Saturday 18 December 2021

DJ MK - Bastard Breaks Vol 6 (2021)

Man like MK returns with the 6th volume of his in-demand Bastard Breaks series. You can cop a digital copy direct from his Bandcamp. He's also got limited edition cassette copies available if you're quick. Contact him at for details.

Monday 6 December 2021

DJ Step One - mid 90s hip hop mix

1 hour, 20 tunes. That 95-96 head nod era when I was picking up all sorts of great records in Handspun and Mr Bongo. Probably my favourite era of rap music. This stuff always sounds good when winter hits too.

Jigmastas - Beyond Real (remix)
Rawcotiks - Hardcore Hip Hop
Nine - Lyin King
Soul Kid Klik - Mortal Kombat
KRS One - Wanna Be Emceez
Blahzay Blahzay ft Smoothe, Trigga & La The Darkman - Danger pt II
Rakim - Shades Of Black
De La Soul - Stakes Is High
Shazam X - Down For The Crown
Jemini The Gifted One - Brooklyn Kids
Tragedy ft CNN & Mobb Deep - LA, LA (Iraq mix)
Jamal - Fades Em All (Pete Rock remix)
Ras Kass - Soul On Ice (Diamond D remix)
La The Darkman - I Want It All
Ill Al Skratch - Don't Shut Down On A Player
Raekwon & Ghostface Killah - Rainy Dayz (remix)
Mic Geronimo ft Royal Flush & OC - Men vs Many
Jay Z - Dead Presidents
Nas - The World Is Yours (Q Tip remix)
AZ - Your World Don't Stop (original version)

Friday 8 October 2021

Redman, Method Man & D'Angelo on the Radio 1 Rap Show (1999)

On this day back in the 1-9-9-9, Redman and Method Man are in the house with Westwood to promote the Blackout album, kick a freestyle, and we even get an impromptu DJ set from Redman (presumably with Tim's records). On top of that D'Angelo stops by for an interview right at the end of the show.  What more do you want?

Friday 17 September 2021

KRS ONE, Fat Joe & Lord Finesse live at Rocksteady Park (1993)

This is something that I posted way back in 2009, except then it was by way of a hissy tape rip recorded off a Westwood show in 1995, and ripped to 128kbps. What we have here is the full 15 minutes in considerably better quality taken from the vinyl pressing (it's part 2 of 4 - the sleeves fit together to make a complete graf piece).
It's 1993 in Rocksteady Park for the annual jam and KRS is on stage with Willie D (the BDP one), Mad Lion, Fat Joe, Grim Reaper (aka MF Grimm) and Lord Finesse. Slap Them Up, Black Cop, Sound Of Da Police and Shoot To Kill get an airing. Joe and Grim kick a freestyle (Joe does his verse off Stricktly Roots - Beg No Friends), but this set gained notoriety for Finesse's superb acapella dis of Lords Of The Underground, which has always been a personal favourite of mine, so it was great to finally get a full uncut version in good quality.

Tuesday 7 September 2021

The Best of The LOX mixed by DJ Step One

Blogspot for hustlers, I'm back motherf**kers! Got some new things to post and hopefully some tapes coming into my possession in the near future so lets see if I can get back to some regular updates. In the mean time you can enjoy this LOX mix I put together. It's not exactly a Best Of as such, but their catalogue as a group and solo artists is so huge that I managed just over an hour without even reaching for Benjamins, Why, Money Power Respect and a bunch of tracks they performed at the recent Verzuz evisceration of Dipset. That obviously inspired this but I've had pretty much always something LOX related in rotation since I heard You'll See on the Bad Boy Volume 3 tape back in '96. More often than not it's been a Jadakiss freestyle or guest verse but it's impressive that any rap crew can maintain that level of output for so long. There's definitely some notable omissions, and I was a bit pissed off I forgot to include Broken Safety so maybe I'll do a part 2 at some point.


