Black Sheep “A Wolf In Sheep’s Clothing” 25th Anniversary Mix by Chris Read
My first car was not a particularly fancy car. I actually can’t even remember what it was, other than small and black. A Ford Fiesta? Maybe a Fiat Punto? I’m not sure, I’ve never really been a petrol-head, and it was just a means to an end.
Anyway, it had a cassette player, and I was in the middle of my eBay years (lots of vinyl bought and sold through eBay in those days, God bless the extra income from flogging unwanted promos on there!). I found an auction selling dozens of classic hip hop albums on cassette, and picked the lot up for about £15. One of the albums that became a firm favourite was Black Sheep‘s, A Wolf In Sheep’s Clothing. Black Sheep were a member of the Native Tongues crew, alongside the likes of De La Soul, The Jungle Brothers and A Tribe Called Quest. In one of those weird twists of modern music, pretty much anyone who has been in a club in the last 20 years has heard a little Black Sheep, in the “Engine Engine Number 9, on the New York Transit Line…” bit of Fatman Scoop and Crooklyn Clan’s mega hit “Be Faithful“, which sampled The Choice Is Yours – top trivia, I wore a pastiche of that record sleeve’s artworkvin my finest hour, winning the UK Red Bull Thre3style final at Koko in London.
And it turns out that it was just recently the 25th anniversary of the release! So here’s a great mix which takes in album tracks, alternate versions, remixes and the original sample material. Enjoy!
This is an absolutely masterful mix of all manner of electronic music, on one of the great music podcasts, by one of the great underground DJs, DK. I don’t have a lot to add really, other than that I have had this on repeat for days, absolutely superb mix
That time of the year when I decided, on a whim, to attempt the triple chilli challenge at Meat Mission, and didn’t even finish my plate, let alone do it within 10 minutes. Yorkie Josh is clearly a freak of nature (he’s done it in not much above 2 minutes!). I could barely walk for the rest of the night, such was the bowling ball in my stomach thanks to my lack of adequate preparation (ie, maybe don’t eat 2 hours before attempting this challenge).
Its that time when burger outlets nationwide offer 20% off their wares. Simply go here, choose your restaurant, fill in the form for the voucher, print out the voucher from the email you get, go stuff your face.
Its that time when grown men starve themselves all day so as to eat a minimum of 6 of the burgers below at Hawker House.
Its that time of the year where burger restaurants out-do each other with weird and wonderful one-day-only creations to moisten the palate and excite the loins of red-blooded men (and women, lets not be sexist here) across the land.
In short, it’s the most wonderful time of the year 🤗🍔
If you see someone at Hawker House with this t-shirt on, come and say hello, as it’s me! I may not be able to reply, as it’s likely I will have a burger in my fat face.
It’s still Monday somewhere! I’ve been a bit sloppy with my Monday posts, but this week I’m just outside the right timezone for this to be legit – my excuse, it was my birthday today!
Anyway, to the music. Marcus Marr is someone I’ve long been a fan of, thanks to his superb disco-tinged productions, especially this cracker.
The mix here is superb. I have this habit of screencapping mixes while I’m listening to them so that a couple of times a week I can go and buy the tracks that stood out for me in the music I’ve been listening to. Most mixes you might get 1 or 2, but this mix clocked in at a hefty 7 screencaps! So get your ear’oles round this bad boy, it really is excellent.
DOUBLE WHAMMY! Mix Master Mike – Rescue 916 & Neckthrust One
I’m old. At least I am in the context of clubbing and nightlife, but the fringe benefit of that is having had the fortune to live through the transition between the vinyl and cassette era and into the digital age. Record store culture back in the day was something that really helped shape me as a person and a DJ, and while I rarely buy vinyl these days, I do miss that little sense of community that happens when you keep seeing the same faces digging at record stores you frequent. And cassettes, ah cassettes… DJ mixes are still called mixtapes, and I had a few which I absolutely caned.
Two absolute faves are here for you to enjoy – Neckthrust One and Rescue 916, by the incredible Mixmaster Mike. I must have listened to these mixtapes hundreds of times, and spent countless hours trying to decipher how on earth to pull off these other-worldly scratches. I spent a fortune hunting down the records (this was long before Discogs existed!), the Al Tariq – Peace Akki track being possibly the most satisfying find of my digging career, as I had begun to think it was as mythical as unicorns before I stumbled across it in a 2nd hand shop.
Side B of Rescue 916 starts suitably with Jeru The Damaja‘s seminal One Day, a paean to the true spirit of hip hop holding out against the corrupting influence of bling and the Puff Daddy style of doing things. These mixes really are a great example of the art of DJing hip hop, with Mike scratching his way through boom-bap classics, electro gems, nuggets of pure funk and all manner of the sort of quirky samples that make him such a distinctive character in the music landscape. Him and Q-Bert absolutely revolutionised the scratch DJ scene with their utter dominance of the DMCs in the early 90s as the key members of the Invisibl Skratch Piklz – as a little bonus, here is one of my favourite ever DMC routines, followed by the mixes themselves. And trust me when I say that this battle routine is absolutely light years against the basic zugga zugga of their competitors, it’s like they’ve beamed in from outer space to show these mere humans how it’s done.
