Saturday, October 31, 2009

2 Busy Saying Yeah - Disco Dance House Party!

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This week I play a mix of dance music that kicks off with late 70s/early 80s disco, funk and soul, shifts into some current stuff (including new tracks from the homeboy DJ Eleven and the folks at Solid Bump!) and then loops back around to a few classic favorites. No talking, no drops, just music for dancing. The tracks I play are these:

1. Too Sweet: You’ve Got to Find Yourself
2. Idris Muhammed: Could Heaven Ever Be Like This
3. Candido: Thousand Finger Man
4. Kenix feat. Bobby Youngblood: There’s Never Been No One Like You
5. GQ: This Happy Feeling
6. Tony Silvester & the New Ingredient: Cosmic Lady
7. Sir Bentley: Street Shuffle
8. One Way: Music
9. Radiance: You’re My Number One [Dub version]
10. George Clinton: One Fun at a Time
11. Aaron Broomfield: Polyphase
12. Casper: Casper’s Groovy Ghost Show
13. Alton McClain & Destiny: It Must Be Love
14. Cloud One: Don’t Let This Rainbow Pass Me By
15. Final Edition: I Can Do It (Anyway You Want It)
16. Duck Sauce: aNYway
17. Laberge: We Don’t Know
18. DJ Eleven: Dance Our Way
19. Domu: Worldwide [Solid Groove’s Wednesday at Midnight mix]
20. Ultramagnetic MC’s: Poppa Large [Matthew Africa’s Switch RMX]
21. Dan the Automator: Rapper’s Delight [Tepr RMX] feat. Casual & Chali 2na
22. Malente: I Like It [Riva Starr Snatch! RMX]
23. The Juan Maclean: Happy House [Chateau Flight RMX]
24. Soul Central: In-ten-city
25. Fred Falke: Back to Stay
26. SoulPhiction & Move D: The Limelight [Trusme RMX]
27. Status IV: You Ain’t Really Down [Jazzanova RMX]
28. The Rolling Stones: Under My Thumb [Todd Terje dub]
29. U-Tern: Without You
30. Toby Tobias: In Your Eyes [Tensnake RMX]
31. Dayton: We Can’t Miss
32. Heaven & Earth: I Really Love You
33. Starpoint: Don’t Leave Me

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Friday, October 30, 2009

Thriller in... L.A.

Just in time for Halloween, the homeboy DJ Day and Exile got busy with "Thriller" last night at the Root Down in LA:

Their live routines are incredible.

Here's another from a few months back in which they go in on D-Train's "You're the One for Me":

Incidentally, Exile's most recent album, Radio, is very good. The concept is wild-- he made an entire album out of sounds sampled from the radio (voices, static, buzz, tones, instruments, etc.)-- and the execution is even better. I prefer it to a lot of the other more-hyped dublab stuff from L.A.

He also produced the entirety of Fashawn's Boy Meets World, which I bought the other day but haven't got around to digesting yet. Fashawn's free Alchemist-produced mixtape was pretty enjoyable (Leon Ware! Jackson Sisters! Sammy Nestico! etc.!).

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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Tried by 12"s

A few months ago my friends over at Southern Hospitality approached me about contributing to their Twelve Twelves series, a weekly showcase of live, vinyl-only mixes, each comprised of 12 12" singles.

I said "yes" right away but it took me a while to actually get something together-- I pulled a lot of records and then wrestled with what to include, before settling on twelve songs spanning 1987-2007. (Unless I'm mistaken, I've bought exactly two new rap 12"s in the past 2 years-- the one I put in the mix and this.) About half of the mix is from the Bay Area and about half of it sounds like "Funky Worm" and about 98% of it is great rap music.

In keeping with Southern Hospitality's steez I won't provide a track listing, just a picture with the covers of the 12"s. (Scanning the 8 previous installments I can say my contribution is by far the least visually interesting one; the downside of getting lots of free 12"s in the 90s is owning lots of generic sleeves instead of picture sleeves.)

You can get the mix free here. While there, check out other installments in the series from folks like DJ Ayres, Rob Breezy, DJ Dub and Superix. You also ought to soak up some of the great new selections they feature from Huntsville, the Bay Area and elsewhere.

Oh, and, if this mix had been done for a series called Thirteen Twelves, it would have ended with this:

24/7: "24/7" (?, 1998)

Flipping "Assembly Line" or "Dance to the Drummer's Beat" is pretty much gonna make me love any record. Flipping both at the same time with the latter on slow? Game over.

