New Pete Rock Ish – Tearz!
January 27, 2009, 3:52 pm
Filed under: Producers

Earatik Statik – ‘Tearz!’
taken from The Good, The Bad, The Earatik (?, 2009)

Although I was willing to give Pete some leniancy in terms of my appreciation for NY’s Finest, there’s no doubt that this particular Chocolate Boy Wonder fan was ultimately a little disappointed by last year’s full length offering.  As such it’s good to hear Pete back on form with this leaked track from the upcoming Earatik Statik LP which will supposedly also feature beats from Large Pro and J-Zone as well. Tasty little line-up by anyone’s standards.

Admittedly this isn’t mind-blowing, but in slightly barren times for committed Soul Brother worshippers I’m happy to embrace it. You should too.

via The Full Clip

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It’s The Links Baby
January 25, 2009, 3:53 pm
Filed under: Lists

I am fully aware that ‘09 is yet to kick into beat deconstruction mode, but I continue to be overwhelmingly snowed under by work.  What do you do as a flagging blogger when you don’t have time to produce something decent? Point your readers in the direction of people who have been.

Jeff drops one of the most hilarious posts I’ve ever seen on the interwebs in celebration of a new President. Go Obama!

In general, Bust the Facts has had loads of uploads on the go of late so if you’ve not paid them a visit in a while then I suggest you do so. Now.

Joey hips us all to what looks to be a very exciting project that makes me continue to yearn for an extended stint in NYC.

I wish I was as cool as Jay Smooth.

Zilla reminds us that there are treats to uncover on the first J Rawls LP.

Metal Lungies has the lowdown on one of many great Large Pro remixes.

Nice Kicks has a video of Kanye talking about his new kicks and renaming himself MLK Jr. And you thought the ego had already landed.

O Dub dropped this jewel on us a week or so ago.

Trav wraps things up for ‘08.

And for the kicks fiends, there are these to look forward to.

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Slice of Soul – ‘A Smile Can’t Hide (A Broken Heart)’
January 21, 2009, 3:54 pm
Filed under: Slice Of Soul

William Bell – ‘A Smile Can’t Hide (A Broken Heart)’
taken from The Best of William Bell (Stax, 1991)

William Bell is quickly becoming one of my favourite artists who recorded material on the legendary Stax imprint.  Having said this, I’m still lurking in greatest hits territory before diggin’ deeper in, a fallacy I intend to correct as soon as the day job stops ethering me.  ‘A Smile Can’t Hide (A Broken Heart)’ is currently carressing my inner ear on repeat and my suspicion is that after hearing it you’ll fall victim to the same fate.  Smile people: predetermination never sounded so sweet.

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FDB Sneaker Spot – Air Pegasus+ 25 iD
January 18, 2009, 3:54 pm
Filed under: Sneaker Spot

Design your own at Nike iD

So I’d wanted to write something about music on this lazy Sunday afternoon, but my mind has been on kicks.  Generally I’m a classics man and would pretty much always opt to spend my hard earned cash on a clean pair of the small handful of Nike runners that can lay claim to be the greatest in the history of the game, but these caught my attention on Nike Talk and so I thought I’d point you in their direction in case you’re that way inclined.  Those expecting discussions of kick drum patterns should leave immediately: you have been warned.

The Pegasus is one of Nike’s most long standing and successful line of running shoes.  I love all of the earlier models (some of which have been recently retroed), but after around ‘92 the series loses me, becoming overly technical and losing the understated style that epitomises everything that was great about the swoosh in the late ’80s and early ’90s.  However, the Pegasus is celebrating its 25th birthday this year and to commemorate this those cheeky swines at Nike have made the Air Pegasus+ 25 available on the horribly expensive yet horribly desirable iD site. 

Basically the shoe features the upper from the original 1983 model, mid/outsole from the more recent models and a ton of fancy technological features thrown in to boot.  Frankly I couldn’t care less if these shoes can help me measure my heartrate (although they can) because they just look so fantastic.  Simple colour blocking and decent quality materials mean that all you have to do is keep your design limited to a small palette of colours and you’ll be the freshest cat on the block.

Now I just need to convince myself to spend £100 that I don’t have on a pair of shoes that I don’t need.

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Anticipation Builds… Rhymefest ‘The Coolness’
January 14, 2009, 3:55 pm
Filed under: Miscellaneous

Rhymefest – ‘The Coolness’
taken from El Che: The Manual (Unreleased)

Shock horror, it’s another post covering some brand new audible treats here at FDB.  I gotta give Zilla props on hipping me to this Rhymefest track from his upcoming mixtape that anticipates his upcoming album (take a breath) simply because I can never make it through my RSS reader with enough patience to keep tab of Nah Right and 2dopeboyz who seem to have been amongst the first to drop it.

