Sunday, 26 August 2007

Just messin' with beats

It's Bank Holiday weekend, the last long weekend in summer, yet strangely enough I'm drawn to flipping some beats rather than sitting on the beach, or surrounded by weirdos & mud at one of the season's music festivals! No it's the thought of extra time to put into some beatmaking that inspires me to turn on the Akai and flip through some old wax.
I like my samples to be simple and effective - if it ain't broke, don't try and fix it if you know what I mean? Yeah I love to chop a stab and re-create, but sometimes simple is beautiful!

So here we go, just take a couple of loops firstly with and then without horns, and a dusty beat to suit. Add a Gangstarr/Nice & Smooth acapella and we're ready to go. No boards, no fancy effects, just straight outta the sampler raw style. I hope you dig it!
Dwyck remix

Saturday, 18 August 2007

Record heads

This post brings new meaning to the phrase "Record Heads". It always makes me chuckle to see a record cover used as a face mask. If you're a vinyl nerd, then send us your "record head" and we will add you to the list.

To kick things off, here's our very own KID DYNOMITE as usual within arms reach of his wax stash. And an apt record too - "Is that him, could I be right..., could that be kid....ah dynOmite?" LOL!

Send us your photo to dailydiggers at hotmail dot co dot uk.

DJ Jam-On

Dan Delta - London

Kid Dyno

Crates 73, B'mouth

Stax-o-wax, B'mouth

Kashmere & Ghost with DJ Cro on Main Ingredient Radio, Birmingham UK ( MON Midnight-2am)

Breakbeatz from New York, USA (

Doc Savage - Chesterfield UK

Del the Soul Condor

Dan Delta - London

DJ Just One - Norwich UK ( FRI 10pm - Midnight)

Stilts gets all dooley on us! (This one kills me!)


Kid Dyno


..keep 'em coming!

Daily Diggers

Sunday, 12 August 2007

Why we love break 45s

There ain't no feeling like copping a drum break on a 45! Whether because it's more of a concentrated hit on your breakbeat senses than an LP, or the fact that small is beautiful, all I know is that I love the feeling it gives me. I regularly play a 45 set when we play out, and yes it does take more skill in ensuring seamless music for the partygoers/dancers than using 12" vinyl. But that feeling I get from these records is definitely passed on to the crowd. Many sevens are just short of 3 minutes long, and I guess that a concentrated burst of good music like this is very enticing. Plus, of course, many of these 7"s are much cheaper to purchase than the corresponding LP.
So now I find myself hunting down dope 7"s from all genres in search of the ultimate artillery. Like arrows for the quiver, or bullets for my 9mm, I need to know I have that knockout punch available when it's most needed!
Below are a few of our favorite breaks on 7", many of which featured on Lenny Roberts' (RIP) unforgettable Ultimate Breaks & Beats series from the 80's. His legendary Street Beats label from Castle Hill in the Bronx gave Hip Hop deejays and producers access to the rarest of break records back when digging was still in it's infancy. Hence his UBB series was pivotal in shaping the way Hip Hop records sounded throughout the late 80's. Many of the breaks are very short in length, so Lenny even had Louis Flores edit some of the original recordings to extend the drum breaks for the compilations. This gave the deejay more wax to play with, but often freaked them out when they eventually found an original pressing and discovered the true break was so tiny in some cases.

We have provided a soundclip of the break in case you are not familiar with it. We hope you enjoy them and feel the need to search out a few killer 7"s next time you're out digging.

BANBARRA - Shack Up / Shack Up pt.2 (1975 United artists)

If it's seriously hard drums you want this next single is a stonker! From the whistle blowing start of "Shack Up pt. 2" onwards, the drums are crisp and heavy, and the pattern is head-nod to the point of being almost jerky. But pound for pound these are some lovely drums to sample - either separately, or as a tight loop. Possibly the most classic use of these drums was by Divine Styler on his 1988/9 single "Ain't Sayin' Nothin'" on Rhyme Syndicate Records, but more recently used on Gnarls Barkeley's smash hit "Crazy".
Pete Rock reputedly once said that he used to add feint "Shack Up" drum noises to his drum programs in order to fatten up other drum noises, and on hearing you can understand why. The drums are so prominent in the mix of this classic breakbeat, and the kicks sound low and wide. Other Hip Hop acts loving the Banbarra sound include 3rd Bass, De la Soul, Del the Funky Homosapien, GangStarr, Public Enemy and I can't possibly leave out Stetsasonic who incorporated the drums into "Talkin' All That Jazz" over a Lonnie Liston Smith bassline extracted from "Expansions". Lovely!