The LOX - Wild Out (blend)
D Block - Take Everything (original version)
Styles P ft Pharoahe Monch - The Life
Sheek Louch - Goin Be Some Shit
Jadakiss - Who Shot Ya freestyle
Jadakiss - Kiss Of Death
The LOX - Fuck You (blend)
D Block - Good Times (remix)
Jadakiss - Live in Philly
Jadakiss - Beanie Sigel Dis
The LOX - None Of Y'all Better
The LOX & Black Rob - Chain Gang
Sheek & Jadakiss - Kiss Your Ass Goodbye (remix)
The LOX - Dirty Ryders
Jadakiss - 40 Bars Of Terror
Jadakiss - Incarcerated Scarfaces freestyle
D Block - 2 Gunz Up
DMX & The LOX - Get At Me Dog freestyle
The LOX - Ryde Or Die Bitch (blend)
Pete Rock ft Styles P & Sheek - 914
Kasino ft The LOX - Men Of Respect
The LOX & Black Rob - Can I Live
The LOX - Recognize
Jadakiss & Styles P - The People freestyle
Styles P, Jadakiss & Eve - We Gonna Make It (remix)

I'm still getting used to a new mixer and feeling a bit rusty DJ wise so this isn't flawless but it's decent enough and the selection more than carries it. I banged it out in 1 take and didn't realy overthink or plan the tracklist so it turned out well all things considered.

Sunday 9 May 2021

Who Say Reload mixed by DJ Aphrodite


 2 months ago my book Who Say Reload was published. It was really well received and I've had lots of nice comments and positive feedback. It actually sold out faster than expected (within about 2 weeks) but it's finally back in stock after some brexit related nonsense at UK customs that delayed things for a bit. For promo push #2 none other than Aphrodite has put together a 3 part mix using all the tunes featured in the book. Part 1 is below and part 2 and 3 will be following over the next week or so...  

Lennie De Ice - We Are I.E
Ragga Twins - Spliff Head
A Guy Called Gerald - 28 Gun Bad Boy
LTJ Bukem - Demon's Theme
Metal Heads - Terminator
Nookie - Shining In Da Darkness
Omni Trio - Renegade Snares (Foul Play remix)
Ray Keith - Terrorist
DJ Crystl - Let It Roll
Foul Play - Open Your Mind (original & remix)
Peshay - Vocal Tune
Peshay - Piano Tune
T Power vs MK Ultra - Mutant Jazz

Having Aphrodite do the mix for me was quite a big deal as when I first started learning to mix and buying drum n bass on vinyl I was hunting down pretty much everything with his name on it, so it was great having him included in Who Say Reload. Having been responsible for the hardcore classic Some Justice in the early 90s, and the massive Calling All The People (as A-Zone) in 1994, he really nailed the hip hop based jump-up D&B style that was big around 96-98 and alongside everything he was putting out on his own Aphrodite Recordings and Urban Takeover label he was killing it with the remixes. The Jungle Brothers, Blackstreet and Luniz ones remain personal favourites to this day.

Once all the work for the book has settled down a bit I do intend to resume normal service on OB4ZL, although that might be dependent on there being more hours in the day than the current 24. I'll be updating the Who Say Reload blog occasionally in the meantime. If you're in the London area at the end of May we have a free launch party at Signature Brewery in E8. Limited spaces as the venue has restricted capacity due to covid etc etc but pass through and say hello if you can.

Thursday 15 April 2021

Radio 1 Rap Show 15.04.00 with Souls Of Mischief

Here's a full 3 hours of Westwood on this date 21 (!) years ago. A strange combo of guests as before Souls of Mischief pass through Prince Naseem is in the house. Shame the latter gets a bit more airtime than the Souls but we still get a freestyle from them at the end. Tracklist below

Saturday 10 April 2021

DMX live in concert (1998)

RIP Earl. This is taken from a Westwood show in October '99 but the tracks are all circa Its Dark and Hell Is Hot. I think this is in New York and it sounds like Big Kap introducing him at the start. The crowd are hyped for this and X run's through a 25 minute set with all his early bangers and brings out The LOX for Money Power Respect and Redman and Method Man for 4,3,2,1. I never saw him live but he sounds like a great performer. If you somehow still haven't seen the video of him at Woodstock '99 go find that.

If you're in the mood for more DMX today, go back and check this tape I posted back in 2016 with a bunch of freestyles from 1996.  

There's also this tape of him guesting on Westwood's show in June 2000

It looks like Black Rob is in a bad way too, let's hope he pulls through. This remix of Mic Geronimo's track featuring Rob and X is dope and somewhat slept on.

Tuesday 6 April 2021

Cipha Sounds on Hot 97 Throwback at Noon (2007)

Cipha Sounds with the classic selection on Hot 97's Throwback at Noon slot back in 2007...

