one that just stuck in my head. Self-produced, of course, with the snare smacking away relentlessly in the mix. Lyrically - I guess it's motivational music, after a fashion? The hook certainly leaves no doubt about the message :)

The Alchemist : The Thirst

Thinking about it recently, I realised that in this post-anthem world with an explosion of music availability, Alchemist has quietly worked his way into the pantheon of greatest all-time producers. A nice dark beat from the first "Rapper's Best Friend" beat compilation. 

Mega Ran : 10 Gamer Commandments

Random aka Mega Ran is best known for his skill at blending of video game culture and Hip-Hop, and he gives just a piece of it on this cut from his "Notorious R.A.N - Ready To Live" tribute album. Twenty years after the passing of Biggie, Mega Ran reworks some of his tracks in tribute, and this bonus track is of course his flip of "Ten Crack Commandments"; a step-by-step booklet on how to conduct yourself in the gaming world ;)

Kaytranada ft. Craig David : Got It Good

A year ago we heard a Ras Kass track based on this instrumental, but I thought it was worth giving you the original! Coming strong for the crown of best producer to come out of Haiti, the Canadian-raised Kaytranada made some serious noise among those who know last year with the "99.9%" album, and this was a standout cut for me. The highly underrated Craig David supplies a smooth vocal performance at the high end while the beat bumps along at the bottom - great blend.

Omniscence : Golden

North Carolina coming through! The likes of Bandcamp is a godsend for allowing independent releases to be easily obtainable by the fans, and after putting out stuff like the previously-unreleased "The Raw Factor" digitally, Omniscence then moved on to bringing new material onto the platform. This piece from "The God Hour" has some bump but the gentle keyboard work is a fitting backing to Omni's two contemplative verses.

Geto Boys : Leanin' On You

A group often missed when we discuss Hip-Hop legends, Houston's Geto Boys went through lineup changes early in their life, then settled for a while before changing again, and finally coming back together with what most consider the canonical MC lineup - Scarface, Willie D, and Bushwick Bill. Here, we take a reflective track from their seventh LP, "The Foundation", with each MC taking a turn to describe a missed person or a struggle in their own lives. The production comes from someone you may not associate with this style, and also may not have thought about in a while - Mr.Mixx of 2 Live Crew, a pioneer of the Miami Bass sound. This certainly has some heft in the mix but rather than the accelerated beats that he made his name with, this sample re-work is slow and somewhat solemn, perfectly matching the lyrics. 

Oddisee : Brixton

A bit of an old one (2010) from Oddisee's "Traveling Man" instrumental album; I don't know if he made this beat in Brixton or just took inspiration from there, but it's quality as usual. I'll likely play you something from his new album "The Iceberg" in the coming months.

Willie Evans Jr. : Nerd English

Finally, we come all the way back to the theme from the episode opener! A very amusing but sincere track about keeping it all the way real, staying in your lane...however you want to put it :) It reminds us that trying to be something we're not is stressful, hard work, potentially trouble, and just generally undignified. A solid tune from the "Introducin'" LP that always makes me smile.

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!

Episode 93 : (for small values of infinity)

"All that happy, 'let's be friends' shit? Yo, this is the opposite."

- Konny Kon

As usual, we pay tribute to J Dilla, Big L, and Big Pun this month, but also two giants from a previous generation who both made a massive impact on Hip-Hop; Clyde Stubblefield and David Axelrod, who both passed in the last few weeks. Besides that, we have some great recent tracks from Manchester, some US classics and a few tracks that may have passed you by! Let's get it going...

Twitter : @airadam13


D.I.T.C. : Best Behavior (Showbiz Remix #2)

From "The Remix Project", we go heavy in multiple ways right from the jump. Big Pun may not have been a charter member of D.I.T.C, but Fat Joe certainly is, and it's via Joe that we end up with this connection to one of the fiercest MCs of all time. One verse each over this Showbiz beat which somehow manages to be even darker than the excellent Amed-produced original

David McCallum : The Edge

I'd imagine a good number of you thought this was about to be an entirely different record :) This track from the "Music: A Bit More Of Me" album is definitely the most famous track by the actor/musician David McCallum, and one of the most well-recognised by the producer, the brilliant David Axelrod, who passed away this month. That intro is just a monster.

