Friday 28 December 2007

All Hail the Drums!

Let's face it...if we didn't have Drums we wouldn't have Hip Hop music. And without them we wouldn't be here indulging so deeply in this love of Hip Hop in the first place! The majority of musical compositions today rely on the drums as the backbone of the piece, creating tempo for the song and keeping time for all other instruments to follow. The subconscious connection between the rhythmic drum patterns and our own heartbeat of life has meant the drums has become and integral part of music today and no doubt will be in the future. And Hip Hop culture itself was born in essence from the drum beat itself. The scratched and looped patterns of funky drums spun in the parks & community centres of the Bronx seemed to have an incredible effect on the listeners. At first it was the B-Boys and B-girls who took it as an invite to toprock, throwdown, and do the do. And soon after emcees accepted the drums' invite to unleash their rhythmic poetry on the awaiting crowd. Hip Hop's creation had begun, but without that initial spark of those funky drum joints....would it have happened?? I doubt it.

So what we are going to do here is pay homage those artists who blessed us with some of the hardest and funkiest drums on the planet. Without them we couldn't make Hip Hop music the way we do.Some of the records we will feature have been widely used within Hip Hop and sometimes in other forms of music. Some will be lesser known, but we're more than happy to spread the knowledge for the lesser known funky break beat. Hopefully one or two of you reading this will feel the urge to contribute 2 or 3 of your own. Please feel free to hit us off at the usual address, and we will add them to the list and give you your props.

And please remember, the use of drum breaks in Hip Hop spawned a million other musical genres and totally re-defined the way most music would be made for generations to come. There, I've said it!! I'll get off my soapbox now...

So here's a few classic beats to get us started.....Of course we ain't gonna hit you with our stingers straight away, but they will definitely come later LOL! The first three are examples of great drums for looping, and the Locomotiv GT joint is more of a B-Boy break, but still a party rocker!! The drums and vocal chants get busy on that one towards the end, so stick with it and feel the groooove!! First out the drums crate is.....

Fausto Papetti - Love's Theme

JSD Band - Green Fields (of America)

Passport - Puzzle

Locomotiv GT - Rock Yourself

Butts Band - Caught In The Middle

Alice Cooper - Public Animal #9

..and a BIG thanks to RICKY RICK for putting us up on this one below. Snappy drums no doubt! Keep 'em coming!

T.Life - Checkin' Out Your Love

"Cold break ill with the drummer - HIT ME!!"

Kid Dyno

Monday 17 December 2007

Beats on Toast

Ahhh yAWn! On a day when I have no work or other early morning plans (of which there are few) I like nothing more than to kick back, switch on the sampler, pull out some dusty reccuds, and flip a few early morning beats. I like to think of it as my "beats on toast" to start the day.

Our first ingredient is a horn burst, followed by a helping of atmospherics, served with a dusty breakbeat chopped in two for easy digestion. OK so this isn't exactly gourmet cooking at its finest, but it will help you start your day bright and cheery.
I follow this with a rich helping of sleazy sax, surrounded by snappy drums, with a hint of flute. Watch out for the hidden stabs!

Mostly, I like to serve it up on the plate within a few minutes. I try never to complicate things when cooking up a selection. Too many ingredients can spoil a dish!

So, pop a couple of slices of funk in yo toaster and enjoy!

breakfast #1

breakfast #2

and if you're still hungry?

Saturday 8 December 2007

Real Beats and Real Raps

Here at DAILY DIGGERS HQ, we're what you would call Hip Hop Purists. By that I mean that we only buy or listen to Hip Hop that truly represents the art form as it was originally intended. I know many people would call that a "blinkered" view of things, and then proceed to tell us that Hip Hop music should be progressive, but we're simply being honest. We're not haters! If so-and-so rapper has earnt millions from gangsta rappin' then best of luck to him. But for us, Hip Hop music should follow the paths the originators and forefathers laid down for us to follow. Not saying there wasn't violence back in the days, and far from it, but Hip Hop was intended to unite people and discourage gang culture, not glorify it! So all that gun-toting drug-selling bitch-slapping Cristal-drinking sound module-punching rap rubbish don't mean shit to us. Say word!

