Pete Rock & CL Smooth All Souled Out 25th Anniversary Mixtape

July 2, 2016

The homie Chris Read has crafted yet another super dope mixtape, this time to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Pete Rock & CL Smooth’s debut EP All Souled Out.

Originally posted on Wax Poetics here.



To celebrate the 25th anniversary of Pete Rock & CL Smooth’s now classic debut All Souled Out, released June 25th, 1991, our buddy Chris Read has crafted yet another stellar mix for Wax Poetics and WhoSampled. Featuring tracks from the EP, alternate versions, interview snippets, and original sample material from the likes of Eddie Kendricks and Eddie Bo, the mix pays true homage to the record that introduced the hip-hop duo and set the stage for later seminal LPs Mecca and the Soul Brother and The Main Ingredient.

Take a listen and enjoy!

Artwork by Leon Nockolds

Track list:

1. O’Donel Levy – ‘We’ve Only Just Begun’ (Sampled in ‘Mecca & The Soul Brother’)
2. Chris Read – Theme #3 (Scratchapella)
3. Pete Rock & CL Smooth – ‘Mecca & The Soul Brother’
4. Heavy D & The Boyz – ‘Gyrlz, They Love Me’ [Extract] (Sampled in ‘Mecca & The Soul Brother’)
5. Mountain – ‘Long Red’ [Loop] (Sampled in ‘Mecca & The Soul Brother (Wig Out Mix)’)
6. ESG – ‘UFO’ [Loop] (Sampled in ‘Mecca & The Soul Brother (Wig Out Mix)’)
7. Pete Rock & CL Smooth – ‘Mecca & The Soul Brother (Wig Out Mix)
8. Eddie Kendricks – ‘Girl You Need a Change of Mind’ (Sampled in ‘Good Life’)
9. Mountain – ‘Long Red’ [Extract] (Sampled in ‘Good Life’)
10. Pete Rock & CL Smooth – ‘Good Life’
11. O’Donel Levy – ‘I Wanna Be Where You Are’ [Loop] (Sampled in ‘Good Life’)
12. James Brown – ‘Funky Drummer’ [Loop] (Sampled in ‘Go With The Flow’)
13. Fred Wesley and the J.B’s – ‘You Can Have Watergate Just Gimme Some Bucks and I’ll Be Straight (7″ Version) [Extract] (Sampled in ‘Go With The Flow’)
14. Pete Rock & CL Smooth – ‘Go With The Flow’
15. S.O.U.L – ‘Burning Spear’ (Sampled in ‘Go With The Flow’)
16. Beside – ‘Change The Beat (Female Version)’ [Extract] (Sampled in ‘Go With The Flow’)
17. Eddie Bo – ‘From This Day On’ (Sampled in ‘The Creator’)
18. Pete Rock & CL Smooth – ‘The Creator’
19. Pete Rock & CL Smooth – ‘The Creator (Slide to the Side Mix)
20. Pete Rock & CL Smooth – ‘The Creator (Surfboard Mix)’
21. Lou Donaldson – ‘Turtle Walk’ (Sampled in ‘All Souled Out’)
22. Pete Rock & CL Smooth – ‘All Souled Out’

Jay Z Reasonable Doubt 20th Anniversary Mixtape

July 2, 2016

To celebrate the 20th anniversary of Jay Z’s Reasonable Doubt, the homie DJ Matman created a super fine mixtape for Wax Poetics and WhoSampled. Peep the feature as it ran on Wax Poetics below!


“My house was the party house; I had the cool parents. My pops and my mom both had afros, it wasn’t just one parent, so I had the super cool house [laughs]. And they had the record collection, but they didn’t share. They had their names on them separately. They shared a house, they shared kids, but they didn’t share records. Their name was on their records, that’s how serious it was.

It’s almost like a person that plays an instrument. You grow up in a musical family, you pick it up. And that’s what happened. Music was around me, and this thing, this form called rap, borrowed from these earlier samples. So, that was my instrument. It was only natural for me to take to this type of music.”

~ Shawn Carter, a.k.a. Jay Z


This month sees the 20th anniversary of Jay Z’s debut album Reasonable Doubt, which was released June 25th, 1996. Featuring appearances by Mary J. Blige, The Notorious B.I.G., and Foxy Brown, and production from DJ Premier, the record is a bonafide classic of it’s time. And, deemed by many to be Jay Z at his finest.