Big L & Jay-Z : Freestyle

Given the origin and the content, I hope you can excuse the sound quality! This is one of the great freestyle sessions of all time, with the then-rising Big L and Jay-Z trading serious bars over the beat for Miilkbone's "Keep It Real"; as it turns out, they'd already battled off-mic earlier the same night! While that clash is lost to folklore, it's good to have this back-and-forth preserved for posterity, thanks to Stretch & Bobbito.

Ras Kass : Soul On Ice (Remix)

Diamond D remixes the title track from Ras' debut, blessing Ras with a David Axelrod-sampling instrumental that is probably better known than the original. Ras is in the political lyrical mode many people would associate him with here, but as always managed to blend that with just vicious battle lines. "The waterproof MC, you ain't wettin' me/You need to stop rapping and start robbing banks like Steady B"? *Ouch*...

SoundSci : The Remedy (Jonny Cuba Remix)

This one has just missed the cut a few times but it fit nicely here! Super relaxed vibe all the way through on this closing track from the "Dig For Victory" EP.

James Brown : Funky Drummer (Parts 1 & 2)

We join this track about a minute and a half in - the full track is seven minutes long. At 19:25 though, one of the most famous, sampled, re-used, re-formulated pieces of audio of all time appears to grace our eardrums. Clyde Stubblefield claimed to not particularly like this song as a whole all that much, but these few seconds of solo drumming when he was given his shine have immortalised it - and him. 

[Jay Dee] Slum Village : Climax (Instrumental)

Easily one of my favourite Dilla beats, from the "Fantastic, Vol.2" album - a fantastic blend of samples and that clap on the two and four are perfectly crisp and clean.

Busta Rhymes : Genesis

Busta was one of those MCs who caught on to J Dilla relatively early and the two artists combined for some excellent tracks over the years. On "Genesis", Busta's fifth album, Dilla contributed this title track and "Make It Hurt", which sounds like it was done by a completely different producer, which just goes to show his versatility. 

Gang Starr : Mass Appeal

It just seemed to go well with the Busta record, and it's a great single, taken from the "Hard To Earn" LP. What you might not know about it is that DJ Premier essentially put the beat together as a bit of a mickey take! The track is supposed to sound like catchy elevator music, in keeping with the lyrical theme of rappers simplifying their material for a popular audience - but it just sounds so good! 

Souls of Mischief : 93 Til Infinity (Remix)

Do I prefer this to the original? Absolutely not - however, that doesn't mean it's not a quality track in its own right. If you listen carefully, you'll hear that it's an actual re-record, with the lyrics being very slighly different and the delivery also tweaked to better fit this alternative beat by A-Plus. The easiest place to find this is on the original 12" single, though it has been released by itself as well.

Masta Ace Incorporated : Saturday Night Live (L.A. Jay Remix)

Staying in '93 for a remix of a track from the "SlaughtaHouse" album - an LP notable for largely being a parody which a lot of people either took literally or assumed wasn't about them! This particular track has its own dark humour, showing about how live a Saturday night can actually get, and feaures Uneek, Eyce, and Lord Digga on the mic. L.A. Jay from the Pharcyde crew rocks the same sample heard on Gang Starr's "Jazz Music" for a beat that manages to surpass the album version!

Pete Rock : Dilla Bounce (R.I.P)

A fitting instrumental to include this month. Dilla came up idolising the work of Pete Rock, so it's poetic that after his passing (as in life), Pete pays respect to him in return. I feel that "Petestrumentals 2" may follow the same path as its predecessor - underrated on release, and retrospectively hailed as a classic.

Run The Jewels ft. Joi : Down

The "RTJ3" album came out on Christmas Day and ensured that we all got at least one present :) This was the opener and a worthy one - a look back at Killer Mike and El-P's pasts, and a look forward to where they plan to go. There's a kind of warmness to the beat which isn't a word I'd usually use to describe an El-P track, but it envelops your ears and draws you in to focus on the lyrics.

Ellis Meade : Kings & Queens

Ellis was kind enough to send me a copy of this a few months back and I finally found a good place to showcase it in a mix. The flow is crazy over a double-timed, almost southern-style Pro P beat. Another win for the Room 2 Records crew!