soundclip coming soon

BAD BASCOMB - Black Grass (1972 Paramount Records)
A cross between a funk joint and a country & western hoe-down, Bascomb delivers an all-time classic here, sampled by Special Ed & Doug E Fresh and even Wu-Tang. The plucky banjo and vibrant fiddle don't distract you from the funky drumming throughout this track, and then the drums hit solo with a 3-note breakdown! Great for two copies rocking the stabs. The drum break itself has a low key shuffle feel about it with its prominent high hats, loose kicks & snares with some rhythmic handclaps added. Bascomb urges "Everybody - got to get some!" and the rest is breakbeat history. Below I have provided a snippet of the track and a clip of how the drums sound when looped up. Enjoy!
Black Grass
Black Grass loop

CAPTAIN FREAK & THE LUNACYCLE BAND - Whatever Happened to Superman (1974 Jamie Record Co)
I could buy this record just for the label - a fishbone with the the words "Phil-LA of Soul" above it. Genius! The bizarre artist name was also an instant attraction - it has to be one of the most ridiculous I've heard. This 45 was a blind purchase, and with this 45 I wasn't to be disappointed. I had never heard anyone play this track when I found it, so to hear the incredible uptempo drum break intro almost knocked me off my feet. Feisty footwork on the kicks and snappy two-tone snares. Damn I think I had the SP1200 turned on within seconds of first hearing it, so eager I was to get the beats rockin'!
I know very little about this record, or who has used the drums,(maybe you can tell me??) but I've since learned that it does appear on one of the Batteria for Beatheads comps.
Whatever Happened...

DAVE CORTEZ & THE MOON PEOPLE - Happy Soul (With a Hook) (Speed Records)
A very much "in-vogue" record of the moment since Premo flipped the beat for Christina Aguillera, and now demanding a fairly high price with collectors, this killer Boogaloo track has beats fit for the purpose to say the least. It's such a suprise that no-one used this for a hit record earlier. The drum breaks are tougher than tough, and have the obligatory stab at the beginning - what more could a hip hop producer ask for? It even breaks down more than once, with different stabs, then continues with some bugged-out Dave Cortez organ riffs. But when the awesome bare drum loop hits home, it sets your spine into tingle mode! RAW!
So who are The Moon People and why is it "with a hook"? I'll try and explain.....
The mid-60s saw rock 'n roll and soul music dominate the charts. However the Latino neighborhoods of New York City took rock and soul and infused it with Cuban and Puerto Rican styles with lyrics in English, and created Boogaloo. During this time, The Moon People (originally called Los Astronautas but this name coincided with an existing artist) made an album for the label Speed, but when the LP was released in 1968, it made zero impression on the charts. Speed took one of the songs, "Happy Soul," and added some ill organ solos by Dave Cortez. In late 1968 this single was released, credited to Dave "Baby" Cortez and The Moon People and now entitled "Happy Soul (with a Hook)".
Happy Soul with a Hook
Happy Soul loop

ALBERT KING - Cold Feet (Stax Records)

When Diamond D said "I took a blues break and I broke it!" - this is the record he was talking about. In '89, Strong City Records released Ultimate Force's "I'm Not Playin'" hit which saw the introduction of Diamond D to the record-buying public (see dope Hip Hop 7"s post below). Rather then use a typical funk or James Brown loop, he and Master Rob decided to flip up Albert King's heavy blues track shown here, and to awesome effect. The track also became synonymous in later years when the "random" genre blew the fuck up, and this hype lead to the Ultimate Force unreleased LP dropping earlier this year.
Albert King provides us with some ill guitar licks and snappy drums in this track, with his woeful tale of recording this music, and even moans how "no-one has had a hit outta this studio since Sam & Dave". Now that's the blues for ya!
I've added a clip below for your lstening pleasure, and also a quick loop which demonstrates how easy the Hip Hop classic was created from this funky Stax joint. Props to Diamond D, he spotted that shit first!