‘The Coolness’ is a great throwback joint with a hard uptempo beat and ferocious mic display that touches on ideas relating to the current Uptown/Downtown debate.  Regardless of all that though, this is a straight banger.  Can’t wait for the album later this year.

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Slice of Soul – More Barry
January 11, 2009, 3:57 pm
Filed under: Slice Of Soul

Barry White – ‘Love Serenade’
taken from Just Another Way To Say I Love You (20th Century, 1975)

And so the obsession begins.  It’s not like Mr White has ever been off my radar, and I’ve enjoyed scattered bits and pieces in the past, but it’s only now that I’m beginning to fully appreciate his masterful touch.  Sure you have to wade your way through a fair amount of cringe-inducing disco anthems, but when Barry gets on his smooth tip and takes it slow his arrangements are out of this world.  Some may call them seductive.

‘Love Serenade’ is the track in current rotation.  Warning: playing it in female company may result in impulsive disrobement.  Bonus!

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Songs That Defined My Year (Hip Hop)
January 8, 2009, 3:59 pm
Filed under: Lists

So here’s part two of the songs that will forever be entrenched in my mind when reflecting on the year 2008.  Although I specifically chose not to make this a ‘best of the year’ selection, I guess it’s pretty inevitable that a lot of these cuts dropped within the last twelve months, particularly because I enjoyed a hell of a lot of the hip hop that dropped this year.  Who said this thing was dead?!


P Brothers – ‘Outta Control’

Almost impossible for me to choose a single song from the P Brothers’ truly magnificent The Gas LP, but ‘Outta Control’ takes it on the grounds of bass and drums alone.  Absolutely brutal and completely uncompromising this beat is jaw-droppingly good, and Roc Marcy turns in a belter of a vocal performance to boot.  More of the same this year please fellas.


Freddie Foxxx – ‘So Tough’

Interviewing Freddie Foxxx easily constitutes one of my blogging highlights of the year, as was the long-awaited release of his Crazy Like A Foxxx LP that finally allowed me to ditch that hissy tape rip I’d cherished for so long on my hard drive.  I was concerned that this mix of ‘So Tough’ wouldn’t make the cut in favour of the version featuring Queen Latifah, so I was amped when the CD finally landed and it was on there as for me it trounces the officially released version that dropped on 12” all the way back in 1994.  Pure, gritty boom bap: you gotta love it.


Elzhi – ‘Motown 25′ ft. Royce Da 5′9”

One of two Black Milk produced cuts to make this list, ‘Motown 25′ was the choice cut from one of the choice albums of the year.  Both Elzhi and Royce spit venomous and impassioned fire, but in all honesty the beat is just so good that I wouldn’t care if it was Homer Simpson spittin’ over it.  Now there’s a thought.  Check my vaguely more eloquent write-up for this track over at The Passion.


Damu The Fudgemunk – ‘Colorful Storms’ (full instrumental)

As much as I loved Damu’s Spare Time, I was always a little salty that we didn’t get a full length instrumental version of the beautiful ‘Colorful Storms’, and then as if by magic it cropped up on Overtime… thank you Mr Fudgemunk.  I’m genuinely excited about what we are gonna see from D.C.’s finest in 2009 as my sources tell me that we’re in for some of the same goodness but with an added twist. Bring it.


Jazz Liberatorz – ‘I Am Hip Hop’ ft. Asheru

The Jazz Liberatorz’ overlooked gem from the very early stages of the year had plenty of treats in store for heads into the less thuggish side of rap music, but for me this was its clowning glory.  Featuring a wonderful Hubert Laws’s sample and understated drums this was one of those cuts that begged you to sink into it, and I duly complied on many an occasion.  Funnily enough, it made me think about how dope hip hop is.


Black Milk – ‘Give The Drummer Sum’

Although Tronic wasn’t entirely to my taste, I appreciated the step away that Black Milk took out of the towering shadows of Dilla’s influence into more electronic territory.  However, it’s almost inevitable that ‘Give The Drummer Sum’ was my choice selection from the album, with bangin’ drums bringing that old school flava by the shedload.  Producer of the year methinks.  That is unless you fall down on the Kanye side of things… weirdo.


Pete Rock – ‘Comprehend’ ft. Papoose

As much as I’d love to say that NY’s Finest was everthing I’d hoped it would be, I can’t.  Inconsistent – and at times downright odd – vocal performances clearly let the whole package down and it even felt like Pete had lost a little fire whilst crouched over his sixteen pads.  Still, diehard that I am there was no way that a few of the songs wouldn’t grab me, and for me this was easily one of the best beats on the album.  Shame about Papoose though.