The period from 1990 through to the late 90's saw some incredible releases which were "must-buys". Both the classic early 90's stuff and in particular the mid 90s Indy rap scene was incredible. But over the last ten years of the so-called "Rap Industry", we found ourselves buying less and less new releases and we readily admit we turned our backs on the industry and its bullshit product. And it wouldn't be the first time either. There have been several periods in Hip Hop's history where the industry and its artists don't know which way to turn. From the very early days the industry thought Hip Hop was a "craze" or "fad" and just decided to milk it for what it was worth while they could. This point shows exactly how "out of touch" the industry can be - they didn't see the Hip Hop culture as a genre with longevity. For them it was here today and gone tomorrow, and even the gangster fraternity wanted a piece of the action to earn extra cash and launder their dirty money. Hence many artists got "jacked" back in the day - labels offered crumby deals, or in many cases just blatantly never paid them. Just ask KRS! But overall these people only ever saw Rap Music as way of making money in the short term. No-one (except the kids involved) ever thought Hip Hop would reach the age of 30 and become a major influence on everything from fashion to TV, music to cinema, art to politics.....and also spread to every continent worldwide.
Despite it's ups and downs, our love for Hip Hop has always kept us connected, and it always eventually rises like a phoenix from the flames to re-birth in a new form, which is truer to the artform. We've seen it happen several times so we were confident things would turn back around.

And luckily for us real hip hoppers out there, the politics of the biz and the constant weak product would again turn round on the industry itself and bite it on its own arse! The whole mp3 over CDs argument has been a major blow for the Record Companies. Despite all the new-millennium technology at their disposal it has still lead to their sales plummeting, whilst illegal downloading and file-sharing have increased dramatically amongst music fans. What comes round goes around I say.
But the artists themselves have used the same technology to their own advantage. Now the lack of respect for the artist from above has lead to bands taking on the whole pressing/manufacturing/distribution thing themselves with incredible results. And with sites like myspace etc., getting your music heard by the people you want has become a reality, without the need for a huge budget and a team of lawyers/accountants etc.. And more importantly the musical composition remains as you want it to be; no label influence or politics to deal with. This is great news for the artists and the fans. So now we're feeling positive about the Hip Hop scene again - we can ignore the weak-ass "rap" we see on TV and hear on major radio station playlists, and investigate the new independent groups out there on Internet Radio, Myspace, & Hip Hop forums for instance. There's even specialist sites like 16pads that runs a monthly beat competition for aspiring producers. Once again it's all good in the Hip Hop hood, and we're enjoying listening to new stuff again.

So when we bumped into a crew online called SPUTNIK BROWN who had a joint called "Gone Diggin'", it is safe to say we were more than intrigued.
After all, diggin' is what we do best! And these guys know their shit - in the lyrics there's a mention of New Heavenly Blue, Dalys Big Band and other secret squirrel drum breaks only hardcore diggers would know. But who are these cats?? Well, read on.....but first here's a few lines from "Gone Diggin'" and you will see exactly what I'm talking 'bout.

"My name's OX I'm a vinyl addict
Started off at 11 with this vinyl habit
Never needed toys cuz wax was all that mattered
When I see the funk in the stash - I gots to have it
45s 33s from 12s to LPs
78s whatever man it's a disease"

SPUTNIK BROWN have already paid their dues in the Hip Hop world. The crew members are...Musa The Penultimate (aka Howard Lloyd), E The 5th, Tre Best (aka Xis10s), Slim Donuts (aka Swagger Official), Oxygen (aka Ox the Architect), DJ Shark (The 'Japanese Import') and Dude Spectacular. Hailing from Long Island (the home of some of hip hop's greats) member Oxygen has been down since way back. Formerly known as Jonzhaft the Psychopath, he is already well known for rocking mics and having some mean records - he started in '88 as a ghost writer for MCs on LaRhon Records, and then dropped his own release "Groove to Get Down" on the same label which featured on DJ Muro & K-Prince's "WKOD: The Golden Era Of Hip Hop". Dues paid! So who are the other members? Musa is a childhood friend of Ox's who also got put on through the LaRhon connection, then known as KID C.H.A.O.S., and went on form House of Reps who dropped "Why It Gotta Be Me?" in 1996, along side a couple of other childhood peers INCLUDING his first cousin Tre Best . Musa also brought to the frame his good friend E tha 5th who is "the man with the beats to cause a disaster" - a cool Brooklyn cat on a mission to keep heads nodding so much we all need a neck-brace! E Tha 5th's genius began in 1991 with a busted Tascam four-track, pause tapes, and a Casio SK-1. Slim Donuts makes up the group - creatively, he and E tha 5th began formulating ideas together in 1994. Collectively, they make up the duo known as NEWSPEAK & Slim was also part of a crew of talent known as Dead Poets Society during the mid-90's. In 2003, Oxygen made his return back to New York from brief stints in Virginia & Cali, and through natural progression these creative souls united to form SPUTNIK BROWN.

