hip hop . r'n'b . trap


Genre pick of the week Cover of Deep Cover / Bad Ways by Dr Dre / Too Short.
Straight West Coastin' right here folks, as we find out exactly what happens when Compton and Long Beach together on the A-side, and indulge in a bit of the pimp lifestyle on the flip. Originally released in 1992, "Deep Cover" (recorded for the soundtrack of the movie of the same name) was Dre's first volley after leaving NWA, and what a sureshot it was! Built on arguably his hardest ever beat, the cut depicts a drug deal gone bad and an police attempt to turn Dre, and his accomplice Snoop Doggy Dogg (who shows of an outrageous flow on his first ever appearance) into snitches - the result, well, "It's 187 on an undercover cop!" On the flip, smooth mofo Too $hort, Studd, Murda One and Joe Riz trade tales of the ghetto over a sultry and steamy G-funk instrumental with a super squelching bassline. Shouts to the world wide West!


Patrick says: It's been a while since I dedicated some time to my teenage obsession with the West Coast, but man "Deep Cover" still bangs. Not only does the beat SLAP, but Snoop's debut is basically as cool as it gets! Flip it for the BBQ sauce of Too Short's "Bad Ways", another essential from an OG!

The Beatnuts

Straight Jacket / Get Funky

Bangers from the Beatnuts yo! Old Chillin pluck a couple of utter head nodders from the Queens' duo's 1994 debut LP, and slap 'em on either side of a party sized 7". On the A-side we get golden age boom bap with snatches of the Beasties and ODB chucked in for good measure, meanwhile "Get Funky" kicks a Roy Ayers sample into overdrive for the hip hop kids.


Patrick says: Old Chillin' come through with a pair of total bong-rippers here from Queens duo Beatnuts' 1994 debut, now cherry picked and sprinkled on a tasty 7" joint.

And another one! The funk freaks at Originals drop another sizzling 7" platter on our undeserving asses, kicking off the twenties in wild style. One the A-side we get a concise recut of Bob James jazz-funk bomb "Farandole", fresh as it was back on "Two" in 1975, while the flipside sees Cypress Hill beatfiend DJ Muggs and Planet Asia sample Bob's banger for a hard hitting hip hop jam with a guest spot from good buddy B Real.

Back again with a pair of edits in the lower BPM spectrum, Jim Sharp takes us on a regional tour of the South. Side A, breaks down then reassembles an early West Coast gangsta hit, Dopeman. Us-ing the OG drums and extending the breaks, this will rock dance floors and bass bins alike. The B side, takes us to the Dirty South with 808 kicks, sprinkler Hi-Hats and sweet Soul music. I Chose You Could be dropped at a bounce party or a wedding. Willie Hutch sounds like an International Player with the revamped construction and drums. 


Patrick says: Jim Sharp does his thing for Soul By The Pound here, breaking down and building up NWA classic "Dopeman" as a bass heavy, break-led beast then recreating that killer beat from UGK's "Int'l Players Anthem" on the flip.

Stormzy rolls out his second full-length record and if you've caught the news this week, you'll know the rapper has 'stormed' (ahem) the Brit Awards. Picking up Best Male, and with a triumphant headline slot on Glastonbury’s Pyramid Stage behind him, his mind is firmly fixed on playing Wembley and with "Heavy Is The Head" under his belt, worldwide stardom beckons.

The 25-year old’s rare blend of swagger, soulfulness and storytelling - reminiscent in several ways of Jay-Z - have him set for even greater international success, and he can already count Coldplay’s Chris Martin and close friends Ed Sheeran and Adele among his many admirers.

Following the release of "Gang Signs" and "Prayer", his award-winning, platinum-selling debut album, Stormzy may no longer be stepping between the street and the sermon, but he’s still walking between two worlds: that of the celebrity and of the Everyman. His desire to stay grounded is evident; as his career continues to soar, he seems more and more determined to help others reach new heights of their own.

