Let the Beat Build #28: March 2015
Spotify: Let the Beat Build #28: March 2015
Diversions: LTBB 28 Diversions
1. “The Breaks” - Kurtis Blow
KW: Let’s pick it up where we left off. I first heard this song, sort of, when it was remade by De La Soul on Stakes is High. Lines from this song appear everywhere, just like I keep hearing people ripping off the chord progression for “Sweet Jane,” sometimes good, sometimes crushingly boring. But this song is fresh.
2. “Fresh” - Fresh 3 MC’s
JW: This song is also fresh. Booyah! If you don’t count Thriller, I stepped into hip hop in 1986 with Raising Hell and License To Ill. So a lot of my pursuit and understanding went backwards. I didn’t hear this song until it was on the Fresh Original Motion Picture Soundtrack in 1996. I think I’d already heard Mariah by then, and was excited to hear that that catchy tune came from something, er, better.
3. “Go See the Doctor” - Kool Moe Dee
KW: I’m trying to come up with a rock song that handles this subject, elegantly or not. I can’t think of one off the top of my head. JW: Love Bites? Not good enough… JW: SO GOOD - "Have it your way, if that's your choice
And I'll put it down if you want me to put it
But don't blame me if it turns into a foot
Extending from the middle of your body
And the next time you see your cute hottie
You won't be able to screw, the only thing you can do
Is just kick her, so go take karate"
4. “Jack the Ripper” - LL Cool J
JW: “'Cause I made 'em play it, made 'em say it
Made 'em okay it, made 'em obey it---huh!
Prince of the growl is on the prowl
How you like me now punk? You living foul”
Classic beef. One of the best battle tracks since The Bridge Is Over. I’ll bet that made him sting for more than three days.
5. “You Must Learn” - KRS-One / Boogie Down Productions
KW: Didactic rapper makes party jam, taking on the whole education system. Bronx rejoices.
6. "Louder Than A Bomb" - Public Enemy
JW: Political rapper tells the story of a rebellious voice under constant watch by law enforcement, ignored by fearful mainstream media. 25 years ahead of its time.
7. “Talkin’ All That Jazz” - Stetsasonic
KW: LIGHTNING ROUND, GO! Prince Paul is all over late 1980s hip hop, on so many seminal records. I’d never heard Stetsasonic until I dug for this one. For hip hop, Public Enemy broke new ground, broached new topics, and made it easy for other artists to take the same defiant stance. I dig how this track is just as defiant, but about the music itself, and the way it is made.
8. “Don’t Sweat the Technique” - Eric B. and Rakim
JW: Prince Paul is a champion. We’ll come back to him. I just couldn’t get to Naughty By Nature without dropping some Rakim. GO!
9. “Scenario” - A Tribe Called Quest
KW: So many hip hop blueprints in this track. I love how Tribe sampled themselves from this track later on Midnight Marauders. How could you skip over 1990/1991 and go straight to 1992? Unless Tribe appears like three times in this list?
10. “Pin The Tail On The Donkey” - Naughty By Nature
JW: Lightning Round confession: Never heard this song before. But it’s ‘91. It’s surprisingly dexterous. I like that they’re pinning tails on things besides the donkey. GO!
11. “Pacifics (Sdtrk ‘N.Y. is Red Hot’)” - Digable Planets
KW: Early 90s New York hip hop was crazy influential on me when I first got to New York. I never spent enough time with Digable Planets. JW: Rebirth of Slick roped us all in, but for the people who actually listened to this album a lot, Pacifics was the keystone.
12. “Who Shot Ya?” - Notorious B.I.G.
JW: Hard to follow Digable Planets. Also hard to follow 1993. Let’s just go straight to the best year in Hip Hop History.
13. “Stop Smoking That Shit” - KMD
KW: This was supposed to come out in 93, but it didn’t happen and it was a bootleg for years. I wish I had gotten this bootleg. Isn’t this the fucking jam? JW: It is.
14. “Pass the 40” - Black Sheep
JW: For the kid. For letting your A&R guy in. For every produced track that recreates a cypher and keeps the energy. Pass the 40 cuz my momma’s not lookin. KW: Black Sheep busted out the gonorrhea reference. Two years later, Ol’ Dirty owned the gonorrhea reference.
15. “Wu-Tang Clan Aint Nuthing ta F’ Wit” - Wu-Tang Clan
KW: So good. Just so fucking good.
16. “Firm All-Stars” - Foxy Brown, Pretty Boy
JW: SO CLOSE, Li’l Kim. So close, MC LYTE. I wouldn’t necessarily say the Firm ain’t nuthin’ ta fuck with, but I would say they take their role play seriously. I like this song in this order because it represents the transition from art imitating life to art imitating life imitating art.
17. “Brooklyn Zoo” - Ol’ Dirty Bastard
KW: “I keep planets in orbit, while I be comin’ with deeper and more shit.” The world needs more swagger like this. More completely fucking insane-o-flex rhymes.
18. “Bring The Pain” - Method Man
JW: Meth’s so raw that when he tears the flesh from your bones his beard stubble poisons your bloodstream. (what?)
19. “Guess Who’s Back” - Rakim
KW: It’s interesting to revisit this song, which I haven’t heard in probably a decade. Within the context of Wu and Nas, it really shows how Rakim was influenced by the people he influenced. That’s just dope.