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Monday, October 26, 2009

Visions of paradise

Benny Johnson: "Visions of Paradise" (Perception, 1973)

This is one of those LPs that has kicked around my house for 10+ years that I never particularly liked but held onto for some reason. I knew it was sought-after but its value never really made sense to me. Somehow it suddenly sounds great today.


Wednesday, October 21, 2009

2 Busy Saying Yeah - new rap music!

For the latest installment of 2 Busy Saying Yeah I tried to catch up with a backlog of new rap music I've been listening to. People whine about where rap is now but if you pay attention there's a lot that's worthwhile. In this show I play some of my current favorites plus a couple older things that wormed their way into the mix. Oh, also, I talk a lot more than I have been doing lately.

1. Big Boi: Shine Blockas feat. Gucci Mane
2. Illie: Oh Noo
3. Phat Mob: Wrong Number
4. Raekwon: Ason Jones
5. Spank Pops: Beautiful Noise
6. Dizzee Rascal: Chillin' Wiv Da Man Dem
7. Frank Nitt: L.O.V.E. feat. DJ Quik & J. Black
8. Beanie Sigel: Don't Stop feat. Snoop Dogg
9. People Under the Stairs: Trippin' at the Disco [DJ Day RMX]
10. Kurupt: I'm One feat. Terrace Martin
11. Dam Funk: Hood Pass Intact
12. Meek Mill: Make 'Em Say
13. 5th Ward Weebie: Bend It Ova
14. Peedi Crakk: Smile (You Mad)
15. The Game: I'm So Wavy
16. Ghostface Killah: Guest House feat. Fabolous
17. G-Side: Be There
18. DJ Cunta: Bands on My Wrist
19. Rudi Deville: Yea Tall
20. SwagZilla & Stackamil: Wut2dayiz?
21. Mr. Marcellus: Think It Over feat. ST 2 Lettaz
22. Stanza: Amilliondollars
23. Big Boi: Fo Yo Sorrows feat. Too $hort & George Clinton
24. Remi: Phone Codes
25. Lil King: Bet She Can't Do It
26. Jay Electronica: Exhibit A (Transformations)
27. Mistah F.A.B.: Follow Me
28. Rhymefest: Angry Black Man feat. Lil Jon
29. Mac Meezy: New Boy (Cool Kid Flow)
30. Roach Gigz: Gassin' Em
31. Sam Bostic: Get Away feat. E-40

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Saturday, October 17, 2009

They can't disable the power of my label

I skipped Sunday's VH1 Hip Honors show but understand there was a lot of hoopla about Def Jam's 25th anniversary. Today I was looking at this commemoration of Def Jam's 10th anniversary and getting misty:

This slipmat commemorates so many timeless Def Jam artists: 116, Mokenstef, Code 3, Da 5 Footaz, DG, Hostyle, Kali Ranks, Dos of Soul, Mel-Low, Shug, Josiah, and Interstate to name just some of the more prominent ones. All of them made records that changed each and every one of our lives forever. Thanks for the memories, Def Jam-- you're the best.


Friday, October 16, 2009

On the south side

A few months ago I saw this amazing trailer over at Soulsides:

I pre-ordered with the quickness and today the mailman brought me this:

Numero Group is easily one of the best labels reissuing music-- their care in every element of their releases, from research, to licensing, to packaging is astounding-- but Light: On the South Side is a first for them, a book of photographs with a companion album. The book contains a series of black and white pictures taken by Michael L. Abramson in the nightclubs on the South side of Chicago between 1975 and 1977. The photos are amazing and evocative, capturing all the beauty and ugliness, excitement and boredom, exultation and desperation of too many nights out.

The companion album (plus bonus 45 with the first 1000 orders) is a perfect complement, collecting 18 slices of funky blues. As much great soul, funk and jazz as Chicago produced in the 60s and 70s, it was at heart a blues town and had you been hanging out at Perv's House, Pepper's Hideout, The High Chaparral, The Patio Lounge, or The Showcase Lounge while Abramson was snapping photos, odds are this is the sound you would have heard. The Numero Group's selections are predictably great. Sound clips and ordering details are here.

Here's a track that wouldn't have been out of place:

Singing Sam & the Sparks: "Daybreak" (Honey, 197?)

I don't have much info on this one aside from the fact that Singing Sam was Sam Chatman, who according to Robert Pruter and them, was a veteran of the Chicago scene.

Oh, and, this has nothing to do with the Numero Group comp but to this day I can't see the words "south side" without hearing this in my head.