Organized Konfusion – Stress 
GP Wu – Black On Black Crime 
Wu Tang Clan – Tearz 
Cocoa Brovaz ft Raekwon – Black Trump 
Styles P ft Pharoahe Monch – The Life 
Non Phixion – No Tomorrow 
Tragedy ft CNN & Mobb Deep – LA, LA 
DITC – The Enemy 
Gang Starr – All 4 The Cash 
Blackstar – Re:Definition 
Camp Lo – Luchini 
Jay Z – In My Lifetime 
Smooth Da Hustler – Broken Language 
Doo Wop – Da Bouncemaster 
Saukrates – Father Time 
Royal Flush – Worldwide 
Bash Ton – More Cheese 
Mos Def ft Ghostface – Ms Fat Booty part 2 
The Roots – The Lesson pt 1 
Wu Tang Clan – Wu Gambinos 
Natural Elements – Live It Up part 2 
Indelible MCs – The Fire In Which You Burn

Thursday 1 April 2021

DJ DS Goes Back to School (5th year: 1990)

People on my Twitter TL stay busy dropping mixes. DJ DS with the 1990 selection...

Tuesday 30 March 2021

I Am...NasLib

Man like Jimmy Green comes through with a (depending on your outlook, much needed) reworking of Nas' I Am album using beats by Madlib. Sounds dope. I feel like people used to do things like this quite a lot years ago but then ran out of acapellas to use as they don't seem to be released or leaked like they used to. DJs need some new vocals to work with!

Monday 29 March 2021

Rob Pursey - Boomin In Ya Jeep parts 1 & 2

Southern Hospitality's Rob Pursey drops 2 dope mixes back to back. These are about as OB4ZL friendly as it gets...
Make sure you check out the rest of the mixes on Southern Hospitality's Mixcloud. Some quality stuff on there.

Wednesday 24 March 2021

Tape Kingz #10: King Most

Staying out west for TK #10 (and the last one for now), San Francisco's King Most comes through to drop his top 3. You might know him for his Opening Set podcast, or his dope redirections of new and classic hip hop, R&B and soul joints, which are well worth checking out, as are his 45s if you're into copping that kind of stuff on vinyl. He's also been holding it down on Twitch in recent times. Get to know.

DJ Spinbad & JS-One - Cold Cuts Remixes (1997) This is pure King Most DNA right here. It was maybe the first time I was shown the full possibilities of what a blend tape can be: the DJ can now be the producer as well as the selector. JS-One & Spinbad dropped new choruses of precise scratches and tracks with multiple changes throughout the 90 mins of intricacy. I revisited this after Spinbad's passing and it still was enjoyable. What impressed me even more was realizing how lo-fi and basic the technology was at the time this made. Though what was used to make this mix is now obsolete, the entire project is as polished as what comes out of laptops today. 

DJ Babu vs Kankick - Comprehension (1998)

While Spinbad & JS-ONE were patching together entire verses and beats, Babu and Kan Kick were in the trade of repurposing seconds of obscurities and now-classic hip-hop anthems. The result is an entire tape that is still a standard of how cut-and-paste and bedroom beats can sound. Babu's side treats the listener to a run of jazz-funk, turntablism, and the finest ode to Sucker DJs a 1996 Fostex tape recorder can yield. Extra points for unearthing samples that were as rare as any golden-era NYC beatsmith. And speaking of producers like Pete Rock or The Beatnuts, Kankick's side of beats elicits the same head nodding of a Brooklyn studio session but with the ease of a Cali Summer and the haziness of then-crew member: Madlib. A lifetime later, I still would love these instrumentals on vinyl. 

 DJ Zeph & Imperial - Breakbuilders

Though Babu, Spinbad et. al flexed their talents in a pre-recorded mindset, DJ Zeph and Imperial went live on four-turntables and delivered a mix that is as precise. Recording the perfect live mix is a bit of a goal for DJs, but achieving perfection while handling music where tempos drift and dip is an advanced form of musicianship to my ears. I can only imagine the DJ session when this was recorded (BUT WHO HAS A FULL RECORDING THOUGH?! Side A is only on Zeph's Souncloud and Discogs yield nothing. Help!)

Friday 12 March 2021

Tape Kingz #9: Thee Mike B

Off to the West Coast for Tape Kingz #9, with super talented DJ Thee Mike B. Mike has done too much in his career to cover in the short space I have here but check his recent appearance on the ROAD podcast for his full story. It's a good listen. In terms of why he's a good person to speak to about 90s hip hop mixtapes, amongst other things he was an intern for Jon Shecter and Stretch Armstrong back in the day during the Game Recordings era. Check his stellar Top 3 and some equally dope honourable mentions...