Chamillionaire : You Gotta Love Me

"Mayn, let the truth free". That shout-out to the then-incarcerated Pimp C firmly dates this one, a longtime headphone favourite for me finally making it onto the show! From the DJ Whoo Kid (hence the annoying adlibs) collaboration mixtape "The Truth", Cham focuses his anger on Mike Jones ("who?", you may now ask?) - that beef lasted for several years. I haven't been able to find out who produced this but that sped-up vocal sample is a serious earworm!

Don Jagwarr : The Cure

I've had this one hanging around for a long while, not sure it's everyone's speed but it fit tempo-wise into this selection and I think was a reasonable follow-up to the soul sample in the previous track. Don Jagwarr is almost certainly best known to most as the guest on Ice Cube's "Wicked", but he did have his old LP, "Faded", from which this track is drawn. The beat and hook are based around a replay of Diana Ross' "Love Hangover", which is a chilled backing for Jagwarr to spin his tale over.

Jake One : Oh Lord

We go back to the gospel-themed "#PrayerHandsEmoji" beat tape for this instrumental, a perfect warm-up for this month's closer...

Children of Zeus : Crown

An anthem already (wow, alliteration)! Tyler Daly goes straight rhymes alongside the always-ready Konny Kon over a no-drums track based around a stirring gospel sample; both MCs turn it out in fine style! Absolutely huge track from the "Two Syllables, Volume Thirteen" compilation and one that deserves as much shine as possible - on top of everything else, it also has one of the best videos I've seen in ages, so no excuse not to share and share again!

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!

Episode 92 : Signals

"...make you feel as if the Bill of Rights was counterfeit."

- Cuban Link

This month has just been hitting us over the head with "WTF?" moments on a daily basis, but in between I managed to put the show together - as you can tell, the finishing touches only made it in close to the end-of-month buzzer! While this is an all-Hip-Hop episode, I feel fairly confident that there won't be many people who know every track, so there'll be at least one new gem here for everyone. Let's run down this month's crate excavations...

Twitter: @airadam13


Fat Joe ft. The Terror Squad : The Hidden Hand

It's bleak, but it's life. The whole Terror Squad weigh in on this cinematic cut (produced by Spunk Bigga) from the "Don Cartagena" album. Packed with cautionary tales, observations on the state of society, and ending with a touch of advice, this very much has the air of the person that's been through a lot trying to stop someone else going down the same road. In my opinion, this is a very much underrated deep album cut.

Oddisee : No Rules For Kings (Inst)

From the "The Beauty In All" album we get this lovely instrumental, heavy on the cymbals and drum fills.

3rd Bass : Gladiator

I've just realised that I've only played 3rd Bass once before on the podcast, so there are some great tracks in their small catalogue still for me to share with you. Here's one I think you probably won't know - their contribution to the soundtrack of the 1992 boxing-themed film "Gladiator". DJ Daddy Rich makes the beat boom, and whoever it is on the hook is battling me in the low voice stakes :)

J-Live : Worlds Apart

"The white man's burden still the brown man's backache"? That's just fire. The amount of clever, insightful quotes on this track is just unbelievable. It's well worth sitting and listening carefully to this one a few times - nothing but facts right here from J-Live on this Oddisee-produced piece from his "Around The Sun" album. 

Melanin 9 ft. Roc Marciano : White Russian

Melanin 9 is a UK MC who had somehow escaped my notice up to now but I stumbled upon this track with Long Island's street rhyme specialist Roc Marciano and knew I had to include it! The production by Anatomy channels the feel of the SP1200/S950 90s golden age; I love it, apart from the awkward 5-bar intro ;) Melanin and Roc go stream-of-consciousness in fine style on this one, taken from the "Magna Carta" LP.

Apollo Brown & Skyzoo ft. Joell Ortiz : A Couple Dollars

"The Easy Truth" was one of the picks of 2016 and the combination of Skyzoo, a real lyric fan's choice, and Apollo Brown's soulful production is a match made in Hip-Hop heaven. Adding Joell Ortiz to this story of the lure of money when you start off broke just takes the track over the top. The album is definitely worth checking!

Kappah : Supafly

Kappah from the Beatfonics crew flips some Curtis Mayfield inside out right here and adds some solid bass underneath for a highlight from the "Beatxploitation" beat tape. Heavy business as usual coming out of Italy.