From his arrival on the mic, Stormzy has always seemed more than a mere MC; it’s therefore fitting that, these days, he’s also a publisher, philanthropist and budding cultural icon. In 2019, he has become a cover star for both ELLE Magazine - for which cover he also curated a photoshoot of young British stars in the fields of art, sport and fashion - and TIME Magazine, who profiled him as one of its 'next generation leaders'. He has founded Stormzy Scholarship, which funds the study of four black students at Cambridge University, and which is now in its second year of grantmaking. On a similar tack, he has collaborated with Penguin Random House UK to create Merky Books, an imprint which champions the work of black writers, and whose Writers’ Prize looks for the best authors of the next generation. Merky Books has just announced its latest round of titles, a blend of established stars such as Malorie Blackman and exciting newcomers like Derek Owusu.

With no limit to where his career on or off stage can go next, there’s one theme to which Stormzy keeps returning: that of authenticity, the guiding theme of his new album. 'If you’re scared of your truth', he explains, 'that’s when people don’t know where you’re coming from. And I’m not scared of my truth, at all.'


Matt says: The next generation's grime mega-star. Stormzy continues his ascension to godlike rap messiah with this prize-winning album.


2xColoured LP Info: 140 gram gold vinyl in a gatefold sleeve.

Tall Black Guy & Karizma

A Franklin Black Excursion

We begin 2018 on a slightly spiritual note, and a brand new Excursion. A vinyl-only 7" flip courtesy of a delightful dream-team duo; Tall Black Guy and Karizma.
A real pleasure to welcome these two to the fold, here with 'A Franklin Black Excursion' - a double-header of beautiful re-interpretations of a classic by the Queen of Soul…
For those that don't know, Tall Black Guy is a regular favourite from our sister-label, First Word Records, on which he's released two albums over the past few years ('8 Miles To Moenart' and 'Let's Take A Trip'). Detroit-born Terrel Wallace has built a solid rep in recent times as one of the most revered beatmakers on the planet. Initially pricking peoples ears with a series of incredible edits, he has garnered fans far & wide from Gilles to Jazzy Jeff (with whom he's become a regular stalwart of The PLAYlist Retreat sessions). Production, remixes and collabs have included Moonchild, Little Dragon, Masego, Terrace Martin, Zara McFarlane, The Mouse Outfit and Stro Elliot.
Karizma, aka Kaytronik, aka Kris Klayton, is a deeply prolific cat from Baltimore, releasing music since the mid-nineties on assorted tips; Deep House & Techno, Broken Beat, Hip Hop and Jazz, including his massive club track last year, 'Work It Out'. His collabs include DJ Spen, Kenny Dope, Peven Everett, Osunlade, Atjazz and releases on labels like Strictly Rhythm, Defected, BBE and Sonar Kollectiv. The list of remix projects is remarkable too, including among it Mary J Blige, Lenny Kravitz, Roy Ayers and Jocelyn Brown. Kris has been awarded various accolades as a DJ over the years; his technical prowess on CDJs being the stuff of legends.
'Gifted People' has a low-slung double-time beat as its backbone, cruising across a classic piano loop, whilst the flip sees 'Kaytronik's Gifted & Black Remix' transposing the same groove to a solid deep no-messin' 4/4 beat and bassline warm enough to thaw that pesky Winter ice off your dancing sneaks. Both sides are heads-down lights-off dancery affairs.
These tracks were originally only available from TBG's fan site on a very limited release back in 2016. This is the first time these have ever been dropped on to the masses on a readily-available physical form! Don't expect this one to hang around for very long though… Essential piece of wax.

Various Artists

Dusty Donuts 17

To the Wesssstside! Side A is treated with heavy synth play by Doc Flex infused with a funky guitar lick to get everybody Lifted in the club from the Gin & Juice. It’s enough for George to change his surname to McDre. On the flip, Evelyn let’s us know the The Show Is Over and also How We Do It on a smooth soulful stroll down Crenshaw Blvd. Two G-Funk tracks that are cold as Ice Cubes. 


Patrick says: Massive Mash Ups here from Doc Flex and NMX as George McRae's "I Get Lifted" meets "Gin N Juice" and Evelyn King's "The Show Is Over" gets a full extension over Ice Cube's "You Know How We Do It".

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