DJ Spinbad & JS One - Cold Cutz Remixes (1997) The most intricate, interesting and simply the DOPEST of all blend tapes.

Tony Touch -Tape 50: Power Cypha (1996) This is one that changed the game. 50 freestyles from 50 MC's over all the dopest beats. Infinite respect to Tony Toca! This shit is so crazy I still have a hard time wrapping my mind around it. 

DJ Rob One - Can't Be Stopped (1994) This changed the game for me. I might not be a DJ today had I not copped this at 555-Soul on Martel in '94. Shout out Julie Z.

Honourable mentions:  
DJ S&S and Craig G - N!ggaz Don't Give A Fuck (1996). So many exclusives when it came out. The first place I heard Akinyele "Put It In Your Mouth", CNN's "LA,LA" and many, many more classics. S&S is still one of my favorites and has so much swag it’s crazy.
DJ Ev and Stretch Armstrong - Back 2 Back (1996).This is a perfect rap mixtape. I bought it at Fat Beats on a trip to NY in Fall of 1996. I was obsessed with it. Years later, Stretch would become my employer and ultimately, one of my best friends.

Monday 8 March 2021

Tape Kingz #8: DJ Skully

The 8th in the series and this time DJ Skully steps up. Skully is a former DMC Champion, DJ'd for Klashnekoff's Terra Firma crew and hosted the rap show on Kiss FM for a few years in the early 00s. He's recently been sharing some mixes and shows from his archives exclusively on this site and here's his Top 3 + 1...

DJ Greenpeace - Fat Lace Volume 1 (1998)
An important tape for me at a time when hip hop was changing quite drastically and I was favouring that underground sound. It's not really a skills tape, but the selection of exclusive joints on this was incredible and the placement of tracks is just right. Classic Lootpack, Dilated, Medina Green, Scaramanga, Rugged Man and loads more. Heavy rotation for months and months, from a dj/journalist who spread the word on independent artists more than most! 

DJ Riz - In The Mix (1997) Riz was a hero of mine throughout the 90’s and this mix is a great example of why. The choice of underground tracks was exactly to my taste at that point in time, and I rushed out to purchase any vinyl that was available in the record shops. The selection is consistently on point, with a perfect amount of deadly turntable skills. I still get a buzz when Tragedy, Beatnuts or Dwellas drop, DITC gets cut up, or Das EFX gets juggled! 

PF Cuttin - 5 Deadly Venomz of Brooklyn (1997) Even though this is just a small section from a classic mixtape, it still deserves a mention, it’s that good! I owned a record shop around this time and spent most of my days trying to perfect those raw PF skills. From the transform cuts on the intro, to Verbal Hoods, Breez Evahflowin, the Busta juggle, Powerule and everything in between, this short mix has some superb tracks and the sickest, most stylish table techniques.

Honourable mention: DJ Spinbad - Needle To The Groove Spinbad has to be one of the cleanest djs to ever do it, surely? Some of my mates used to be quite stubborn when listening to genres other than underground hip hop, but anyone who heard Needle To The Groove could not help but fall in love with it. Such a great mix of classics, tight mixing and super clean skills. I used to carry this cassette around with me and play it anywhere that had a tape deck, and still play it to this day. A truly superb mix from a world class dj.

Tuesday 2 March 2021

Tape Kingz #7: DJ Diablo

Aside from having contributed a ton of tapes from his extensive collection to OB4ZL, DJ Diablo is also a founder member of The Brotherhood, was resident at legendary London club night The Hop, DJ for Roots Manuva's Banana Klan crew and most recently held it down on BBC 1Xtra with a guest spot on the Heartless Crew's sunday night show. Here's his top 3 mixtapes...

DJ Riz on the Capital Rap Show (1994)

No one had ever heard a mix like this before, everything about it was perfect the cuts, the blends, the mixing. Westwood first played Riz's mix in '93 but only dropped 20 minutes of it and due to popular demand he had to play the whole thing. Simply untouchable. 

 Mr Wiggles - Rock Steady Vol 1 (1994)

Another incredible mix for its time influencing many copycats, some good some and not so good. Using a 4 or 8 track mixing classic breaks with Zulu Nation gems. The definitive B-Boy mixtape. 

 DJ JS-1 - Flashbacks  
Another mix that blew my mind. Insane cutting and mixing with legendary tunes that birthed the culture. Flawless from beginning to end, JS-1's masterpiece is still in heavy rotation today.