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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Happy music

I'd been on a little bit of a Tommy Stewart jag lately-- I put two of his productions on my recent Soulful Disco mix-- so when I saw that there was a new compilation of his productions, I had to cop it:

Tommy Stewart is an Atlanta musician, producer and arranger. He cut one album under his own name, 1976's Bump and Hustle Music, as well as a couple LPs that were largely his work, like the Spirit of Atlanta's 1973 The Burning of Atlanta and 1979's Musica Negra. He also cut an album by The Counts' frontman Mose Davis and one-off singles by a range of relatively anonymous acts: Cream de Coco, Mad Dog Fire Department, 3rd World Band, the Final Approach, etc.

I love Stewart's productions for the way they meld soul and jazz harmonies with the light rhythmic pulse of disco, yet remain funky. Make Happy Music collects three songs from Bump and Hustle Music, one from The Burning of Atlanta and one from Musica Negra, plus nine other Stewart-produced tracks. The sound quality is good and it looks as though the compilers properly licensed the music. At the very least, they went to the trouble of tracking down Stewart and business partner Marlin McNichols to interview them for some fairly informative liner notes.

Here are a couple of Stewart tracks that aren't featured on Make Happy Music:

The Spirit of Atlanta: "Freddie Is Alive & Well" (Buddah, 1973)

Masheen: "Get Up and Get Down" (G-K, 197?)

The intro is a little corny to me, but the song's a grower. I love the breakdown that starts around 3:30 in.

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Monday, October 12, 2009


Just when I thought I was done with gangsta rap for a little while, I opened my mailbox to find this bomb:

Sac: Nine One Classix is the latest mix from r8r & L-Wood, who previously did a great San Francisco mix that I posted about, as well as a few I didn't (i.e., two mix CDs devoted to Northern Cali cassette-only rap and one collecting Kansas City rap).

Sacramento occupies a weird position in relation to the Bay Area rap scene. It's far enough from the Bay to seem really remote (90 minutes from SF and Oakland, about 60 minutes from Vallejo), but also close enough to share a lot of similarities and connections. As someone put it before, Sacramento might not be the Bay, but it's also not not the Bay.

Bay Area mobb music heavily influenced the sound of 90s Sacramento rap-- there are lots of slow tempos, sinister synthesizer basslines, some 80s R&B interpolations and very little sampling-- but lyrically, Sacramento rap seems a little darker. There's more shooting, less pimping and partying.

The mix seems really comprehensive. It's got tracks from Sac's bigger names, like Brotha Lynch Hung, C-Bo, Marvaless & X-Raided, but also 60 tracks from 58 other artists, almost all of whom were new to me. Even so, the selections are high quality throughout. It's the kind of mix that makes me a little nuts because I wind up wondering "if someone can pull together this much good stuff I've never heard from just this one little micro-genre, how much other great music is out there that I will never hear?"

Here are two excerpts from the mix:

r8r & L-Wood: Sac: Nine One Classix Disc 1 Sampler (Double J Promotions, 2009)

r8r & L-Wood: Sac: Nine One Classix Disc 2 Sampler (Double J Promotions, 2009)

You can also download both excerpts in a zip here. Ordering details on this and their great San Francisco mix are below:

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Saturday, October 10, 2009


This was on repeat much of today:

The Conscious Daughters: "Gamers" (Priority, 1996)

I think people mostly remember Conscious Daughters for "Fonky Expedition", but I always liked this one better. Mike Mosley was killing it in those days and this is one of my favorite beats that he did. This song and the Gamers album are in print, so I won't post a file of the regular version. This remix is not, so I will:

The Conscious Daughters: "Gamers" [Rick Rock Eerie Attic Mix] (Priority, 1996)

I'm pretty sure "Gamers" is the only Bay Area rap single ever to come out on double vinyl. It also had remixes from C-Funk and T-Mor, but Rick Rock's remix was a stand-out for me. He's enormously versatile, but this still trips me out because its so NYC jazz-rap-ish.

Bonus: The electronic press kit for the Gamers album:

This video feels like a total time capsule of my life in the mid-90s: Telegraph Ave. record stores (Leopold's R.I.P.!), Ya Mama's Cafe, Lake Merritt, etc. Other highlights: Mike Mosley on camera and the Conscious Daughters' rap purchase recommendations (Group Home! Goodie M.O.B!).

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Tuesday, October 6, 2009

It's the mickey fickey remix

My folks from the NYC DJ crew the Rub are about to release the third volume of their internet-platinum series, It's the Motherfucking Remix. They've been leaking songs from the project at a rate of one a day over at the Rub website and they just posted one I did.