To celebrate Jigga’s classic LP, our buddy DJ Matman has crafted a fine mixtape featuring album tracks, alternate versions, interview snippets, and original sample material from the likes of the Ohio Players, Isaac Hayes, Ahmad Jamal, and many more.

Listen up and enjoy!

Artwork by Leon Nockolds


1. Isaac Hayes – ‘The Look Of Love’ (sampled in Jay- Z – ‘Can I Live’)
3. The Stylistics – ‘Hurry Up This Way Again’ (sampled in Jay-Z – ‘Politics as Usual’)
5. Hamilton Bohannon – ‘Save Their Souls’ (sampled in Jay-Z – ‘Cashmere Thoughts’)
7. Ahmad Jamal – ‘Pastures’ (sampled in Jay-Z feat Mecca – ‘Feelin’ It’)
9. Hubert Laws & Earl Kugh – ‘It’s So Easy Loving You’ (sampled in Jay-Z – ‘Regrets’)
11. Nas – The World Is Yours (Q-Tip Remix) (sampled in Jay-Z – ‘Dead Presidents’)
13. Lonnie Liston Smith – ‘A Garden Of Peace’ (sampled in Jay-Z – ‘Dead Presidents’)
14. Snoop Dogg feat Daz Dillinger -‘Murder Was The Case’ (sampled in Jay-Z – ‘D’Evils’)
16. Allen Toussaint – ‘Go Back Home’ (sampled in Jay-Z – ‘D’Evils’)
17. John Kaizan Neptune – ‘Blue Wind’ (sampled in Jay-Z ’22 Twos’)
19. Brother Brother – ‘Hey What’s That You Say’ (sampled in Jay-Z ‘Friend or Foe’)
21. Eddie Henderson – ‘Inside You’ (sampled in Jay-Z feat Memphis Bleek – ‘Coming of Age’)
25. The Whole Darn Family – ‘Seven Minutes Of Funk’ (sampled in ‘Jay-Z feat Foxy Brown – ‘Ain’t No Nigga’)
27. The Four Tops – ‘Ain’t No Woman’ (sampled in ‘Jay-Z feat Foxy Brown – ‘Ain’t No Nigga’)
28. Marcus Miller – ‘Much Too Much’ (sampled in Jay-Z feat Mary J Blige – ‘Can’t Knock Hustle’)
32. Jay-Z feat Mary J Blige – Can’t Knock The Hustle (Live at Madison Square Garden)

The Pharcyde Labcabincalifornia 20th Anniversary Mixtape

November 21, 2015

The Pharcyde’s sophomore album Labcabincalifornia is one my very favourite records. It was a real pleasure to work on this 20th anniversary feature for Wax Poetics, and to assist my homie Chris Read on the anniversary mixtape. Peep the feature below or find it on Wax Poetics here. Enjoy!


On November 14, 1995, West Coast rap group the Pharcyde released the sublime LP Labcabincalifornia. It was the follow-up to their kaleidoscopic, gold-selling first album Bizarre Ride II The Pharcyde, which had won over audiences with a refreshingly upbeat sound and cartoon-ish aesthetic on tracks like “Ya Mama,” “Passin’ Me By,” and “Otha Fish.” While equally beloved by devout fans and released only three years after their debut, the band’s second album, however, is a much more mature and soulfully sombre work.

“Every-time I step to the microphone I put my soul on two-inch reels that I don’t even own” is the haunting refrain that loops round and round over the hypnotic beat of Labcabin’s sobering and self-aware track “Devil Music.” From a band who initially won over the hip-hop scene in the early ’90s with their open and light-hearted music, what had prompted such profound meditations on the nature of being a recording artist?

pharcyde roof

The tremendous critical and commercial acclaim that Bizarre Ride received led the group to embark upon extensive touring (note: prior to the Pharcyde’s success Fatlip had never set foot on a plane before) and experience the inevitable pressures of success. Consequently, their follow-up Labcabin is in part a collection of deep reflections from a young band catapulted into stardom. Intimate musings on love, morality, music, relationships, conflict, life, and death feature throughout and resonate through the record’s rich melodies.

