WhoSampled

De La Soul Stakes Is High 20th Anniversary Mixtape

July 15, 2016

Earlier this month, De La Soul’s fourth studio album Stakes Is High celebrated it’s twentieth birthday. To mark the occasion – you guessed it – my buddy Chris Read pulled together a sweet mixtape of original sample material, remixes, and album tracks. This one took me on a real trip down memory lane! Read my write up and peep the mix below …

Originally posted on Wax Poetics here.

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When I first heard Stakes Is High, I was in…Brighton, on the U.K.’s South Coast. My father lived there at the time, and as a teenager building up her record collection, I would make the most out of my trips to visit him by also visiting the city’s various record spots such as The Wax Factor and Rarekind. It was at Resident Records in the North Laines that I picked up De La Soul’s Stakes Is High and upon my first listen, before I scoured the liner notes, I knew that something was different.

Where were the playful skits? Where were the endless gags? I found myself staring out the window feeling pensive rather than chuckling and dancing around my room.

And as it turned out, the record, released July 2, 1996, marked a pivotal moment for the Long Island trio. Parting ways with their long-time collaborator Prince Paul, the genius behind 3 Feet High & Rising’s seminal use of sampling, the album was the first to be produced mostly by the group themselves and has a rather more mature feel. Trugoy recently described the experience of producing the record themselves as an “empowering […] learning process,” as previously they had relied upon the guidance of external producers. One notable exception to this is of course the Jay Dee produced title track “Stakes Is High,” but for Maseo, Posdnuos, and Trugoy to take greater control and reflect the mood-shift of a rap group three albums deep was the perfect move after 1993’s Buhloone Mindstate.

De La Soul had spoken out before about social issues (“Millie Pulled a Pistol on Santa”) and the state of rap music (“Who Do U Worship”), but this time they were shouting about it with, as the title suggests, a more serious tone and higher sense of urgency, which can be heard on tracks like “The Bizzness.” Despite having less commercial success at the time, the powerful, jazz-fuelled album was met with positive reviews and is now regarded as a classic of it’s era.

To celebrate the twentieth anniversary of Stakes Is High, our friend Chris Read has crafted a mixtape of album tracks, remixes, and original sample material.

Listen up and enjoy!

Artwork by Leon Nockolds

Track list:

1. De La Soul – ‘Intro’
2. Milt Jackson & The Ray Brown Big Band – ‘Enchanted Lady’ (sampled in ‘Dinninit’)
3. De La Soul – ‘Dinninit’
4. Jan Hammer Group – ‘Peaceful Sundown’ (sampled in ‘Dog Eat Dog’)
5. De La Soul – ‘Dog Eat Dog’
6. Aretha Franklin – It Only Happens (When I Look At You) (sampled in ‘Long Island Degrees’)
7. De La Soul – ‘Long Island Degrees’
8. Craig Mack – ‘Get Down’ [Loop] (sampled in ‘The Bizness’)
9. De La Soul feat Common – ‘The Bizness’
10. Commodores – ‘High on Sunshine’ (sampled in ‘Sunshine’)
11. De La Soul – ‘Sunshine’
12. Bayete – ‘Free Angela’ (sampled in ‘Sunshine’)
13. Ahmad Jamal – ‘Swahililand’ (sampled in ‘Stakes is High’)
14. De La Soul – ‘Stakes is High’ 
15. De La Soul – ‘Stakes Is High (Jay Dee Remix)’
16. James Brown – ‘Mind Power’ (sampled in ‘Stakes is High’)
17. De La Soul feat Mos Def & Truth Enola – ‘Stakes is High (Remix)’
18. Walter Wanderley – ‘Summer Samba’ (sampled in ‘Supa Emcees’)
19. Jimmy Spicer – ‘Adventures of Super Rhyme’ [Extract] (sampled in ‘Supa Emcees’)
20. Doug E Fresh & Slick Rick – La Di Da Di [Extract] (sampled in ‘Supa Emcees’)
21. De La Soul – ‘Supa Emcees’
22. Wilson Pickett – Get Me Back On Time, Engine #9 [Extract] (sampled in ‘Supa Emcees’)
23. De La Soul feat Mos Def – ‘Big Brother Beat’
24. Kurtis Blow – ‘These Are the Breaks’ [Extract] (sampled in ‘The Brakes’)
25. De La Soul – ‘The Brakes’
26. James Brown – Funky Drummer [Loop] (sampled in ‘Betta Listen’)27. De La Soul – ‘Betta Listen’
28. Jeff Beck – ‘Come Dancing’ [Loop] (sampled in ‘Down Syndrome’)
29. James Brown – ‘Talkin Loud & Sayin Nothing’ [Loop] (sampled in ‘Down Syndrome’)
30. De La Soul – ‘Down Syndrome’
31. De La Soul feat Truth Enola – ‘Pony Ride’
32. Lou Donaldson – ‘Who’s Making Love’ (sampled in ‘Wonce Again Long Island’)
33. De La Soul – ‘Wonce Again Long Island’
34. Malcolm McLaren – ‘Hobo Scratch’ (sampled in ‘Baby Baby Baby Baby Ooh Baby’)
35. De La Soul feat Jazzyfatnastees – ‘Baby Baby Baby Baby Ooh Baby’
36. Chico Hamilton – ‘A Rose for Booker’ (sampled in ‘4 More’)
37. Jungle Brothers – ‘Jimmy Bonus Beat’ [Extract] (sampled in ‘4 More’)
38. De La Soul feat Zhane – ‘4 More’