Cold Feet
Cold Feet loop

AREA CODE 615 - Stone Fox Chase (1970 Polydor)

Possibly the funkiest harmonica ever, and a percussively excellent track. This original B-Boy break from '70 has provided the backdrop for several artists over the years incl. Mantronix & MC Tee, but most notably used for Kool G Rap & DJ Polo's "Trilogy of Terror". The track is taken from the Nashville band's "Trip In The Country" LP.
Simple yet funky shakers introduce the track, with the funky mouth-organ riff continuing throughout. The drum and percussion solo comes early on this one, and continues for several similar yet slightly different bars. At one point the percussion changes and some soft vibes bring an oriental feel to the track.
STONE FOX CHASE also became the theme music for the BBC's "OLD GREY WHISTLE TEST" music show in late 1971. A very easy 7" to find beacuse of its widespread release on Polydor, this funky 45 also features a mellow sample on the flipside as used by The Grassroots on Conception records (Props to Mr. Attic and Mr. Supreme). Enjoy the snippet below and check out my Mantronix-style flip on the loop! LOL
Stone Fox Chase
Stone Fox Chase loop

Z.Z. HILL - I Think I'd Do It (1971 Mankind Records)
A popular record amongst old school beatheads and more recently revered as the drum loop utilised on the Paul C produced classic "Pelon" by 360 degrees. If you check your old school tapes this one appears regularly for good reason - a fidgetty drum roll intro leads into a burst of head nod drums ripe for the picking. One hell of a guitar stab immediately follows the drums and the record just screams at you...."use me for doubles!". No wonder this appeared on the UBB series - it's great for b-boys to get down to, and just as nice for MCs to rock their shit over. But for some reason it always sounds fresh when I hear this tune, unlike some overkilled breaks which can be tiring to hear again. Taken from Z.Z Hill's "Brand New" LP from 1971, the Texas-born Blues & Soul legend has given us a classic!
I found my copy on 45rpm from a local boot sale for £1.00, so it's out there to be found. The bright green and yellow label should help your sunday-morning eyes spot one amongst the piles of dusty rock and pop sevens!
Also used on Eric B and Rakim's "Eric B is on the Cut", Ghostface Killah's "Winter Warz", Jungle Brothers' "Good Ole Hype Shit" and even NWA on "Something Like That". Bonafied classic shit!

Do It
Do It loop

Thursday, 2 August 2007

Golden Era gems

I'm not a great lover of the phrase "random rap", although I do use the term. OK, so I know it's a rap record, and I understand that it's a random one at that (unfamiliar artist, label etc.) but the term doesn't tell me a whole lot. For example, it may be random, but it could also be absolutely shit at the same time! I would much rather refer to quality hip hop records between 87-92 as golden era gems, or "undiscovered gems" if it's one I don't know. Now that tells me much more. I thought we called our genre Hip Hop anway?? After all, rap is something you do, hip hop is something you live.
Nuff of the politics. The GOLDEN ERA did certainly produce a lot of slept-on killer records that didn't register on our hip hop radars back in the day, there's no denying that. And, dare I say it, a lot of it is better than some of the records I DID buy back then. But at the time I, and many others, focused on the big name records like BDP, Public Enemy, Tuff Crew, EPMD, Slick Rick, the Juice Crew and its affiliates, Lord Finesse, 3xD, Ultramags blah blah blah.... My meager budget back then was my pocket money alone, which I spent mostly from GROOVE RECORDS in Greek St in the Soho area of London. Back then I bought music from artists that I was familiar with, or records that were blowing up on radio with Tim Westwood, Mike Allen, Dave Pearce etc etc.. Any Hip Hop collector will tell you that eBay and the Internet in general has helped many of us fiends complete the big names' sections in our collections. I have spoke to many hip hoppers who tell me "yeah I got all the Cold Chillin's, everything on B-Boy Records, most of the Tommy Boy releases..." and so on.

Hence it was only natural that sooner or later the true heads were going to start digging deeper (excuse the pun) to find quality hip hop wax. I had already determined that the GOLDEN ERA was where my heart was, and it always amazed me over the years how many lesser-known, killer records I had from that period. So I always looked for more of that stuff, that maybe wasn't played on radio, wasn't played in the clubs, or played to me by friends/other hip hoppers.

I already had certain records in my racks which I bought on issue, which always got other heads asking. SIR FRESH & DJ CRITICAL "Sir-Vere" was one of them. This track was uptempo raw beats and killer rhymes, yet very few knew or owned it? Another was RAW DOPE POSSE "Listen to My Turbo" ). Both incredible records by anyone's standards, and tracks like these spurred me on to search out more of this dope shit!