The tone of the Pharcyde’s music altered as their careers advanced and awareness of their surroundings became nuanced; after starting out sharing tales of teenage angst and mischief the band began talking about the pressures of the music industry and seedy experiences of earning a living through music. From the standard tales of high school crushes in Bizarre Ride’s “Passin Me By”—the classic hip-hop joint of adolescent unrequited love—uglier dynamics of romance were introduced and played out in Labcabin’s “Groupie Therapy.” The band had experienced how popularity-boosting success can attract opportunistic crowds and distort one’s real-life grounding. Even seemingly light-hearted songs about getting high reflect a marked change in the band’s outlook. Bizarre Ride’s “Soul Flower” overflows with infectious energy and enthusiasm for the rap game they are breaking into: “Michael Ross is the genie and he’s giving us our wishes,” whereas “Splattorium” on Labcabin has a much more mellowed tone and disillusioned stance: “Rollin’ herbals for the verbals. Extractions and distractions,” showing getting high as a distraction from the troubles of the industry.

The Pharcyde’s frustration with, and deviance against, the music industry and mainstream West Coast hip-hop of the time is visualised in Spike Jonze’s video for “Drop” as the group deftly defy gravity—dancing forwards whilst the masses surrounding them play in backwards motion. The video’s aesthetic and innovative directorial style are perfectly in tune with the song’s musical context and warped aural composition, courtesy of the late, great, J Dilla (back when he was still Jay Dee).

Labcabin did not initially receive the same level of reception that it’s predecessor did upon it’s release, but is a work that has steadily gained recognition. Widely upheld as one of the most influential hip-hop producers and cited as a favourite by many, J Dilla’s fan-base has been solidly growing since his tragic death in 2006—a classic case of posthumous praise of artistic talent. Dilla’s notorious innovation in sampling and his absorbing production style can be heard in the singles “Runnin’” and “Drop,” working his magic on the Stan Getz Jazz Samba Encore and The Beastie Boys, respectively.

Much of the album’s composition holds a strikingly intimate quality,  heightened by the sense that the songs chosen to be woven into Labcabin’s rich tapestry are the intensely personal and dear music tastes of the band. Straight from the soul of SlimKid3 comes the production of “She Said”—could there be a more magnetic and broodily compelling use of sampling than the presence of Buddy Miles’s electric guitar from his rendition of Neil Young’s “Down by the River?” You can imagine listening to “Down by the River” over on repeat at night, and just feel the longing and desire rising in the chest of the song’s protagonist.

And for Fatlip, incorporating “Da Mystery of Chessboxin’” into “Devil Music” stems from his personal admiration and adoration of the Wu-Tang Clan. When talking of realising the level of dedication from hard-core Pharcyde fans he has said in interviews: “Well, I can fathom it. Because I know how much I love Wu-Tang…” The placement of the verse, his own inspiration, “my hip-hop will rock and shock the nation” within such a mellow and disillusioned track is a very bittersweet poetry.

Essentially, Labcabin is a record that has endless depths and layers to experience and delve into—not only with regards to the music’s composition, but the stories and tensions behind it’s creation. Referring to the various arguments and fallings out that occurred during the recording process, J Dilla even said: “The making of the Pharcyde’s Labcabin album was hilarious. It was just all the way. It got me prepared for what was ahead in this rap game.” SlimKid3 also concludes that certain songs would have been different “all together on a spiritual level” had certain fights not broken out and been resolved as they were. While unfortunate that conflict was such a feature of Labcabin’s creation, both verbal and physical conflicts between members as well as inner conflicts within themselves, it is an undeniable component that contributes to the album holding such intensity and honesty.

Stemming from such turbulent times, Labcabin rose like a phoenix from the flames—transforming all of the Pharcyde’s energies into a sonically stunning and cohesive listening experience, one that flows like some beautifully haunting dream. Even with six different producers (including Diamond D and M-Walk) and varying emcees on each track, there is a consistent spirit and a shared mood that permeates the record.

To celebrate the twentieth anniversary of Labcabincalifornia, our friend Chris Read has crafted a fly-as-pie mix of album tracks, remixes, and original sample material. Tune in and enjoy!