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.

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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!

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“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

Tracklist:

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)

De La Soul De La Soul Is Dead 25th Anniversary Mixtape

May 14, 2016

Today is the 25th anniversary of De La Soul’s sophomore album De La Soul Is Dead. I bought De La Soul Is Dead on CD at the formative age of seventeen, and remember listening to it all the goddamn time. It is such a special record, full of hilarious skits and truly dope samples. I’m super excited to be involved in this anniversary mixtape (crafted by the one and only Chris Read) for Wax Poetics and WhoSampled. Check out my write up (originally posted here ) and listen to the tape below!

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The artwork says it all. A broken flower pot, soil spilling out like blood and three daisies wilting away. Following the success of their groundbreaking debut 3 Feet High & Rising in 1989, with all it’s talk about the D.A.I.S.Y. Age, De La Soul had been labelled the hippies of hip-hop. And, with their follow album De La Soul Is Dead, released May 14, 1991, the group sought to set the record straight.

Produced by Prince Paul, the concept for the skits that run throughout is entirely unique. Through a fictional debate between schoolyard bullies over ‘The De La Soul Read-Along Storybook’ tape, De La Soul playfully parody and challenge the criticisms and attitudes that surrounded them at the time. E.g. “What happened to the pimps? What happened to the guns? What happened to the curse words? That’s what rap music is all about, right?”

De La Soul Is Dead is seen as edgier than 3 Feet High, touching in on themes such as role-models in gangster rap with “Who Do You Worship,” and sexual abuse in “Millie Pulled A Pistol On Santa.” While undeniably smart and providing commentary on serious issues, the record is also fun and humorous as anything. The album features brilliantly flipped samples from the likes of Funkadelic, the J.B’s,  and Stevie Wonder, and the singles “Ring Ring Ring (Ha Ha Hey)” and “A Roller Skating Jam Named “Saturdays”” remain bonafide party classics today.

Now, in 2016 we are seeing the 25th anniversary of the album’s release. To celebrate the truly dope record, our homie Chris Read has put together a sweet mixtape of original sample material, remixes, and album versions.

Listen up and enjoy!

Tracklist:

1. Jimmy Spicer – ‘Money (Dollar Bill Y’all)’ (sampled in ‘Bitties in the BK Lounge’)
2. Chris Read – ‘Theme #3’ (Scratchapella)
3. De La Soul – ‘Intro’
4. Funkadelic – ‘I’ll Stay’ (sampled in ‘Millie Pulled a Pistol on Santa’)
5. De La Soul – ‘Millie Pulled a Pistol on Santa’
6. Funkadelic – ‘Mommy What’s a Funkadelic’ [Extract] (sampled in ‘Millie Pulled a Pistol on Santa’)
7. Stevie Wonder – ‘Hey Love’ (sampled in ‘Talkin’ Bout Hey Love’)
8. Freda Payne – ‘The Easiest Way To Fall’ [Loop] (sampled in ‘Talkin’ Bout Hey Love’) 9. De La Soul – ‘Talkin Bout Hey Love’
10. White Lightnin’ – ‘That’s No Lie’ (sampled in ‘Fanatic of the B-Word’)
11. De La Soul – ‘Fanatic of the B-Word’
12. Lee Dorsey – ‘Get Out My Life, Woman’ [Loop] (sampled in ‘Fanatic of the B-Word’)
13. Chuck Jackson – ‘And That’s Saying A Lot’ (sampled in ‘Afro Connections at a Hi-5’)
14. De La Soul – ‘Afro Connections at a Hi-5’
15. De La Soul – ‘Pease Porridge’
16. Edna Wright – ‘Oops Here I Go Again’ (sampled in ‘Pass The Plugs’)
17. The J.B’s – ‘Pass the Peas’ [Extract] (sampled in ‘Pass The Plugs’)
18. De La Soul – ‘Pass The Plugs’
19. Eric B & Rakim – ‘Eric B Is President’ [Loop] (sampled in ‘Pass The Plugs’)
20. Tom Waits – ‘Diamonds on My Windshield’ (sampled in ‘Oodles of O’s’)
21. Biz Markie – ‘Nobody Beats The Biz’ [Extract] (sampled in ‘Oodles of O’s’)
22. De La Soul – ‘Oodles on O’s’
23. Lafayette Afro Rock Band – ‘Hihache’ [Loop] (sampled in ‘Oodles of O’s)
24. De La Soul – ‘Rap De Rap Show’
25. Lou Johnson – ‘The Beat’ [Extract] (sampled in ‘Ring Ring Ring (Ha Ha Hey)’)
26. The Whatnauts – ‘Help Is On The Way’ (sampled in ‘Ring Ring Ring (Ha Ha Hey)’)
27. The Honey Drippers – ‘Impeach The President’ [Loop] (sampled in ‘Ring Ring Ring (Ha Ha Hey)’)
28. De La Soul – ‘Ring Ring Ring (Ha Ha Hey)’
29. Taana Gardner – ‘No Frills’ (sampled in ‘Bitties In The BK Lounge’)
30. De La Soul – ‘Bitties In The BK Lounge’
31. Lou Donaldson – ‘It’s Your Thing’ (sampled in ‘Bitties In The BK Lounge’)
32. Bob James – ‘Sign of the Times’ (sampled in ‘Keepin’ The Faith’)
33. Aerosmith – ‘Walk This Way’ [Loop] (sampled in ‘Keepin’ The Faith’)
34. De La Soul – ‘Keepin’ The Faith’
35. The Mohawks – ‘The Champ’ [Extract] (sampled in ‘Keepin’ The Faith’)
36. Instant Funk – ‘I Got My Mind Made Up’ (sampled in ‘Roller Skating Jam Named Saturdays’)
37. Mighty Ryeders – ‘Evil Vibrations’ (sampled in ‘Roller Skating Jam Named Saturdays’)
38. De La Soul – ‘Roller Skating Jam Named Saturdays’
39. Young Holt Unlimited – ‘Light My Fire’ (sampled in ‘Roller Skating Jam Named Saturdays’)
40. Tower of Power – ‘Ebony Jam’ [Loop] (sampled in ‘Roller Skating Jam Named Saturdays’)
41. De La Soul – ‘What Yo Life Can Truly Be’

Brand Nubian One for All 25th Anniversary Mixtape

December 12, 2015

Last weekend saw the 25th anniversary of Brand Nubian’s debut album One for All. To mark the occasion, my homie Chris put together this sweet mix of album tracks and original sample material. There are some real gems from the likes of James Brown, Steve Arrington, Kool & the Gang, Earth, Wind & Fire, and of course Brand Nubian in this mixtape to get your funky juices flowing. Peep the feature on Wax Poetics here or read the write up below. Enjoy!

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On December 4th, 1990, Elektra Records put out Brand Nubian’s classic debut One for All. Upon the album’s release, the group garnered high levels of critical acclaim for the unique way in which their music twinned political consciousness with funky beats and playful bravado. To this day One for All still receives praise and is frequently cited in hip-hop texts and ‘top’ lists, all affirming the record’s landmark status.