Q-Tip – ‘Gettin’ Up’

Tip came back with an unquestionably dope return to form in the shape of The Renaissance this year, an album that I’ve pushed on pretty much everyone I know since it dropped in November.  As with picking something fromThe Gas this selection is somewhat arbitrary because the whole album was so good, but ‘Gettin’ Up’ has endured as a firm favourite with its soulful keys and Greg Nice-esque touches on the mic.  Tip for hip hop president!


K-Def – ‘For Tha Family’

I always loved the version that cropped up on Mic Geronimo’s otherwise dire Vendetta LP, but with the Milt Jackson sample in place this mix wins hands down.  Deeply soulful and perfect for those lazy Sunday afternoons, ‘For Tha Family’ is everything I love about that mid 90’s sound.  Can’t wait to hear what K-Def has in store for us this year.


Madlib – ‘Two For Pay Jay’

If I’m totally honest I’ve always felt a little indifferent about Madlib’s production over the last couple of years, butthe Dil Cosby Suite changed all that.  A brilliantly executed collection of beat ditties, ‘Two For Pay Jay’ became a firm favourite from the very beginning of my appreciation for the most recent installments of the Beat Konducta series.  Now if someone can just tell me the sample source/what other hip hop song has sampled the same song I can finally sleep easy at night.


Illa J – ‘Sounds Like Love’ ft. Debi Nova

So Yancey Boys turned out to be a bit of an opinion splitter, but I stand by what I originally said about the album and can’t front on the fact that it received a decent amount of play from me.  The crackling groove of ‘Sounds Like Love’ made it immediately stand out, and being that I’m such a sucker for a little R & B style hook it was guaranteed that this would end up in pretty heavy rotation.  I wouldn’t be surprised if Illa J drifted quickly into obscurity, but perhaps with a decent production roster and marketing behind him he could make some waves in ‘09.


Jemini – ‘Brooklyn Kids’ (TV Track)

Despite loving Jemini’s style of rhyme, it was this instrumental version that I turned to more often than not when in need of a Scars & Pain hit this year.  Fantastic 70’s fusion keys sample, heavy drums, occasional vocal adlibs… right up my alley.  Countless late nights bopping to this one.


Junior MAFIA – ‘Player’s Anthem’

An oldie that came back into my life via the Beat Deconstruction treatment.  I think what originally encouraged me to revisit the Junior MAFIA LP was seeing Clark Kent talk about sneakers at some point over the year, and I was reminded of his understated yet highly efficient production technique.  Favourite moment is when Kim finishes the final verse of the song, all the various layers of the beat drop out only to come back in together at 4.12 with a heavy snare hit.  So fresh and so clean, just like Clark’s Air Force 1s.


Large Pro – ‘Maica Living’ ft. Killa Sha & Guardian Leap

I though it was a shame that more people didn’t pick up on Large Pro’s comeback album because it was a  solid release with lots of ear candy for all of us boom bap dinosaurs.  Again, it’s difficult to pick a favourite but I love the laid back, spacious vibe of ‘Maica Living’ and thinking of Killa Sha always brings a smile to my face due to Rafi’s & Dallas’s lampooning of the man at the ‘07 Brooklyn Hip Hop Festival.  Keep up the good work in ‘09 fellas.


Metaform – ‘Crush’

Dope instrumental work that probably passed a lot of people by.  It’s the William Bell guitar lick that seals the deal, but there’s a lot of texture on display here.  Makes it slightly incomprehensible why I haven’t delved into more of his work, but time’s short in these treacherous internets.


Statik Selektah – ‘Talkin’ Bout You (Ladies)’ ft. Kweli, Joell Ortiz & Skyzoo

Too much going on with Stick 2 The Script to engage my interest over a whole album, but dipping in and out of the selection uncovered some enjoyable cuts.  ‘Talkin’ Bout You (Ladies)’ was one of them with all the worthwhile elements of this kind of throwback in place: soulful loop; scratched chorus hook; well respected MCs doing their thang.  It’s a no brainer.


Bone Idols – ‘Keep On’ (Chris Read Remix)

Despite DJ Chris Read not considering himself a producer, this particular unreleased remix of his received heavy rotation from me throughout the year (although it felt particularly sweet in the summer months).  I covered Chris’s The Diary mix all the way back in December ‘07, and since then I’m always on the lookout for anything that bears his name.  You should be too.