1. Les McCann – ‘What’s Going On (Live)’ (sampled in ‘Bullshit’)
2. The Pharcyde – ‘Bullshit’ (Instrumental)
3. Chris Read – ‘Theme #3’ (Scratchapella)
4. Bob Marley – ‘Get Up, Stand Up’ (Loop) (sampled in ‘Bullshit’)
5. Gary Burton – ‘Sing Me Softly of the Blues’ (sampled in ‘Bullshit’)
6. Rodney Cee & Kevie Kev Rockwell – ‘Stoop Rap’ (sampled in ‘Pharcyde’)
7. The Pharcyde – ‘Pharcyde’
8. Cal Tjader – ‘The Bilbao Song’ (sampled in ‘Groupie Therapy’)
9. The Pharcyde – ‘Groupie Therapy’
10. A Tribe Called Quest – ‘Lyrics to Go’ (Loop) (sampled in ‘Groupie Therapy’)
11. Minnie Riperton – ‘Inside My Love’ (sampled in ‘Groupie Therapy’)
12. Stan Getz & Luis Bonfa – ‘Suadade Vem Correndo’ (sampled in ‘Runnin’)
13. Run D.M.C – ‘Rock Box’ (Extract) (sampled in ‘Runnin’)
14. The Pharcyde – ‘Runnin’ (Acapella)
15. The Pharcyde – ‘Somethin’ That Means Somethin’
16. The Beastie Boys – ‘The New Style’ (Extract) (sampled in ‘Drop’)
17. The Pharcyde – ‘Drop’
18. A Tribe Called Quest – ‘Check The Rhime’ (Loop) (sampled in ‘Drop (Beatminerz Remix)’)
19. The Pharcyde – ‘Drop’ (Beatminerz Remix Instrumental)
20. The Pharcyde – ‘Y?’
21. Mass Production – ‘Keep My Heart Together’ (sampled in ‘Moment in Time’)
22. The Pharcyde – ‘Moment in Time’
23. The Pharcyde – ‘Devil Music’
24. Wu-Tang Clan – ‘Da Mystery of Chessboxin’ (Loop) (sampled in ‘Devil Music’)
25. Roy Ayers and Carla Vaughn – ‘You Send Me’ (sampled in ‘The Hustle’)
26. The Pharcyde – ‘The Hustle’
27. Vince Guaraldi Trio – ‘Fly Me To The Moon’ (sampled in ‘Splattitorium’)
28. The Pharcyde – ‘Splattitorium’
29. Cannonball Adderley – Walk Tall / Mercy Mercy Mercy (sampled in ‘She Said’)
30. The Pharcyde – ‘Passin Me By’ (Extract) (sampled in ‘She Said’)
31. The Pharcyde – ‘She Said’
32. The Pharcyde – ‘The E.N.D’
33. [Bonus Track] The Pharcyde feat Lizzy Parks & Giles Barratt – ‘Runnin’ (Chris Read Rap Renaissance Remix)

Dating Advice from Female Rappers

August 29, 2015

This month I wrote my first ever article for Buzzfeed titled “16 Times Female Rappers Were Totally On Point About Relationships.” Basically an excuse to listen to all my favourite female hip-hop artists on repeat (think Bahamadia, Yo-Yo, MC Lyte, Monie Love …), I had a great time writing this piece. I’ve shared it below, and you can check it out on Buzzfeed here. Enjoy!

monie latifah

1. “Let’s Talk About Sex,” Salt-N-Pepa

“Let’s talk about all the good things and the bad things that may be.”

Salt-N-Pepa were serious trailblazers when they encouraged honest conversations about sex back in 1991. Fulfilling relationships thrive on good communication in and out of the bedroom. Your partner can’t read your mind, so it’s important to maintain a healthy dialogue where both can express feelings and share desires with one another. And really, when you have that, the only way is up.


2. “You & Me & Everyone We Know,” Jean Grae

“I think too much. Overanalyzing everything sucks.”

Word! It’s super easy to read too much into everything when feelings are at stake. But dwelling often causes headaches.

If you’ve ever found yourself analysing texts with friends and driving yourself a little too crazy, learn from Jean Greasy and try to get a handle on those thoughts. Do something to take your mind off of your relationship – get outside, exercise, see friends, create something, or even meditate. Just something to get out of your head. Over-thinking really only makes your feelings weird and can totally kill your love buzz.


3. “Who’s The Boss,” Antoinette

“Daytime, nightime, anytime’s the right time.”