Nas : Thief's Theme

A dark favourite, and an appropriate one as we see the dawn of a new kleptocracy! This was a great single from the "Street's Disciple" album - there might have been a radio mix, but you couldn't call this a radio record. Salaam Remi harnesses the "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida" sample (as played by the Incredible Bongo Band) while Nas goes full crime rhyme for three verses - and on the hook, re-using some of his own famous lines from "The World Is Yours". The video for this one is well worth a watch too!

Camp Lo : A Piece Of The Action

The recently released "On The Way Uptown" is the demo album Camp Lo recorded that got them their record deal and paved the way for the classic "Uptown Saturday Night". Well worth picking up if you're a fan, as you can hear early versions of some tracks that made the official album as well as others that were borrowed from or reworked. There's also a scattering of "lost tracks", and what later became B-sides. This tune, I believe, has been out on white label but is a tough one to get so I was very happy to find it included. Geechi and Sonny Cheeba showcase their back-and-forth skills on a great foreshadowing of killer records to come, while Ski gives us some boom-bap drums over a cleverly-chopped, sneaky sampling of a jazz classic. Heavyweight.

Talib Kweli : Gutter Rainbows

I think the world "lush" would fit this one when it comes to the production! M-Phazes brings a dramatic 70s flair to the title track to Talib's 2011 album, and Talib sounds thoroughly amped to be on it. You've all seen a gutter rainbow in the literal sense - the colours formed when oil spills onto the street, and while Kweli does point to that in the lyrics he also gives a more poetic alternative definition.

Pete Rock ft. Little Brother and Joe Scudda : Bring Y'all Back

"...catch a fist and a elbow"...Richard Spencer, come on down! Three very dope verses from LB and Joe Scudda over a Pete Rock beat; I think Phonte's is my favourite, but you can't go wrong with any of the three. Check this one on Pete Rock's third producer-driven compilation, "NY's Finest".

[Context] Maylay Sparks : Legacy (Inst)

One of those random independent 12"s that makes a DJs vinyl collection individual, rather than just an "essential hits" compilation! Context of the Danish crew "Nobody Beats The Beats" provides a quintessentially early-2000s instrumental.

WC & The MAAD Circle : Ghetto Serenade

RIP DJ Crazy Toones. This is a beat I've always loved since I heard it on MTV back in the day, and as Toones had his hands in the production (alongside Sir Jinx and Chilly Chill), I thought this was a good time to play the track. This is played from the 12" single which is itself taken from the 1991 "Ain't A Damn Thang Changed" album. You may not find the story as told by WC to your taste, but you can't deny that funk!

Main Source : Atom

Taking it back to '89, we have one of the first recordings from the Main Source crew. This is the B-side of the "Think" single and for me, a perfect case of "B Side Wins Again"! The mixing and engineering was done by the legendary Paul C, who sadly would be killed before Main Source released their debut "Breaking Atoms" album; his influence lived on, and not just in the name of Large Professor's publishing company

Mega Ran & Storyville ft. Wise Intelligent : I Know Who I Am

It's been great over the last couple of years to see Mega Ran's profile climbing. He's an extremely talented artist and on the "Soul Veggies" album he reunited with long-time friend Storyville, who both took the mic and produced on the project. For this knowledge-packed track, it was only right that both of them connected with Wise Intelligent of the Poor Righteous Teachers; in fact, it was actually him who got on the DJ Seedless track first and then brought them in! The production is funky, jazzy, African...the whole pot, a perfect home for some excellent rhymes.

DJ Quik ft. Mausberg and James DeBarge : Change Da Game

The "Balance & Options" album from the legendary Compton DJ/MC is a must-own for me, with some absolute killers on it - this one being the opening, a statement of intent from Quik and the late Mausberg. The timing and dynamics on the rhythm part of the track gives it a certain bounce that is harder to duplicate than your average beatmaker might think, and as always with Quik, the musicianship is right there for you to appreciate.

[DJ Premier] Gang Starr : Skills (Instrumental)

You could do a mix of just DJ Premier instrumentals and it'd be a satisfying hour! This is from the 12", one of the four singles from "The Ownerz", the final Gang Starr album. Check the full version if you don't already know it - personally, I'm really missing that trademark Guru monotone style.