Friday 26 February 2021

Tape Kingz #6: DJ Yoda

Tape Kingz #6! Another big name DJ! More classic mixes for your domepiece! In The Before Times, DJ Yoda could be found anywhere and everywhere from mixing on BBC6 Music to a ton of festivals and clubs and making songs with Edo G and the Jungle Brothers, all the while doing some mind blowing stuff with AV that makes your average DJ look rather ordinary and boring. Catch him on Twitch on Wednesday evenings. He's also contributed some tapes to this site and back in the day he wrote a mixtape column in HHC so he's a good person to talk to about this kind of thing. Here's his Top 3...

Q-Bert - Demolition Pumpkin Squeeze Muzik (1994)

There's some confusion over whether this tape is called that, or "Pre-School Breaks"? Regardless, this was probably the most influential mixtape for me, because Q and the Piklz were finding all sorts of vocal snippets from movies like The Warriors and Wild Style, and throwing them over the breaks they were cutting up; it inspired me to include movies in my DJing, which I've done since.

DJ Spinbad - Rock The Casbah (1995)Spinbad's recent passing made us all re-assess just how influential this mix was, but it obviously inspired me on a personal level more than others, hence all my 80s mixes I've done since. Spinbad was the first to show me that you could combine the music of your youth with the style of DJing you grew up to love. Plus it's just so insanely clever, every scratch sample is thought out and there for a reason.

Kid Koala - Scratchcratchratchatch (1996)

Kid Koala remains, to me, the most musical of DJs - he just has always had a unique way of really using records as instruments. This tape was so creative - the Charlie Brown "I Gotta Rock" was just so iconic.

Tuesday 23 February 2021

Tape Kingz #5: Tobes

 You may know Tobes from the dope Sparkle Motion mixes (with DJ Yoda) and as part of Blood Money (with DJ Dub), or for his work on Spine Magazine back in the day. He's also a mixtape aficionado and has contributed some of his extensive collection to this site in the past. Here's his top 3...

Doo Wop - Spring '94 (1994) 
To be a teenage rap fanatic in the Spring of 1994 was a true blessing. Looking back, I honestly feel so fortunate to have experienced it all. As consumers we were completely spoiled for amazing music on a weekly basis. This tape was a perfect snapshot of the time. Completely unskippable, every track a banger. Plus you had the Bounce Squad intro, and Wop hyping every song like crazy throughout the tape. I listen to this one every now and then and the memories come flooding back. It was an amazing time.      

Ron G - Mixes 12 (1993)  
I have every Ron G mixtape he put out in the 90s. This is probably my favorite along with It's On Pt. II and 187. Mixes 12 featured classic hip hop beats paired with various acapellas, everything from Tina Turner to Buju Banton. It was a big influence for Sparkle Motion's 'Mega Blends' mix which has Ron on the intro. He had the art of the mixtape blend down to a science. The opening Jomanda 'I Like It' / Steady B 'Use Me' blend is so cold. I would play the transformer scratch he did on that over and over and over again, completely mesmerized. It was so ill. Still is. I feel like Ron G never got the props he deserves. His R&B/hip hop blends helped shape the sound of 90's/00's R&B as we know it. Ask Puffy. 

Kid Capri - 52 Beats (1991)  
The fact that this tape was recorded live in one take just makes it so ill to me. When the records skip a few times and Capri jokes "ooops excuse that!" gave it that raw factor, along with tons of tape hiss. I miss tape hiss! It was all breakbeats, but it doesn't get any more hip hop than this. So many break mixes came after, but none were as good. It's a magical listening experience that every hip hop head should be forced to listen to!

BONUS! Tobes and I collaborated on the internet hood classic A Queensbridge Project a few years back which you should definitely check out when  you're in the mood for some early 00s QB raps.

Friday 19 February 2021

Tape Kingz #4: DJ Swerve

Great choices here from DJ Swerve, who you'll be familiar with from Kiss FM and numerous club nights all over the place. You can currently catch him on Twitch on Monday nights 8 - 10pm and on Kiss Fresh on Thursday nights 10 - 12 .

Bad Boy Mixtape Volume 3  
Picked up the tape from Red Records/Unity in Beak Street if I remember correctly. First track is You’ll See by The LOX and Biggie; prime Bad Boy, Puffy ad-libs and a dope selection put together by Stretch Armstrong. Say no more. I can even remember where I was when I heard Winter Warz on this tape.

Arthur King & Uncle T - Gangster Boogie
A low key sleeper. It doesn’t get too lairy, and has a perfect balance of skills and selection. I still have this in rotation for when I need some West Coast vibes. 