Mood – ‘Karma’

The Doom album is one of those kind of slept on releases that for whatever reason I hadn’t gotten around to checking before this year, but I was glad that I did because some of the early Hi-Tek production is excellent.  ‘Karma’ is a case in point, bringing that classic late 90’s indie feel with an almost Queensbridge edge, and as such it ran tings for me in November.


GZA – ‘7 Pounds’

If it’s possible, I think this Black Milk joint bangs even harder than ‘Motown 25′.  Granted the sheen has been taken off all things contemporary GZA for me as a result of this, but this song is too good to succumb to my own petty squabbles with Mr Grice.  GZA sounds hungry and complex, and despite this being a somewhat odd collaboration it works devastatingly well.

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Songs That Defined My year (Miscellaneous)
January 5, 2009, 4:01 pm
Filed under: Lists

And so it is that 2008 draws to a close. To my mind it’s been a really good year for music and I continue to enjoy forcing my musings upon you as much as ever. Certainly in terms of FDB it’s been a slightly impotent end to 2008 with various technical difficulties plaguing my blogging game, but with my new MacBook up and running 2009 should bring a greater frequency of posting than you’ve become accustomed to of late.

I toyed with the idea of a ‘Best of ‘08′ but since it wouldn’t have necessarily reflected my listening habits I’m instead opting for a more personal approach (particularly given that others have that task covered admirably). Regardless of when these songs were released or whatever genre boundaries you want to lump them into, the following collection of songs are those that will forever remind me of the last twelve months. Today’s installment focuses on anything that falls outside of hip hop, Wednesday’s will be just beats and rhymes. In many cases I’ve already written something about these songs, and if so I’ve thrown a link up to the original post as well just in case you missed it first time around. I would link to where you can officially buy these songs in the usual style, but WordPress isn’t having regular formatting with all these images and that grates against my anal tendencies.  Get diggin’!


Isaac Hayes – ‘The Look Of Love’


Despite not wanting to rank these tunes in any order of preference, I’d be remiss if I didn’t kick things off with the late Isaac Hayes, as I think I’ve listened to his music more than any other single artist this year. It’s a sad fact that it is often in someone’s passing that you only truly appreciate their greatness, and such was the case for myself and My Hayes this year, whose discography I have devoured at a rate of knots over the last twelve months. It’s impossible for me to pick a single favourite Hayes composition, but his cover of ‘The Look Of Love’ represents everything that was so special about the man with it’s truly magnificent arrangement and unbridled sense of grandeur. Rest in peace big guy: your music is eternal.


?uestlove & The Randy Watson Experience – ‘Goodbye Isaac’

Although this tribute to Isaac didn’t seem to draw much attention when it was released, for me it was a fitting musical commemoration of his genius. I know little about the background to the song other than it’s a collaboration between that drummer from some band out of Philly, Randy Watson and James Poyser, but their combined efforts capture a somber and reflective mood that still manages to pack a punch. Melodic and haunting, ‘Goodbye Isaac’ is a truly beautiful piece of music that floats effortlessly in that hazy state between consciousness and slumber.


Quincy Jones – ‘Brown Ballad’

Aside from Isaac, Quincy Jones has been the focus of much of my attention this year despite an enormous discography that will take far more than a year to fully digest. For whatever reason Smackwater Jack was the LP that I seemed to latch onto most easily, and ‘Brown Ballad’ became a firm favourite in spite of its gushing sense of sentimentality. Jones is such a master when it comes to arrangement and this song’s texture is just so velvety smooth that it proves irresistible. A guilty pleasure perhaps, but a delicious one at that.

Marvin Gaye – ‘Cleo’s Apartment’

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I grew up listening to Marvin Gaye because my Dad is such a fan, although he rarely strays out of the 60’s material so it was a joy for me to fully appreciate the Trouble Man OST off my own back this year. The title track itself is probably one of my favourite Gaye songs ever, but this little ditty creates such an incredible atmosphere in such a short space of time that it firmly rooted itself in rotation for me throughout the year, eclipsing other material to be found elsewhere on the album.  Check Boon Doc’s flip in case you missed it: dopeness.


Milt Jackson & Ray Brown – ‘Enchanted Lady’

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Sampled on a number of truly classic beats, this sumptuous slice of soul jazz is currently my only real experience of vibraphonist Milt Jackson, but if the remainder of his discography offers up anything as good as this then I’ll inevitably end up violently slapping my own forehead when I finally get around to digging through his work properly.  I’m an absolute sucker for this kind of smoothed out jazz in 4/4 time, but there’s so many little details at play here that there’s no doubt in my mind that this is something truly special.  I mean, if it’s good enough for Pete, it’s good enough for me.