Heltah Skeltah ft. Starang Wondah & Doc Holiday : I Ain't Havin' That

I decided to finish the episode on a seriously energetic note, with this banging track getting a well-deserved outing. The Boot Camp crew rip the beat from A Tribe Called Quest's "Hot Sex" and you can almost hear them falling all over each other to get their rhymes in - the session in D&D Studios must have been insane! Topping it off with the Redman sample from "Pick It Up" just seals the deal. This is a 12" well worth having but you can also find the track on the "Magnum Force" album.

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!

Episode 91 : Make Things Happen.

"Children of a lesser god when your melanin's got a tint."

- Pusha

I don't think I'm alone in being glad to see 2016 out of the door. We close out the year with some of the best tracks of the last twelve months mixed in with a bunch of older heat from the collection. Let's hope 2017 has some better days in store for us...


Ras Kass ft. Sean Price and General Steele : Paypal The Feature

From the recent "Intellectual Property" release comes this stomping tune (big up Felony on production) perfect for opening the episode, with the clever sampling of the late great Sean P's XXL "Show 'n' Off" freestyle for the extended hook. As Ras points out, they actually had done tracks together previously, but it did make for a funny line :) Ras has a solid verse here but I think Steele steals the show (no pun intended) with a ferocious sixteen.

Fakts One : Lost & Found

Went back to Fakts' "The Chop Shop" tape for a fitting instrumental, one I hope you enjoy as much as me. I had to do a little chopping myself to extend it long enough to speak over, so I hope the man himself doesn't mind!

HUG ft. Diversion Tactics : My Sound System

Surrey's Diversion Tactics do a fine job on the "Complexity Kills" EP of combining with HUG (who you may know from his work with J-Zone) to give us some no-frills Hip-Hop. I'd forgotten about this one until I took a browse through my vinyls in the new studio and was glad to have it turn up!

Black Moon : Pressure Iz Tight

"Total Eclipse" is the much-underappreciated third LP from Brooklyn's Black Moon, and there are a stack of quality cuts on there, including this one, a mainstay of my gym playlist :) Buckshot and 5ft are on a pure street flex on the mics here while Da Beatminerz add some low end to a classic Dramatics sample for the instrumental. One interesting production touch worth mentioning - check how the actual vocals are periodically scratched into place on the track. To do that, they'd have to take the accapella vocal recording, load it into Serato or something and then scratch and mix it over the instrumental in the correct locations; it's extra work, and it adds a certain extra energy that couldn't have been got any other way.

Akrobatik : Step It Up

Stomping tune from the "Absolute Value" LP - thanks to DJ A-Up for putting me up on this hyped-up banger from one of Boston's greatest MCs. Hezekiah's beat brings to mind a full-scale riot at an opera but never overpowers Ak, who is in full battle gear on this track. The cuts from DJ Jayceeoh just seal the deal.

Jigmastas : Magnetize

DJ Spinna with another ridiculous beat! Jigmastas returned this year after a long absence with the "Resurgence" album and they have not missed a beat. Kriminul buries it on both verses over the banging drums and trembling bassline, all topped off by the Rakim sample on the hook. Big tune!

J-Zone : Chemical (Remix Instrumental)

No-one but Zone has beats that sound quite like this. The keys, the bending bass, the bubbling background effects, and all the other elements come together unexpectedly but perfectly. For this track and many more classic heaters, you need to check the "The Headband Years" instrumental collection and just marvel at the creativity.

Camp Lo : Black Jesus

Can I count this as a Christmas record? This opening track from the "Ragtime Hightimes" LP is vintage Lo, with Geechi Suede and Sonny Cheeba trading fly slang over Ski's beat; sounds almost like a sample from a musical or something on the intro.

Tall Black Guy ft. Ozay Moore : Things Deeper Than My Skin

Tall Black Guy is back with his sophomore album "Let's Take A Trip" and it's a more than worthy follow-up to "8 Miles to Moenart". I've got a few favourites on there but for this episode I've picked the collaboration with Ozay Moore (the same pairing that produced the excellent "Mon Amie De'Troit"), where Ozay goes in-depth about race from his own perspective over TBGs spacey re-interpretation of Joe Jackson's "Stepping Out".

