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.