 DJ Swerve - Word Of Mouth Volume 4  
This one is so significant for me. Along with the club work that I was doing at the time, and Christian and Karen in the Kiss Clubs dept, this tape really helped me get me my shot at Kiss FM. These tapes were the ones to get on. They were limited to a few hundred but distributed to the right people. Jamie Topham was in charge of selecting the DJ’s for these and I just about managed to get the right level of hustle going to get on. I borrowed a 4 track Minidisc recorder from my mate Gordon and set about it putting it together in the living room of my flat. 

 Honorable mention for Double Dee & Steinski - The Lessons. This was my first experience of mixes and edits.Totally mind blowing. Where does one track stop and the other start? This was a major influence on me; a classic.

Tuesday 16 February 2021

Tape Kingz #3: DJ Snips

Stepping up next to drop his top 3 mixes is DJ Snips. Currently based in NY, Snips co-promoted and DJ'd at Livin Proof which was one of London's biggest hip hop nights. His production CV includes Trife, Cappadonna, Skyzoo and the infamous Poisonous Poets crew which included Lowkey, Doc Brown, Reveal and Tony D. He's currently in the middle of releasing a new beat every week as part of his 52 Beats project. 

DJ Spinna - Live on Westwood (1999) This one always sticks in my head as it was a pivotal time for hip hop when the underground and mainstream worlds were completely divided. It seemed like a breath of fresh air to hear a DJ like Spinna, who was very much a staple in the underground scene, on a show like Westwood's, who by that time would rarely play records from that world. 

 Kid Capri - 52 Beats What even needs to be said about this? Hip Hop DJing 101. With the introduction of the internet many of these breaks are common knowledge to most people but that wasn’t always the case. I recently named my latest beat tape after this. 

DJ Premier - NY Reality Check 101 (1997)  

This and Stretch Armstrong's 'The Lesson' were the pinnacle of mid-late 90s NY indie hip hop. This tape stands out to me particularly because I used it as a gauge to make my own tapes. I had doubles of most of the 12”s on here and was imitating Premo's juggles as a way to get tighter myself. Seems fitting in hindsight as I did the same thing with his beats when I started producing.

Saturday 13 February 2021

Tape Kingz #2: DJ Ayres

 Next up in the Tape Kingz series is DJ Ayres, perhaps best known for co-promoting legendary Brooklyn club night The Rub. Along with the acclaimed History Of Hip Hop mix series he has also DJ'd for no less than  Ghostface and Bun B. In these uncertain, unprecedented times you can check him out on Twitch and you can also check out his Top 3 mixtapes right here:

DJ Daze - Hip-Hop From the Good Old Daze Vol. 2 DJ Daze is a bit of a mystery to me. I bought this cassette at Fat Beats in the 90s, and I know he did scratches on some High & Mighty songs.  The cuts and arrangement on this tape are super clean and sharp, and the tracklist is golden age 80s rap perfection.  Daze is very democratic in his selection, mixing some bigger names like Special Ed, Heavy D and NWA with lesser-known singles from Sid & B-Tonn, Markey Fresh & Bizzey Boys.  The JVC Force album cut he chose, "Stop-N-Listen," sent me on a mission to find their underappreciated second album.  It's a perfect mixtape to me.

Green Lantern - Best of 2000 (Cornerstone) Cornerstone is a marketing agency which is probably best known because the founders also started The Fader magazine, but their monthly mix CDs were legendary.  They tapped mixshow DJs from all over the US to record mixes, which went out to tons of DJs, creative people and music journalists.  Because they were recording for an audience of their peers, the DJs put a ton of work into the mixtapes, and it's hard to think of one more creative than this Green Lantern set.  At the time, monophonic midi ringtones were extremely hot, in some cases outselling the music itself, and Green Lantern recorded them into Pro Tools and arranged them over the songs, which was mind-blowing at the time.  But the section that fucks me up to this day is when he mixes Cam'ron "What Means The World To You" -> The Police "Roxanne" -> Outkast "Bombs Over Baghdad" -> Foreigner "Cold As Ice" -> M.O.P. -> "Cold As Ice," cutting the Outkast drums into halftime and back to 150 BPM to bridge the whole thing together.  The Evil Genius! 