Antoinette is The Boss because she knows to stay present, ready, and open in order to rise to the demand of any given moment. No question that mentality extends to her love life ;)

In “Who’s the Boss,” she reminds us there’s no such thing as perfect timing. The key is to keep your eyes, mind, and heart open so as to not miss or overlook something special just because you were too busy staring at your own feet.

Somebody special can come along whenever, so always come correct like Antoinette.


4. “Brothers Ain’t Shit,” Roxanne Shante

“Stop smilin’, I know all you wanna do is hit. And I really don’t give a shit.”

Avoid those players who are only after one thing. They’re slimy (and ain’t sh*t).

But seriously, somebody purely out to get a piece with whoever they can likely won’t be the best lover. And hooking up with them probably won’t be the best experience. Not all sexual encounters need to be cosmic lovemaking, but you want your partner to treat you like a person and not a piece of meat.

Roxanne Shante calls scuzzballs out and so should we all!


5. “Make You Mine”, MC Trouble

“Give me the time to cold break it down in a rhyme, ‘cause I think you should be my guy.”

The late MC Trouble had some serious guts. In this song, she declares her affections to her crush, and lays out exactly what she wants. This is awesome for two big reasons. Firstly, having the courage and confidence to express your feelings is super attractive. Secondly, other people can’t read your mind, and to spell out your interests could open doors that might otherwise have stayed closed.

Follow in Trouble’s footsteps. If you like someone, let them know!


6. “Can’t Play With My Yo-Yo,” Yo-Yo

“The earrings I wear are called Dolphins. Check the booty, yo, it’s kind of soft and if you touch it, you living in a coffin.”

Just because you look good, that doesn’t mean that people are entitled to something. Yo-Yo knows this and won’t put up with objectification or disrespectful attention from anyone. Basically, she’s not to be played with. And you’re not either! You’re entitled to a sense of self-respect and firm boundaries when out meeting people. It doesn’t hurt to have Ice Cube singing your hook either!


7. Tre Hardson & MC Lyte “Roots, Love, & Culture”

“I’d rather wear the last name of a brother with a brain. Hear what I’m saying?”

Despite a penchant for bad-boy Ruffnecks, MC Lyte advocates settling down with someone who isn’t a moron.

When you’re looking for a long-term partner, they’ve got to have the brain to make the long haul bearable. Intelligence is super sexy and so is the ability to hold quality conversation. Cerebral sparks are important for long-term satisfaction as much as physical desire. Go for someone who melts your mind as well as your knees.


8. Bahamadia “True Honey Buns”

“To all my girls, do what you gotta do, but it ain’t what you do, it’s how you do it.”

It’s fine to go out, get yours, and have fun; there’s really nothing wrong with partying and casual hook-ups. Just make sure it feels good and right for you. Be in charge of yourself, and know that you can do whatever’s right for you, just do it from a place of self-respect.


9. “Lookin’ Good To Me,” Nonchalant

“Looks can be deceiving. Let me tap the brain so I can justify the reason why I’m calling your name in my sleep.”

Nonchalant knows not to go for someone solely based on their looks. It’s an injustice to the cutie and to yourself.

We should should treat potential partners and hook ups the same way we want them to treat us! And when it comes down to it, do you want someone to be with you because of the beauty of their character, or just because they look good in skinny jeans?


10. “Strawberries,” MC Smooth

“Strawberries on top of me. Candlelight, a little Hennessey. That’s the way my love flows.”

In this sultry ditty Smooth reminds us that the way to keep love flowing is to keep the romance alive.

It’s easy to let the magic fizzle once you get comfortable with your partner. While there’s something so nice (and important) about letting your guard down and not trying hard to impress someone, things can get straight up boring if the romantic sexy element fades away entirely – don’t forget to treat each other every now and then!


11. “Another,” Lil’ Kim & Notorious B.I.G.

“What do ya do when your man is untrue? Do you cut the sucker off and find someone new? I need another man in my life.”

In this song Lil’ Kim and Biggie both come to realise that you shouldn’t put up with a serial cheater, and prove that sometimes the strongest ties aren’t always the healthiest.

If your partner is repeatedly being untrue and causing you pain, you have to face the facts and move on. If someone doesn’t learn from their mistakes, chances are that they’ll keep hurting you.