To celebrate the twenty-fifth anniversary of One for All this month, our buddy Chris Read has crafted yet another dope mix of album tracks, alternate versions, remixes, and original sample material. Expect a heavy dose of James Brown, Steve Arrington, Edie & The New Bohemians, Ohio Players, The Last Poets, The Gap Band, and many others, blended into golden-era Brand Nubian. Enjoy!

Tracklist:

1. Ray, Goodman & Brown – ‘Another Day’ (Sampled in ‘Wake Up (Reprise in the Sunshine)’)
2. Chris Read – ‘Theme #3’ (Scratchapella)
3. Brand Nubian – ‘Wake Up (Reprise in the Sunshine)’
4. Edie Brickell & The New Bohemians – ‘What I Am’ (Sampled in ‘Slow Down’)
5. Kool & The Gang – ‘Kool It (Here Comes The Fuzz)’ (Loop) (Sampled in ‘Slow Down’)
6. Brand Nubian – ‘Slow Down’
7. Ohio Players – ‘Never Had A Dream’ (Loop) (Sampled in ‘Slow Down’)
8. The Nite Liters – ‘Tanga Boo Gonk’ (Sampled in ‘Wake Up (Stimulated Dummies Mix)
9. Brand Nubian – ‘Wake Up (Stimulated Dummies Mix)
10. The Mar Keys – ‘Plantation Inn’ (Sampled in ‘Step to the Rear’)
11. Big Daddy Kane – ‘Smooth Operator’ (Extract) (Sampled in ‘Step to the Rear’)
12. Brand Nubian – ‘Step to the Rear’
13. James Brown – ‘Funky President (People It’s Bad)’ (Sampled in ‘To the Right’)
14. Brand Nubian – ‘To the Right’
15. James Brown – ‘Can Mind’ (Sampled in ‘All for One’)
16. James Brown – ‘All for One’ (Extract) (Sampled in ‘All for One’)
17. Brand Nubian – ‘All for One’
18. Kool & The Gang – ‘Jungle Jazz’ (Sampled in ‘Drop the Bomb’)
19. Trouble Funk – ‘Drop the Bomb’ (Extract) (Interpolated in ‘Drop the Bomb’)
20. Public Enemy – ‘Anti-Nigger Machine’ (Extract) (Sampled in ‘Drop the Bomb’)
20. Brand Nubian – ‘Drop the Bomb’
21. James Brown – Say It Loud, I’m Black and I’m Proud (Sampled in ‘Dedication’)
22. Brand Nubian – ‘Dedication’
23. The Gap Band – ‘Tommy’s Groove’ (Sampled in ‘Ragtime’)
24. Brand Nubian – ‘Ragtime’
25. Steve Arrington – ‘Nobody Can Be You’ (Sampled in Grand Puba, Positive & LG)
26. Run-DMC – Here We Go (Live at the Funhouse) (Extract) (Sampled in Grand Puba, Positive & LG)
27. Brand Nubian feat Positive K and L.G – ‘Grand Puba, Positive & L.G’
28. Syl Johnson – Different Strokes (Loop) (Sampled in ‘Try to Do Me’)
29. Brand Nubian – ‘Try to Do Me’
30. Cameo – ‘Rigor Mortis’ (Sampled in ‘Brand Nubian’)
31. Brand Nubian – ‘Brand Nubian’
32. Parliament – ‘Flash Light’ (Extract) (Sampled in ‘Brand Nubian’)
33. Cannonball Adderley Quintet feat Jesse Jackson – ‘Walk Tall’ (Sampled in ‘Concerto in X Minor’)
34. Brand Nubian – ‘Concerto in X Minor’
35. The Last Poets – ‘When the Revolution Comes (Extract) (Sampled in ‘Concerto in X Minor’)
36. Earth, Wind & Fire – ‘Bad Tune’ (Sampled in ‘Dance to my Ministry’)
37. Trouble Funk – ‘Pump me Up’ (Extract) (Sampled in ‘Dance to my Ministry’)
37. Brand Nubian – ‘Dance to my Ministry’
38. James Brown – ‘Popcorn with a Feeling’ (Sampled in ‘Who Can Get Busy Like This Man’)
39. Brand Nubian – ‘Who Can Get Busy Like This Man’

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!

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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!

LABCAB-FINAL-612x612

Tracklist:

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)

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