domingo, março 25, 2007

Stones Throw’s indie rap and soul

I’m not a religious person but thank god for labels like Stones Throw. Stones Throw knows that the foundation of hip-hop starts with classic soul and rare grooves. For more than 10 years now, they’ve been releasing throwback left- and offside hip-hop and funksoul projects that nobody else would dare to release or re-release (an extensive part of their catalogue consists of old skool material).
As a kind of random field guide, I offer a private collection of songs that are full of fire and spirit and — above all — soul.

046 Gary Wilson - Soul Travel 1973
First some early ‘70s bizarro funk Soul Travel from Gary Wilson. He’s one of those persons for whom the term cult is a highly appropriate brand. Just read this Wikipedia article on
Gary Wilson.

047 Percee P & Koushik - Reverse Part 2
Next Percee P’s speed raps over a sample of Turkey’s first lady of funk, Selda, in a collaboration with Koushik on Reverse Part 2. Percee P has been emceeing since 1979 and is considered one of the few old skool rappers still in the game. He is something of a legend in the underground scene although he has never released an official album of his own. Instead he performed many guest appearances on other alternative and underground hip-hop artists' releases but change is on it’s way, Percee P is currently working on his first official release at Stones Throw.

048 Koushik - Be With
049 Koushik - None In Mind
More output from producer and a vocalist Koushik and somethin’ you might not expect to come out on Stones Throw. Be With and None in Mind are melodic and textural works reminiscent of '60s psychedelic pop, Shuggie Otis, Manitoba or even Beck. What does the trick for me is Koushik's soft, airy voice (reminiscent of My Bloody Valentine and Manitoba) but it doesn't act as the main attraction. He rather uses it as a DJ would, as another sound to add to the songs.

050 Jay Dee aka J Dilla - Two Can Win
American hip hop producer and MC J Dilla aka Jay Dee emerged from the mid-‘90s underground hip-hop scene in Detroit. J Dilla's work received cult-status and embodied the
neo soul or nu-soul sound, playing a defining role up till 2006 when he died. J Dilla was highly regarded by better known producers as Kanye West and Pharrell Williams, who named him as his favourite producer.

051 Dudley Perkins - Falling
After the success of Lauryn Hill more and more rappers and emcees changed their style and started back singing instead of rapping. Dudley Perkins, also known as rapper Declaime, is Madlib’s vocal muse. Perkins has an extremely unique sounding voice, but he’s no traditional singer. He released an album of just him singing and doing spoken word over beats produced by Madlib. The track Falling is one of the best songs on the album and mainly a spoken-word piece over an incredible Madlib beat. The mid-tempo rhythm just glides along as a complicated and melancholy orchestral motif plays. The many different melodies change and integrate with each other. It is the best Madlib beat I have ever heard.

051 Mr. Magic - Earth Break
052 Mr. Magic - Coast to Coast [Edan Edit]
053 Mr. Magic - Potential 1980
054 Outlaw Four - Million Dollar Legs
055 Cuzz Band - I Just Wanna Dance
056 Positive Choice Band – 2001 Kazoo’s
And in order to end, a strong emphasize on Mr. Magic as heard on the compilation of old-school rap Third Unheard. Mr. Magic was New York's first all-rap radio DJ, but before that he was a Connecticut rap impresario. Connecticut's proximity to New York allowed it to be among the first to fall sway to the newest form of party music in the late ‘7os. Third Unheard is full of naive but fresh old-school amateur charm. Something nostalgic for the old folks, as to speak.
12-year-old Pookey Blow, nephew to Magic, shows up with Magic for the highly rated rare groove Earth Break, followed by Coast to coast and Potential 1980.
Apart from Mr. Magic there was in 1980 more going on in Connecticut as shown in the tuneless-yet-still-compelling chorus of the Outlaw Four's disco-rap Million Dollar Legs, Cuzz Band’s I Just Wanna Dance and Positive Choice Band’s 2001 Kazoo’s.

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