Bob James – ‘Feel Like Making Love (I Want You)’

I’ve never bragged about my digging credentials largely because I don’t have any.  Sifting through sample sources and finding the inspiration behind some of my favourite beats is still a relatively new hobby for me in the grand scheme of things, and purists would despise my methods.  Still, elitism about digging in the crates is one of my pet hates in hip hop, so I’m proud to say that previous to 2008 I’d never fully taken in Bob James’sOne LP, home to ‘Nautilus’ and a grip of other heavily sampled tracks that stand alone as fantastic pieces of music.  ‘Feel Like Making Love (I Want You)’ weaved its way into rotation at the very beginning of the year and is now a stalwart of my seduction playlist.  Shame the girlfriend doesn’t really like it.

Eddie Hendricks – ‘Intimate Friends’

The Temptations co-founder released a whole host of albums after his split from the group and with some of them out of print he’s yet another artist who I’m yet to absorb fully (you can see a pattern emerging here, right?).  I did however manage to acquire a copy of Slick (Tamla, 1977) at some point during the year and ‘Intimate Friends’ quickly became a personal favourite both on its own merit and through its employment in anAlix Perez song that my ex-flatmate used to play ad infinitum (I miss you Rich).  Man, I’m more sentimental than I thought.


The Supremes – ‘It’s Time To Break Down’

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I was completely blown away when I first heard this song, and those initial warbled vocals still send shivers down my spine every single time.  Deeply soulful with an awe-inspiring vocal performance from Jean Terrell, ‘It’s Time To Break Down’ conclusively proves that there’s far more to enjoy from The Supremes than just those three minute Berry Gordy financed pop hits of the 1960s.  Now I just need to uncover more of them.


Mayer Hawthorne & The County – ‘Just Ain’t Gonna Work Out’

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Once Phill had pointed me in the direction of this cut from Stones Throw’s Mayer Hawthorne I couldn’t get enough of it.  I still can’t.  The ‘Tramp’ drums work beautifully at giving this cut a little extra bounce, but it’s the sweetness of the vibe here and Hawthorne’s falsetto that seal the deal.  As a result this album is easily one of my most highly anticipated drops of ‘09 and it should be one of yours too.  You got that?


Stan Getz & Luis Bonfa – ‘Saudade Vem Correndo’

I’m certainly no bossa nova expert but to me this must surely represent the pinnacle of a somewhat frowned upon musical sub-genre.  Yea it sounds a little bit like you might hear it in the carpeted walls of a hotel elevator, but when the sun was whilst I was holdiaying in the south of France this summer nothing felt quite as sweet as this particular cut.  Dilla knew all about this song’s charms.


Menahan Street Band – ‘The Contender’

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Use of the word anthem can be somewhat overplayed, but I don’t think you could possibly deny the Menahan Street Band of the moniker in this case.  Smoldering horns and blistering drums give this song a palpable aggression that is intensely infectious, but it’s smoothed out with lilting guitars and a soaring flute track.  The fact that when I listen to it I feel like I’m Rocky Balboa dishing out a final knockout blow doesn’t hurt matters either.


Gary Burton – ‘Open Your Eyes, You Can Fly’

Despite lacking the motivation to embark on another mix project (as yet), I was particularly proud of my Pete Rock Breaks & Beats mix this year: big shouts to Rafi for giving it the push towards a wider audience.  Given that ‘Pete’s Jazz’ is one of my all time Soul Brother compositions my affinity with this Gary Burton groove was obligatory before I’d even heard it, but once I did I was sold hook, line and sinker.  I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve listened to the opening sixteen bars or so over the past twelve months, but I’m still not tired of it and it endures as one of my most listened to songs of the year.


Sharon Jones – ‘How Long’ (Ticklah Remix)

You’re always on dodgy ground with a remix of a song that you love in the first place, but this Ticklah remix of one of Sharon Jones’s greatest songs had me reaching for the rewind ad infinitum.  Containing enough to separate it from the original whilst maintaining the core essence of the groove, Ticklah smacked it with this one.  Just be sure you don’t make Ms. Jones wait: I’d dread to be on the end of her soulful wrath.


Leon Ware – ‘What’s Your World’ + FDB Edit

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Long out of print, I was pleased to stumble upon Ware’s self-titled album from 1972 on the strength of this song alone.  Deeply soulful and expertly arranged, ‘What’s Your World’ epitomsises everything I love about 70’s soul and Ware’s voice is to die for.  Excuse the conceit of re-upping my own little edit, but I tended to always listen to it before devouring the original.  After all, isn’t the act of blogging pretty much as self-indulgent as it gets anyway?


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