12. “Daddy’s Little Girl,” Nikki D

“A night so hectic, a bit unexpected. Before I made love, I shoulda been protected.”

In this song, Nikki D perfectly sums up what happens when you throw caution to the wind in a hookup. As her cautionary tale unravels, we’re reminded that not being careful can have nasty consequences.

So, learn from Nicki D and protect yourself! Unwanted pregnancies, STIs, and STDs are not the one.


13. “Born 2 B.R.E.E.D,” Monie Love

“So who are you to tell me how to run my family, I can plan it myself, I need nobody planning me.”

It’s your life. You get to decide when the time is right for you to settle down, have babies, or get married. It’s so easy to feel pressure from friends, family, and society at large to live your life a certain way and/or follow a traditional trajectory.

But as Monie states, you were born to “Build relationships where education and enlightenment dominate”. Whether you start a family young like Monie or wait until later in life, it doesn’t matter. It’s up to you to do things however is right for you. Go Monie! (Where she at?)


14. “No More Tears,” Jane Doe

“Stressed and depressed about the things you did. You broke a queen down, almost lost my crown. Not gonna cry no more.”

Love can hurt, and some breakups can leave you feeling pretty broken.

Jane Doe gets out all of the pain and frustration of ending a relationship in this song, and reminds us it’s important to feel whatever it is that we’re feeling and to process all of that emotion. Crying it out can really help. But there comes a point where you have to draw a line, and stop crying. Only then can you build yourself back up, and move on. Jane Doe knows.


15. Queen Latifah “U.N.I.T.Y.”

“Scared to let you go, even though you treated me bad.”

From sexual harassment on the streets to domestic violence in relationships, Latifah fills the refrain “Who you calling’ a bitch?” with so much stored pain and anger from the black female perspective. One of the points in “U.N.I.T.Y” is that abusive relationships aren’t loving relationships. Queen Latifah goes so far in with this song, it can be hard to listen to without choking up.


16. “It’s My Beat,” Sweet Tee

“It’s my beat, it’s my beat. It’s my beat!”

This song is the rap embodiment of “do you”; and there’s nothing more important than remembering you’ve got to do right by yourself in whether it’s in your work, your art, your friendships, or your romances.

Sweet Tee is radiant on this track simply because it’s her beat (and what a beat!). When you’re in sync with yourself, and do your thing, everything flows as it should. Sweet Tee proves that if you groove to your own beat, you’ll be irresistible.


Man Repeller Writer’s Club : First Kiss

July 4, 2015


Last month, the Man Repeller Writer’s Club set a brief to write 500 words on the time you had your first kiss. I gave it a go, and while my piece did not get selected for the Man Repeller site, I thought I would share it here. I would certainly like to think I have learnt a little more about romantic relationships since age of fourteen! You gotta laugh, hey?



For me and my young teenage girl gang, boys on wheels were the coolest. It didn’t matter whether it was a skateboard, roller blades, or a BMX (motorbikes and cars were to come later); a well-wheeled prop turned any gawky adolescent boy into an instant stud.


Shameless groupies (what would Penny Lane say? We inspiiiired the flips and tricks…), we used to hang out at skate parks wearing band t-shirts and baggy jeans to goof around with the boys. And it was when I was a never-been-kissed fourteen year old that one long-haired roller-blader finally asked me out on a date. He was seventeen. And man, that three year age gap felt cool at the time.


So we texted back and forth and one Monday after school he took me to see 8 Mile at the cinema. Going Dutch, we bought our child tickets and sat on the backrow of a pretty empty cinema.


The film hadn’t even begun when he leaned round and kissed me. Our touching of tongues didn’t last very long and smelled of sweat and cigarettes. It felt like ticking a box rather than lighting a fire.


I then remember feeling acutely awkward when the boy began to softly whisper-rap the lyrics to “Lose Yourself” in my ear, and it only got worse watching Brittany Murphy (rest in peace) give Eminem that hand job on the big screen.


After the film I walked him to his bus-stop (such a modern lady) and – no joke – it started to snow. I felt warm and happy and tried to fool myself that the date was like something from a Tiffany & Co. advert.


We quickly agreed to be boyfriend-girlfriend, but then a couple of weeks later he stood me up on Valentine’s Day. Bastard.


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