Of course having eBay at my disposal has enabled me to buy lots more previously undiscovered gems from this period, particularly between 1988-1990. I ain't gonna front on no-one, I use eBay for what it's worth. I know to some diggers eBay is a dirty word and they say shit like "It ain't real diggin'!". But YO! I get around when it comes to buying wax so trust me I have, and still do, put the digging hours in. And as often as humanly possible. But if I can cop some extra-special-off the-wall-dope-raw-shit on the Bay then I'm gonna do that too! And that is where the floodgates opened.

For several years now I've seen the hype machine around "random" rap work overtime. Now it seems anything on a small record label or from an unknown artist gets the hype treatment in the hope of the seller paying off his/her mortgage! And this isn't confined to the web either - I have seen various record spots now have the obligatory "random" section for all the unheard of stuff. I remember seeing a copy of Almighty Marski - "Leader of the Force" 12" make up to 100 US dollars (approx £50.00) purely because of the Paul C connection. However those that have heard or own the record know it's more like a wack house record than a thumping hip hop tune! More and more now I see hip hop wax making well over 3 figures in price, and sometimes hitting 4 figures. Some I know, some I don't.

So what I aim to do here is to separate some of the wheat from the chaff, the goddamn awful from the simply incredible, and the crap from the classics. And more importantly I want to stress that the price of a record does not always determine how dope it is. I have bought handfulls of records over the years for one or two pounds only that are killer tunes. The less hype the better if you ask me!

So here we go - below are some my fave gems from the 87-92 period. This isn't a definitive list by any means, but more a helping hand to those who love decent hip hop from the GOLDEN ERA but don't want to break the bank owning it. For obvious reasons I will not be listing the classics from that time as we could be here all day, and if you don't know your Eric B & Rakim from your EPMD then there's not much hope already! I will also add a soundclip for each for those who want to sip the dopeness. I hope you see something ya didn't know already.

First out the box is THE POWER OF TWO & THE NO JOKE CREW - "We Got The Jam" 12" single on GERMAT records from 1987.
It's not an expensive record to find whatsoever, but this lesser known track encapsulates the vibe created during the NY borough wars made famous by the Juice Crew/BDP diss records. Funky drum programs here rather than sample based drum loops, but funky as hell - think Marley Marl Scratch and you're on the right lines. With some classic funk stabs laced over the beat and a touch of Bob James' "Nautilus"....what more could you ask for? Some scratching? Check! We got some neat transforming courtesy of DJ Steve Thomas. Repping for Manhattan throughout, MC Zinc (Shawn Jenkins) certainly has skills and an interesting vocal sound. With Tim Dog also named in the crew (could this be?) and Keyboard Money Mike in the credits, this is a surefire winner. Click below for a SOUNDCLIP. Mastered by Dick Charles with signature in the run-out. Matrix no. G-347.

Power of Two - We Got The Jam

My second choice is DR. LUV & KEV-SKI - "I Ain't Goin' Out Like That" 12" on Zakia from 1988.
A really strong release from Doug E Fresh's affiliates, which did get some airplay back on it's release, but often missed by the record buying public. The A-side title track is a James Brown influenced stormer, using a "There It Is pt.1" loop to great effect. Plus some famous JB whoops and oowws to hype the track. Trust me this is KILLER! And that's before we've mentioned the bonus cut "Overdose" on the B-side. Kev-Ski rips some seriously dope rhymes while Dr. Luv cuts up 2 copies of Miami's "Chicken yellow"....pure hip hop magic! Cop it or miss out on a great record! Peep the SOUNDCLIP of "Overdose" below, and read more about the duo on F/W etched in the run-out. Matrix no. PAL-7221