Children of Zeus ft. Caron Wheeler : U Alone (Remix)

Slowly but surely, Manchester's own Konny Kon and Tyler Daly are getting the respect they deserve and this track sees them link up with one of the greats from our own shores, Caron Wheeler of Soul II Soul. The swinging, lazily-timed drum pattern underpins the feel-good beat that gives plenty of space for all the vocalists to get busy with their individual expressions of devotion. Get the download while you can!

Flex : Vibes da Vida

Flex is a young Portuguese MC currently making his home in Manchester and he's made a smart move early hooking up with the Room 2 Records crew. I picked up his "Soul Food" EP from the tail end of this summer and it's definitely worth a listen! He links with New Haven's Maverick Soul on this one, who blesses him with some shoulder-slumping neo-soul-ish production.

Focus : Begin&End

You last heard Focus here on episode 85, but I really wanted to revisit the "Analog In A Digital World" album and bring out one of my favourite tracks. It starts off well, but it's the switch at 32:38 which lifts it up to an even higher level.

Pharaohe Monch ft. Erykah Badu : Hold On

Pharoahe Monch is one of our great writers and certainly when I consider male MCs, someone who I would think adept enough to handle this topic. Three well-crafted verses on misogynoir with the focus on one woman in particular, plus Erykah Badu giving us the intro, outro and the choruses. Ten years old in a few days, the "Desire" album is definitely one for the collection of true followers of the art of rhyme.

Paul Wall : Swangin In The Rain

Still doing at all these years after "Get Ya Mind Correct", plus his breakout work on "Still Tippin'" and his own "Sittin' Sidewayz", Paul Wall may have created another Houston classic with this opener from 2015's "slab god" album. Nothing groundbreaking thematically, but that's not what you come to him for - the car talk and flossing is what it's all about. Scoop DeVille (Kid Frost's son, which makes me feel hella old) uses some old Shalamar for the beat, and makes liberal use of the filters to take out top and bottom end along the way. Check how choppy and glitchy some of the sample triggering and playback is too - intentional I'm sure, and just keeps you that bit off-balance.

Pusha T and Jay Z : Drug Dealers Anonymous

Two coke rap mavens combine to spit drug bars on this June single release. For me, Pusha definitely has the better verse, but this track also stands out in a major way for its sampling and (in Jay's verse) baiting of the awful conservative "commentator" Tomi Lahren. For context, that quote was taken from a tirade against Beyonce's Superbowl 50 performance; not sure what her husband's past has to do with that, but there we go. Production comes from DJ Dahi, keeping it slow and low.

Cold 187um : Alive & Free

I can't work out whether this is one of those records that just I like, or if it's one that more people will catch onto! Very different to any of the Cold 187um/Big Hutch material we might have heard in the past, this tune is the closer on his "The Only Solution" concept album, and sees him going with a completely sung delivery over the instrumental of "Last Chance" by ABK. For what it's worth, I think this track is much better - I'd be interested to know how you all feel about it!

Jake One : Fie

Jake One is one of those artists with his own modern take on golden era production values, and his "#PrayerHandsEmoji" beat tape has him going with a single concept (gospel sampling) and running with it over twenty-four serious tracks. I love the ominous feel of this one with the vocal sample occasionally swelling up from the background, and the periodic double-speed hi-hat programming is a nice accent.

Terrace Martin : God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen

I've been meaning to play this for a long while - at least a year, but actually I think it may be two! It's a great take on a staple English Christmas carol, with a sax lead and allsorts going on with the synth bassline. You can get more jazzy Xmas flavour from Crenshaw's finest on his "Times" LP.

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!

Episode 90 : Hate & Love

"I've seen the streets... you're walking down."

- Tyler

"Power to the people and the beats"

- Chuck D

What a month. The result of the US Presidential election has the world in turmoil, and legions of hateful people now feel emboldened to act out in public - it feels like the Brexit result turned up way past 10. On a personal note, I had to relocate the whole podcast studio and music library, but committed to getting an episode out on time and have just about managed it; this month of all months, I couldn't let things go by without a musical comment.

RIP Sharon Jones and David Mancuso... all love.


Intelligent Hoodlum : Arrest The President

You didn't think I was going to let the events of this month go by without comment, did you? Taking it all the way back to 1990 for this hyped-up anthem from Intelligent Hoodlum's eponymous debut album. Marley Marl provides the uptempo soundtrack for the young Queensbridge native (just 19) to spray over. His own life was rough and you can easily feel that the content of the lyrics could come from witnessing these situations first-hand.