P.F. Cuttin - Da 4-Oh 


This tape still gets me so hype! P.F. Cuttin is best known for producing Danger for his group Blahzay Blahzay, and his mixtapes were right up there with Tony Touch and Mister Cee.  'Da 4-O' is my favorite, with huge street anthems by Wu-Tang Clan, Notorious B.I.G., O.C. & Jay-Z alongside more underground 12"s by Brainsick Mob, Goodie Mob, and, well, Mobb Deep.  What I love about this mix is the layering, with long blends, instrumentals teased over choruses, and little sound effects scratched in; plus his doubles skills approach the levels of the X-Men or the Beat Junkies without losing the flow of the tape. 

This mix is available on PF Cuttin's bandcamp page

Thursday 11 February 2021

Tape Kingz #1 : DJ 7L

 Mixtapes are as big a part of some people's musical history as albums, in some cases more so. They provided the soundtrack for memorable times of years gone by. That one tape that was stuck in your walkman for a whole summer, or played endlessly in your mates car when you were at college. The one you played so much that the songs on it don't sound the same when they're played in any other context. 

Depending on where you where from or what age you are you were probably all bumping different mixes. They might've been by local DJs, purchased on trips out of town or abroad, or recorded off the radio. They might've put you onto songs you didn't know about and never heard elsewhere and if you're a DJ there's almost certainly some in particular that inspired you or made you want to step your game up. 

The thing is, there's a lot of tapes out there and although most of the notable ones have appeared online by now, it's easy to be a bit overwhelmed and not know where to start if you're looking for some good ones to check out. With that in mind (and with no tapes to rip at the moment) I hit up some DJs of note to find out what their favourite tapes of all time are.

Because OB4ZL is taking no shorts in the Deuce-1 (remember when years had rap names?), we're starting the series off properly. Boston's DJ 7L of Czarface, Bladerunners and 7L & Esoteric fame. He's a dope DJ and he knows his shit. Here's his Top 3:

7L: I am sure if I sit and think there would be much deeper ones, but these are the tapes I played to death...

DJ S&S - Old School Volume 3 (1994)

I bought this on a school trip to New York. I just really liked the energy of this mix, and I remember playing it around the clock in my car for a good 2 years. It has the classic New York slam style of mixing and great mic work.

Doo Wop - Cool Out '93

This one I got when we went to New York for Rock Steady Anniversary for the first time. I got this near Rock&Soul. This was another tape that I remember playing for many years, had all the R&B I liked, and again the mic work and mixing was great. Mixtapes back then were like albums to me, even if I knew the music on it, if it was done in a cool way it was all I needed. I saw Doo Wop a few times back then when he would come to Boston, and live he was incredible. One time he was at North Eastern (College) and only had one working turntable, and still killed it for 20 minutes by using the mic and just grabbing records and dropping them. A fight ended the party early. Another mix that ties in with this is Biz's Classic Cuts - Theory of Old School

DJ Shame & Kool DJ EQ - Wreckord Fiendz (1994)  
Man..Shame's side of this mix is still one of my favorites of all time, it's just wild. It had the DJ mix intro, then his own remixes, with his own cut up hooks, plus an amazing selection all in a seamless megamix. Shame was very mythological to me back then, I hadn't met him yet, but you heard a lot about him from other DJ's, or from his name on the radio or his remixes. A year earlier he did Travelling Through Sampleland which is probably a tie with this mix as being outstandingly influential on me.

Thanks to 7L for stepping up with the first contribution to the series. I interviewed him for this very blog 10 years ago now. You can check that out here.

Saturday 6 February 2021

London Style & Fashion
(an early 90s UKHH compilation)

Out of Eddie's collection emerges a healthy amount of early 90s UK artists on rap radio. Freestyles and live recordings taken from Richie Rich's Rap Academy and Max & Dave's show on Kiss FM, and Westwood. Rather than drip feed them I thought I'd gather them up in one big zipfile for you. It's mostly names you'll recognise if you're familiar with that scene although there is a couple of lesser known artists. This era is kind of a niche sub-genre of hip hop and in terms of the history of the UK scene its often overlooked in favour of the 80's golden era (London Posse, Monie Love, MC Duke etc) and the early 00s generation (Jehst, Klashnekoff, Task Force). 
Essentially the dance music explosion of the 90s sidelined hip hop for most of the decade in England. I was going to go into more detail but this article covers a lot and is worth a read if you want to know more. 

As for the comp, I've posted the two MC D freestyles before, and I think the Caveman one is from somewhere else (?) but the rest is brand new. Enjoy. 