Dr. Luv & Kev-Ski - Overdose

Now for one of my personal favourites - WITCHDOCTOR - "Takin' No Shorts" 12" on Timberwolfe records outta NY from '88. Now this is raw! The follow-up single to "Kickin' It Live " from 1987, this record leaps out ya speakers and cold fucks you up! Much harder than their earlier release, this 3-track 12" kicks off with the title track and has you hooked from the word go. As one MC says...."The element of suprise - the main attraction, Rock Master J is in effect & it's time for action"". Firstly the sounds of footsteps, then a doorbell, leading to a scratched beat intro to die for. When it drops we are talking heavy! Using Sly Stone's "Sing a Simple Song" break, MCs Count Coolout, Rock Master J and the Mellow Nate Dee drop jaw-dropping lyrics while Witchdoctor keeps the beat and rips the cuts.
Track 2 entitled "R.A.P." is also a stormer in its own right, and featured on a DJ Koco Mix (probably the track that made you shout "holy snap!". And the final bonus joint "Bust the Beat Olori" feat Olori Rock puts most human beatbox records to shame. Dope stuff and no slack whatsoever. And personally signed by the WITCHDOCTOR himself, what more could you want, other than maybe a soundclip?.....well it's a pleasure! Just click on the links below. Herbie Jr signature and smily face in the run-out. Matrix No. TW2002.

Witchdoctor - Takin' No Shorts

Witchdoctor - R.A.P.

Unsuprisingly the next record has been much slept-on. Maybe it was the lousy cover art, or the fact that GM Flash, Melle Mel and the Furious had "fallen off" somewhat following their early 80's success? I personally passed up the record for years and years in favour of better looking records. Surely I had heard the best from Melle Mel already? The GRANDMASTER MELLE MEL & THE FURIOUS 5 - Piano 1989 LP on Sylvia Robinson's Sugarhill offshoot NEW DAY RECORDS, not only looks wack, but it sounds wack. But here applies the phrase "never judge a book by it's cover". The beats on most of this 10 track LP were spot-on for the late 80's era. Classic uptempo breaks are looped tight and left for Melle Mel et al to run their shit. Using Babe Ruth, KC & The Sunshine Band, James Brown, ESG and EW&F samples to name just a few. The label doesn't offer many clues to who the production was really down to, but Kid Capri gets a credit for his scratches. If you never really liked Melle Mel and F5 from the old school days then I suggest you do try & check for this LP - it may be a nice change to hear sample-based beats behind the Furious. Kinda refreshing even! MASTERED BY TRUTONE stamp in the run-out. Matrix no. ND-222.

Melle Mel & Furious 5 - Freestyle

Melle Mel & Furious 5 - Drug Wars

Melle Mel & Furious 5 - Revenge

Another easy to find and relatively inexpensive twelve is GET LARGE POSSE - "Large is How We Livin'" 12" on Egyptian Empire Records from 1988. A 3-tracker featuring MC Capone on the mic with MC JH, and co-produced by the duo along with General Jeff. As happens regularly with Hip Hop releases, the B-Side wins again. This record for me is all about "No Slippin' Allowed" on the flip using the same O'Jays "Give the People..." break that Gangstarr later used on "Step in the Arena", and EPMD used on "Gice the People...". A lazy horn intro, a quick countdown, followed by some dope drums, a Maceo stab and the instruction is to GET FUNKY! Plus there is some very nice cutting towards the end (check soundclip). This track stands head and shoulders above the others namely "Large Is How We Livin'" and "Dope Stuff". Also check out MC Capone's later release "Smoove Style" which appeared on DJ Ivory's Hear No Evil series. Certainly no slippin' here! S-22567 & 8 etched in the run-outs. Matrix no. DMSR-00886.

Get Large Posse - No Slippin' Allowed

I have a particular fondness for this next record. The scenario was as follows - 5 or 6 years ago I'm digging deep in a local wax spot (Rhythm Records in Walthamstow, East London - now closed unfortunately) and have had little joy despite a good 2 hours searching. Then this records pop up into my peripheral vision in the next stack along. I have a few pieces on POSSE Records already so I know to check for this label, & then I notice in the production credits "engineered by CJ at 1212". For any golden era rap nerd these are the words you wanna read!
The record was THE RANGERS - "I'm Hot" 12" on POSSE RECORDS from 1988, and priced at a mere 2 pounds. But was it any good? I was unfamiliar with the group, although "I'm Hot" sounded familiar. And what an apt title it turned out to be, cuz this track is HOT!
Originally released on Woo-Jon Records (sought after record) and picked up later by POSSE, and despite not having "Jack's On Crack" on the flip, the title track is off-the-hook. From the "I know you gonna dig this" intro onwards, Jazzy G's confident rhymes explode over the sample-laden beats (James Brown - The Payback amongst many others) and in typical studio 1212 style the beats are so well crafted and recorded that this track holds your attention from beginning to end. At the time of writing this I can see 2 sensibly priced copies listed on eBay. My advice is to BUY ONE!


...more golden era niceness to come, please check back with us real soon.