DecibelCast 24 “Dat ’96 Sh*t”

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1996 was when we reached peak hip-hop—the year when the genre’s creative vitality was finally eclipsed by its significance in the mainstream culture of America, the year when it came crashing down.  In 1996 hip-hop was pop music and vice versa. The West Coast sound, which had basically dominated the decade was finally being legitimately challenged by what had begun as a small insurgency with Wu-Tang‘s debut and gained steam with insta-classic debuts from Nas and Notorious B.I.G.

1996 saw the first and only Fugees record, the debut solo outings of Ghostface,  Busta Rhymes and Eminem. There were classic records released by Nas, Lost Boyz, Mobb DeepTribe Called Quest, De La Soul, The Roots, Redman and Too $hort.  And there was 2Pac. More than any other rapper, 1996 belonged to Tupac Shakur.  Pac managed to release three(!!!) albums worth of material (counting the double album All Eyez on Me and the posthumous Don Killuminati) and sell more records than any other rapper probably ever will, before the inevitable end to his tragic whirlwind of a life arrived in September of that year. 96 was the very height of the East Coast/West Coast war. It was beginning of the end for Death Row Records (and  Biggie Smalls who was murdered in early ’97). And it was the  beginning of the South’s ascension, as heralded by Outkast‘s objectively game-changing ATLiens.

DJ Shadow, who correctly interpreted the glitzy cul de sac that mainstream rap was entering even while releasing an album that has yet to be equalled said hip-hop sucked in ’96, but from here it sounds pretty damn good. Fuck! 20 years, I can’t believe it’s been that long. It was a trip listening to all this stuff again. I sincerely hope you enjoy listening to this mix as much as we enjoyed making it.

SIDE A  [DOWNLOAD]

DJ Shadow “Why Hip-Hop Sucks in ’96”
Busta Rhymes feat. Biggie Smalls “Modern Day Gangsta Shit”
The Fugees – “Ready or Not”
2Pac – I Got My Mind Made Up”
Lost Boyz “Music Makes Me High (Album Version)
De La Soul  “Itzsoweezee (Hot)”
Do or Die “Po Pimp”
Dru Down “Breezy”
Nas  “Affirmative Action”
MC Eiht “You Can’t See Me (Compton’s Most Wanted)” Instrumental
Heltah Skeltah “Leflaur Leflah Eshkoshka”
Mobb Deep “Hell on Earth”
The East Flatbush Project “Tried by 12” feat Des
Redman feat Method Man  “Do What Ya Feel”
Nonchalant  5 O’Clock (Album Version)
Cypress Hill “Illusions Instrumental (Jay Dee Remix)”

SIDE B  [DOWNLOAD]

A Tribe Called Quest “1nce Again”
Westside Connection “Bow down”
Camp Lo “Luchini (AKA This is It)”
Delinquent Habits “Tres Delinquetes”
The Roots “What They Do”
O.G.C. “Hurricane Starang”
Makaveli (2Pac) “To Live and Die in LA”
Da Bush Babees “The Love Song” feat Mos Def
UGK “Diamonds and Wood”
Outkast “Mainstream”
Jay-Z “Dead Presidents”
Eminem “INFINITE”
Biz Markie “Studda Step”
Jeru the Damaja “Whatever”
Too $hort “Gettin’ It”
Ghostface Killah “All That I Got is You” feat Mary J Blige
DJ Shadow “Midnight in a Perfect World”

DecibelCast Vol. 20 “The Nineteen Ninety-Four Tape”

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The idea with this one is pretty straight forward: It’s our 20th DecibelCast, and it’s been 20 years since 1994, so here’s a 20th anniversary celebration of hip-hop in 1994.

1994 was a massive year for hip-hop; many believe it to be the genre’s creative zenith (although I think you could make a case for 1993, 1995 and probably 1996 as well). The West Coast G-funk sound was still largely dominant, but the tides were turning and New York was again asserting itself— setting the stage for the East-West battle of the mid-’90s

Biggie and Nas both released their debut LPs–both were insta-classics. Gang Starr, Jeru the Damaja, Organized Konfusion, The Beatnuts, Digable Planets and The Beastie Boys all put out great records.  The Roots signed to a major label, Slick Rick dropped an album from prison, and the Wu Tang takeover was gaining momentum. In the south UGK and the Ghetto Boys were continuing to do their own thing, and an unknown duo from Atlanta called OutKast quietly offered the world a glimpse of the future of hip-hop. On the other side of the Atlantic Mo’ Wax was inventing trip-hop with singles from DJ Shadow and DJ Krush at the same time a French tastemaker called DJ Cam was perfecting his mad blunted jazz  sound.

This mix largely focuses on the resurgent New York style of ’94. It’s an ode to East Coast boom-bap, which has aged much better than the West Coast G-funk.

dB20 “The Nineteen Ninety Four Tape”

Side A

Digale Planets – “Dog it”

Brand Nubian – “Word is Bond”

The Roots – “Mellow My Man”

Artifacts – “C’Mon With Da Git Down”

UGK – “Front Back & Side to Side”

The Beatnuts – “Superbad”

Big L – “Put it On”

DJ Cam – “Gangsta Sh*t”

Notorious B.I.G. – “The What” feat. Method Man

Scientifik – “As Long as You Know”

Gravediggaz – “1-800 Suicide”

Beastie Boys feat. Q Tip – “Get it Together”

MF Grimm feat. KMD – “What a Nigga Know” (Remix)

Peanut Butter Wolf – “Currents”

 

Side B

Del – “Undisputed Champs” feat. Pep Love and Q-Tip

Jeru the Damaja – “Come Clean”

Society – “F.U.N.K.”

Outkast – “Git Up, Git Out”

Nas – “One Time for Your Mind”

Thug Life – “Pour Out a Little Liquor”

Heavy D feat. 2pac, Notorious B.I.G. and Grand Puba – “Let’s Get it On”

DJ Krush – “Am 300 Tag”

Gang Starr – “Mostly the Voice”

Common Sense – “I Used to Love H.E.R.”

Sway & King Tech – “Wake Up Show Anthem (1994)” feat. Nas, Lauren Hill, Pharoahe Monch, Prince Po, Rass Kass, Dred Scott, Saafir & Shyhe

Raekwon – “Heaven or Hell” feat. Ghostface Killah

DJ Shadow – “What Does Your Soul Look Like (12” Single Mix)

tUnE-yArDs & ?uestlove cover Fela Kuti’s “Lady”

Well, summer is officially here, and the warm weather jams are rolling in right on schedule. This rendition of  Fela Kuti‘s “Lady, performed by tUnE-yArDs,  Angelique Kidjo, Akua Naru and Roots‘  drummer ?uestlove, is straight fire. It’s the first single from  (RED) Hot + FELA, the sequel to 2002’s tribute to the Afrobeat don Red Hot + Riot. Here’s hoping for further collabs from these two, or better yet a summer tour!

You can grab it now on iTunes.