I combined two records I love: the Ultramagnetic MCs' "Poppa Large" and Switch's "A Bit Patchy". Neither needs a bit of improving but I smushed them together because, well, that's how DJs do in the 2000 decade. I'm told it's been getting some run from the homies DJ Eleven and DJ mOma, among others. Now you can enjoy it, too.

Ultramagnetic MCs: "Poppa Large" (Matthew Africa's Patchy RMX) (2009)

You can download the track here.

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Saturday, October 3, 2009

Mr. Magic, R.I.P.

Another week, another major DJ passes. Wow.

John Rivas a/k/a Mr. Magic a/k/a Sir Juice was the first air personality to host a rap show on commercial radio, NYC's WBLS. If Magic hadn't been the first, someone else probably would have had that distinction, but his position and personality made him one of the defining figures in '80s rap music. He broke a ton of records, put on people like Marley Marl and Mr. Cee and set off some major beefs.

For people like me who lived outside the Tri-state area, he was mainly known for the Profile label Mr. Magic's Rap Attack compilations he put out and the many records that referenced him. This is a dub version of the first to do so:

Whodini: "It's All in Mr. Magic's Wand" (Jive, 1982)

Without Whodini's rapping, this is more or less a Thomas Dolby record-- he wrote, produced and played it. I'm not really a fan (sorry, Cosmo!), but I love the clap breakdowns and the Mr. Magic drop that starts off this version.

For folks who want to hear Mr. Magic in action, Will C did a remarkable series of features on Mr. Magic this April that included some classic radio shows.

There have also been some cool tributes to Magic. I caught a little bit of Marley Marl mixing live yesterday on WBLS ("Symphony" acapella, woot!). Mr. Cee also did a good tribute you can DL here.

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Friday, October 2, 2009

2 Busy Saying Yeah - Oakland rap special with DJ Fresh

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This week I pay tribute to my city, playing an hour of the best new rap music out of Oakland and talking with Oakland representer DJ Fresh.

DJ Fresh was recently named West Coast Mixtape DJ of the Year on the strength of his excellent Tonite Show series of artist-themed albums. We talk about his incredible work ethic, his background as a top-ranked turntablist and DJ for Nas and upcoming projects including installments of the Tonite Show with Messy Marv, San Quinn and Raekwon. Also, we play songs from the brand-new Tonite Show album and PTB label boss J-Moe offers some thoughts on why Bay rappers can't separate the streets from business and describes D-Lo performing "No Hoe" at an Oakland middle school (!).

The show kicks off with a mix of some of the best of current Oakland rap from all styles: turf raps, political raps, cupcake raps, undie raps, you name it:

1. Philthy Rich: Straight from Oakland feat. Ros, J-Stalin, Stevie Joe, Kaz Kyzah, Shady Nate, Lil Blood, Eddie Projex, Beeda Weeda, Keak Da Sneak & Mistah F.A.B.
2. Lyrics Born: Block Bots feat. Trackademicks & Clyde Carson
3. Shady Nate: Head Doctor
4. Sleepy D: Sleepy Fuckin’ D
5. Stevie Joe: 80s Baby
6. D-Lo: You Played Me feat. Rico
7. Clyde Carson: Take It to the Hotel feat. R. Kelly
8. J-Stalin: Millionaire Status
9. Kaz Kyzah: Freeway
10. Beeda Weeda: You Don’t Hear My Tummy
11. Shady Nate: Jug feat. J-Stalin, X.O. & Gary Hawkins
12. Jern Eye: Blowin’ Up feat. Roc C
13. Brwn Bflo: Powerful People
14. Bicasso: Warz Over feat. Saafir
15. Crown City Rockers: Forever Song
16. Vell4Short: Shirts & Baggy Pants
17. The Grouch & Eligh: Say G&E!
18. StreetMedia: Push
19. Mayne Mannish: Flight to Boston
20. Casual: Town Bound
21. Guce & J-Stalin: Another Quelo
22. League510: To the Beat [Trackademicks RMX]

Three things:

I want to give a big shout to Nation of Thizzlam, 38th Notes and Southern Hospitality, all of which stay up on Oakland rap. I first heard many of the songs on those blogs, so credit is due.

I know I messed up by leaving out some Oakland rappers that belong in there (Zion I, Mistah F.A.B., etc.) and including a Berkeley rapper that doesn't (Lyrics Born), but it's due to my general unfocused-ness, not hate. I tried to make the mix as comprehensive as I could but I'm sure there's a lot of great stuff I don't know or just spaced on.

Big shout to my dude XJ, who figured out how to get me mp3s for two of the highlights of the mix, Mayne Mannish's "Flight to Boston" and Casual's "Town Bound".

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