Their eagerly awaited first release has just dropped on HIGH WATER MUSIC, and the 12inch features 3 stingers - "U Havin' Fun Yet?" "Brownout" and "Unadulterated". "U Havin' Fun Yet?" begins with great use of Charlie Brown (L.O.N.S.) saying "Brooooown!" and is a snappy, drumbreak-driven track with a hypnotising bassline and perfectly executed funky drum roll. Oxygen, who rhymes on this track has such a unique vocal sound (remember Gangstarr saying "It's mostly the voice"??) and drops some real clever lyrics that have you hooked from the very start. You don't wanna miss a word or beat with these guys, in case you miss something. And once the track's over, it's time to rewind and come again.

BLAAM! Have a listen to the soundclips below and see for yourself these guys got skills. If you love Hip Hop music made by artists with real skills then this crew will blow your head like the JBs! The samples are fresh out the crates, and you just know they have beats TO GO (and some stupid rare records!). "U Havin' Fun Yet?" is taken from the twelve inch, but I've also added exclusive snippets of the unreleased material "Gone Diggin'" (prod. by GENSU DEAN) and "Titles", the latter being Tre Best's incredible rundown of classic Hip Hop records from days gone.....listen carefully and see how many classics YOU can spot. Believe me the lyrics on these tracks will have you buggin'!!! And there's PLENTY MORE where this came from - ENJOY.
You can catch up with SPUTNIK BROWN's antics on their myspace page, as well as order your copy of the wax. Tell 'em the DAILY DIGGERS sent ya. Peep the new track "Hip Hop" which has recently been added, and watch out for the full-length album dropping in April 2008 entitled "THREE SHADES OF BLACK" also on HIGH WATER MUSIC. If it as well received as the twelve has been so far then we are talking "Classic Material". I also hear on the hip hop grapevine that DJ SPINNA is providing a beat for the LP. I think 2008 will be SB's year.
Also look out for Howard Lloyd's Quickie EP on sperm white wax which is also available through myspace. It may have been a quickie EP, but it's also a QUALITY EP and features the other SPUTNIK members performing at their best......if you snooze you lose!





When Sputnik blow the hell up, remember where you heard it first!!

Peace - Kid Dyno

Sunday 2 December 2007

The Joy of Diggin'

As for record buying...I'm not entirely sure whether it's the hunt I love best, or the actual kill, but suffice to say I rarely go home empty handed! And when I'm out searching for beats, I sometimes get the feeling that a dope record is just on the horizon, and today was no different. The weather was foul once again so I needed a good wax find to make my journey worthwhile, but today I just knew I would get lucky.
Now I don't want to sound like a miser here, but any good digger will always raid the bargain bins first on hitting a spot. Don't get me wrong I am happy to pay out for a particular record if it has eluded me in the past, but the bargain bins are mainly the places to find the real gems of the day. I had already gathered some Hip Hop classics into a neat pile on top of the racks (see list below), but then I headed to the bargain corner where a few FUSION records were calling me.
Stuffed at the back I found an LP that I have wanted for some while, after a couple of beat-head friends had put me up on it. I've always enjoyed funky flutes over ill drums so I guess they knew it would be right up my street.
JOE THOMAS was one hell of a funky flautist, and his 1974 Long Player on PEOPLE Records entitled "Joy of Cooking" demonstrates his prowess on the instrument. One track in particular called "Thank You (Fall Etin Me Be Mice Elf Agin)" is a perfect example of this, and it was sampled in the last few years by the very funky crew from Sweden SPEECH DEFECTif my memory serves me right (please feel free to correct me). The drums and horns on this joint are real nice too - take a peep at the soundclip below.....

And the hardcore diggers amongst you will know that MAIN SOURCE also ripped a horn/flute riff from the track "Mike" on this LP for use in "Peace Is Not the Word to Play" off the BREAKING ATOMS LP. Maybe we will feature that track another time?? Who says we don't share the knowledge here on Breaks for Days Beats for Weeks...??

So here's a rundown of today's finds...

KING TEE - Ruff Rhyme 12" (Capitol)
EPMD - Strictly Business 12" (Fresh)
DE LA SOUL - Buddy 12" (Tommy Boy)
POET - All Hell is Breaking Loose (Nu-Sounds)
UGLY DUCKLING - Fresh Mode 12" (Special)

JOE THOMAS - The Joy of Cooking LP (People)
FUNKY JUNCTION - Talking Trash (Stereo Gold Award)
JSD BAND - Travelling Days LP (Cube)
ERIC GALE - Forecast LP (Kudu) has a nice bass and horn sample used by MOBB DEEP on "It's Over" (on Landspeed).