Strange Angel : La Chanteuse

A little number from a local group who've since gone on to do other things, most notably as the KJs - a lovely moody instrumental with atmospheric vocal accents from the artist now known as Vieka.

Brand Nubian : Concerto In X Minor

Another 1990 album for this cut, the Brand Nubian debut "One For All". Derek X (now Sadat X) comes to the fore to man the mic solo for this one; sadly, the content is as relevant today as it was back them. The names may change, but the shame remains the same. On the sonic side, listen for DJ Alamo's occasional scratched contributions during the verses, completing Derek's phrases or adding a co-sign - more of that would be welcome in the present day!

Janelle Monae : Locked Inside

If you just let this one drift by you, you might confuse it for a standard love song, but listen carefully to the lyrics and you'll appreciate how well it fits into the theme for the month. Musicially, I love the change-up that you first hear twenty-four bars in and then later on in the track. Get this one on the "The ArchAndroid" album.

Clear Soul Forces : Solar Heat

Rarely do you hear MCs flowing at these kinds of speeds nowadays, but these Detroit boys are up to the challenge! I had to give it up and buy the "Gold PP7s" album after hearing this, because the skills are just undeniable. Ilajide has you thinking at first you're getting some jazzy lounge music before hitting you in the face repeatedly with the kick drum that drives the beat below the ridiculous verses. If you think there's no good Hip-Hop these days, you aren't paying attention :)

Twenty One Pilots : Fairly Local

The lead single from the 2015 album "Blurryface", my first experience with this track was a few seconds played on Bomani Jones' "The Right Time" podcast coming back from an ad break. I can't remember if I searched the lyrics or used Soundhound, but I just had to find out what it was! Ohio's Twenty One Pilots are a duo who are pretty fluid genre-wise but definitely have some Hip-Hop influence. The lead vocalist, Tyler Joseph, has an interesting tone and I think it's the combination of that on the hook and the cold, angular beat that makes for a winning combination.

Zero 7 : All Of Us

Probably the last time we go to the "Yeah Ghost" album, this was just an instrumental I realised lined up really well with the previous track; the slow build makes for a nice long blend - despite the differing time signatures.

A Tribe Called Quest : Dis Generation

After eighteen years, A Tribe Called Quest return with a new LP "We got it drom Here...Thank You 4 Your service" - and sadly, their last, with Phife passing away before this was completed. This album is no poor relation though, and it's absolutely one of the releases of the year. I could have chosen any number of tracks to be included here, but this was my early favourite so I decided to stay with it. It features all the original members of Tribe, including Jarobi, and features Busta Rhymes, who broke out all those years ago on "Scenario" and comes back with fire in the belly on this album. Extra points for the sample of Musical Youth's "Pass The Dutchie" for the hook!

Common ft. Bilal : Letter To The Free

I actually wanted to play this last month, as it's played at the end of Ava DuVernay's masterful documentary "13th", but I just couldn't find a copy anywhere. As it turns out, it's on Common's new "Black America Again" album, and with the events of the last month I think it's just as apt here; Trump and his campaign slogan get an explicit mention in the second verse. Bilal contributes vocals to the chorus, and the piano work on the Karriem Riggins production is courtesy of Robert Glasper. The whole team did a great live performance of this at The White House - worth listening to. I did notice that not only did they have to take out the one curse, but also the names of an ex-president and the one to come...

Robert Glasper Experiment : This Is Not Fear

This song from the excellent new "ArtScience" album starts off with a high-energy jazz workout, so we join in about halfway through to bridge to the next track; I love the head-nod vibe though, so it's worth playing in its own right even though it's so short.

A Tribe Called Quest : Can I Kick It?

With some of the new Tribe on this month's show, I thought it might be worth playing the track that most of us first heard them on! This was actually the third single from their debut "People's Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm", but it was the first to break out on the charts to such an extent that I heard it on UK radio. That bassline sample from Lou Reed's "Walk on the Wild Side" is the most recognisable element of the track, but also the one responsible for Tribe not seeing a penny from it to this day!

Jay-Z : 22 Twos

Let me just get this out of the way; it should really be "22 Toos". Actually, I think there was a "to" in there, so "21 Toos and a To".