Blade - Kiss FM Rap Academy (April 91)
Brotherhood - Radio 1 Rap Show (June 95)
Cash Crew - live in London (Dec 90)
Caveman - Capital Rap Show
Deadly D, Def K & DJ Cel - Kiss FM Rap Academy
Gunshot - Lightning 90.8FM (Nov 90)
Guttersnypes - Choice FM freestyle (Dec 93)
Hardnoise - Live To London (Aug 90)
Honey B & Culture Shock - live (Sept 91)
Katch 22 - Kiss FM Rap Academy (Feb 92)
MC D - DJ 279 special (July 93)
MC D - Kiss FM freestyle (July 93)
Sir Drew - Capital Rap Show promo
SL Troopers - Kiss FM Rap Academy (Feb 92)
Son Of Noise - Freestyle (July 91)

Have to big up Eddie once again for these. If you're sitting on a box of tapes get in touch and let's free the gems!

If you're in the mood for some more classic UKHH then GM B-Eazy just dropped a new mix...

Saturday 23 January 2021

Chuck D & House Of Pain - Westwood dubplates (1992)

Chuckie D and Everlast going off dancehall style and fashion for Tim over the Bam Bam riddim (Murder She Wrote). Sounds weird right? Seems like this was recorded as 2 seperate sessions rather than at the same time but on the tape I have they're played back to back. Shame Tim had pretty much phased these type of things out by the time he got to Radio 1.

Friday 22 January 2021

DJ DS Goes Back to School (4th year: 1989)

DJ DS delivers the next mix in his ongoing series. Think this one might be my favourite yet.

Tuesday 12 January 2021

DJ MK - MF DOOM tribute mix

Obviously there's been a ton of tribute mixes and podcasts since DOOM's death was announced on new year's eve. I haven't actually had to time to check any of them so this one MK dropped yesterday is what I'm rolling with. There's a download link in the Mixcloud description if you're quick enough.

Wednesday 6 January 2021

Who Say Reload - now available for pre-order!

For the last few years I've been putting together this collection of interviews chronicling the classic jungle / drum n bass records of the 90s. I'm proud to say that it's now available for pre-order through Velocity Press and is due to be available on general release in March! 

Each chapter focuses on a different classic jungle track, with the artist providing the backstory on their influences, creative processes and memories of the burgeoning jungle scene of the mid 90s. There's also additional interviews with some of the genres key figures providing additional detail and commentary of the stand out records, raves and club nights of the era. Photography is from the archives of my man Eddie Otchere, who you might be familiar with from his shots of Wu Tang, Biggie and Aaliyah amongst others. 

I've written a short piece on how the book came about here. If you get in quickly you can also cop the limited edition poster featuring records included in the book.

featured artists include

Shut Up & Dance – Ragga Twins – 4Hero – Lennie De Ice – Goldie – LTJ Bukem – A Guy Called Gerald – Fabio - Basement Phil – Nookie – Q Project – MC GQ – Omni Trio – Andy C & Ant Miles - DJ Rap - Sean O’Keeffe (Deep Blue) – DJ Crystl – Pete Parsons – Danny Donnelly – Foul Play – Ray Keith – Floyd Dyce – Tobie Scopes (Chimeira/Serial Killaz) - Jumpin Jack Frost – Bryan G – DJ Asend (Dred Bass) – Junior Hart & Steve B (Renk Recs) – UK Apachi – Krome & Time – DRS & Kenny Ken – Pascal – J Majik – Peshay – Storm – DJ SS – T Power – DJ Flight – Shimon – Aphrodite – Micky Finn – DJ Hype – Roni Size – AK1200 - Doc Scott – Dazee – Friction – Mampi Swift – DJ Krust – Moving Fusion – Optical – DJ Fresh

 Quite typical of me to spend 10+ years cultivating a reasonably sized following off a blog focusing on classic hip hop and then going and writing a book about a completely different genre, but as far as hip hop goes I couldn't come up a fresh angle to write about and then there's obviously issues with access to artists etc. Jungle/D&B (essentially the same thing and for the purposes of my project the terms are pretty much interchangeable) is my second musical love and although I had been into it since 94, it was the phase of hip hop influenced records around 95-97 that really peaked my interest. Despite the widely recognised influence of reggae and sound systems, along with its foundations in the early 90s hardcore rave scene, a large proportion of the artists I interviewed have their roots in hip hop. The first wave of producers often cited the likes of Marley Marl, the Bomb Squad and Mantronix (where do you think they got that amen break from?) as their inspirations. Anyway, I won't go into too much detail here but suffice to say: GO AND BUY MY BOOK. Thanks.