I couldn't pass up the chance to blend the start of this track into the end of "Can I Kick It?" :) We go all the way back to Jay-Z's debut "Reasonable Doubt" for a street lyrical workout over a beat from Ski.

[Alchemist] Mobb Deep, Big Noyd, Bars N Hooks, & Don Alon : More Like Us (Instrumental)

Disco flavour on this Queensbridge 12" - you could probably get away with playing this Alchemist instrumental as a dance or bar with no-one having an inkling of the street origin of the main record. I may or may not have done this :)

Slick Rick : I Own America (Part 1)

I somehow managed to forget about this one even though it was a favourite when "The Art Of Storytelling" was released! DJ Clark Kent and Ty Fyffe keep it basic and still danceable on the beat and Rick is 100% on his "The Ruler" persona with the lyrics - so much so, that if you look closely at the album cover, you can see that the words he's writing are some of those from this track. "Even your kids tell you that you ain't sh!t to Slick Rick"? Oooh... One thing he hopefully won't have to worry about is deportation - after years of legal trouble, he finally got his US citizenship this year!

Public Enemy : Hazy Shade Of Criminal

"Take a piece of America back, but who had it first?" Just one of the on-point lines from Chuck D on this under-appreciated but quality single from "Greatest Misses" (Chuck didn't want to do a "greatest hits" collection, as he felt it signalled falling off/retirement)! This is a solid and still-relevant piece on how wealth and race can be the deciding factors on whether your conduct is considered to be criminal, and it's pleasantly close in sound to their sample-heavy heyday, with the Ultramagnetic-sampling beat being the kind of thing only Chuck could dominate.

Wu-Tang Clan : Uzi (Pinky Ring)

I remember when this came out ahead of the "Iron Flag" album, some critics had negative stuff to say. Those people were wrong. The Wu go back to basics with everyone (except ODB) jumping on this banging track, and as it was in the beginning (on "Protect Ya Neck"), GZA comes in at the end to clean up.

Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings : What Have You Done For Me Lately?

It would be very easy to lead you wrong here for the laughs, but I'll do no such thing :) This classic-sounding funky soul record is in fact a relatively recent recording from Sharon Jones' 2002 debut "Dap Dippin' with Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings", and as such is actually a cover of Janet Jackson's track of the same name! Sharon Jones, who sadly passed away this month at just 60, spent years working at hard jobs and doing session vocals on the side until finally getting her break and releasing her first solo record at the age of 40. She was an electric performer who some of us in Manchester were lucky enough to see grace the city with one of her legendary shows - she threw down like the soul greats of many years before her! May she rest peacefully.

J-Zone : Clubba Lang (Instrumental)

From J's "Fish-N-Grits" LP, you get an instrumental towards the end that speaks to both his recorded origins as a sampling wizard (and bassist) and his later work as a man that can get busy on the drums in a major way. It's great to see him recording again.

Earth, Wind, & Fire : That's The Way Of The World

Entering the three-song selection for David Mancuso with the title track from EWF's sixth album (and in fact, the soundtrack to a film of the same name which they were in!) Despite this, it's probably not one of their best-known tracks but it's a nice laid-back number to start things off.

Stevie Wonder : As

One of the classic Stevie songs, an ode to everlasting love, from one of the greatest albums of all time, "Songs In The Key Of Life". That's a record you absolutely must have in your collection; the National Recording Registry at the Library of Congress agree with me on that one!

Ashford & Simpson : Stay Free

We finish with a record that was not just big at The Loft but also at the legendary Paradise Garage club (the one from which the term "garage music" comes). Nickolas Ashford & Valerie Simpson were red-hot songwriters for Motown who wrote classics like "Ain't No Mountain High Enough", "You're All I Need To Get By" and many more before striking out as artists themselves (oh, and marrying). This 1979 album title track has some of the disco vibe to it, but in the good way, the soulful way. A beautiful track and message to end the month.

Please remember to support the artists you like! The purpose of putting the podcast out and providing the full tracklist is to try and give some light, so do use the songs on each episode as a starting point to search out more material. If you have Spotify in your country it's a great way to explore, but otherwise there's always Youtube and the like. Seeing your favourite artists live is the best way to put money in their pockets, and buy the vinyl/CDs/downloads of the stuff you like the most!

All content Air Adam Productions