At the time that I was hammering these cassettes MMM was “just” one of the best DJs in the world, from the best scratch crew. He then went on to become the DJ for one of my favourite acts, The Beastie Boys (seeing them at Manchester Academy back around 95 was a real life highlight!) , and was the engine room at the heart of their seminal “Three MCs and One DJ” track. Enjoy hearing a true master at work!
File this mix under “I thought I’d already posted it”. Get ready for a supremely catchy hour of pop-infused soul, hip-hop flavoured beats, wonky neck-snappers and impeccable grooves. This is one of my favourite mixes of the last few years, with a middle section that I absolutely adore. I’m desperately trying to get hold of a copy of JFC – LA Baby (which is apparently Jungle Football Club, a Jungle side project), and just discovered that one of my oldest mates is the personal trainer of one of the guys from the band… It might happen!
I really do love this mix – it’s so well balanced, so well programmed, it flows exactly as it should, patient, logical and satisfying, allowing for peaks and troughs, it is a great example of the art for any aspiring DJs out there. I’m literally dancing in my chair to it now 😂
And if you want a download head here – https://soundcloud.com/ninja-tune/solid-steel-radio-show-6112015-hour-1-jungle
Claude VonStroke presents The Birdhouse – vol 42 with Shiba San
One of my favourite labels is Dirty Bird. One of my favourite DJs is Claude VonStroke. So it’s little surprise that his relatively new Birdhouse podcast is an absolute fixture in my listening schedule!
This latest instalment is especially good, and features a mix from the excellent French producer Shiba San (who, I discovered at Ministry of Sound, also happens to be a demon on the cut!). Enjoy!
This week I bring something a little different. As with the Leftfield episode a while ago, it’s a video of a live performance. But in this case it’s even further removed from being a mixtape, instead being a recording of DJ Craze‘s 2 rounds from the 1998 ITF scratch battle against DJ First Rate (then of the Scratch Perverts). This video here only shows Craze’s sections – now, while First Rate is an absolute badman on the cut, I don’t think I’m being unfair to say that this battle was a massacre!
While I don’t claim to be a scratch DJ (rather, I’m a DJ who can scratch quite well), I am a total scratch nerd. I spent those long hours with Dirt Style 12″s, I remember the early internet days of Asisphonics and Thudrumble forums, written-out text explanations of complicated scratch patterns, tricks with sticker-markers on vinyl to learn how to know when to open and close faders, a time before Youtube clips and college courses in DJing. I had many different VHS tapes of battles from through the years, and this stands out as probably my all-time favourite, with only the Dream Team’s (aka Invisbl Skratch Piklz) set from 1992 coming close to surpassing it in my affections as a demonstration of the art and craft of scratch DJing. And believe me when I say I have forced a lot of people to watch this routine in after-parties at my flats over the years…
Craze has a good claim to being the greatest of all time, which really shouldn’t be a shock when you know he won 3 straight DMC world titles (arguably only missing out the year before that winning streak because of a terribly unlucky needle mishap in the USA final that knocked him out of contention). The ITFs were often considered to be a bit more of a “purists” competition, with the battles broken down into technical sections for scratching, juggling, teams etc. In this battle he followed First Rate, with each having 2 x 3 minute sections to demonstrate their scratching prowess.
For me, what always made him stand out, alongside his unquestionable technical skills and prodigiously funky cuts, was his transitions in his routines, getting from this bit to that bit to the next bit. Many scratch sets were just a hodge-podge of as many short routines as the DJ could cram into their allotted time, with little or no thought given to the journey between these landmarks. Craze basically managed to make his 3 or 6 minute sets into tiny mixtapes with their own internal narrative and logic, seamlessly flowing between styles. It’s no wonder, therefore, that Red Bull Thre3style brought him on board to be part of their team, with him performing and judging the inaugural world final in Paris (that I was lucky enough to be competing in /brag).
These 2 short sets absolutely blitzed this contest, and included 3 of the absolute best disses I’ve ever seen in a battle context – the “you’re going too fast…” bit at the start of the 2nd routine only really makes full sense in the context of the approach First Rate had taken. Watch, and enjoy an absolute master at work.
For my money, nobody does mixtapes quite like J-Rocc does mixtapes. While this isn’t exactly a mixtape, and rather a live recording, it is probably my personal favourite. Indeed, the fact that it is done live just makes the technical prowess on display all the more jaw-dropping.
Probably best known as a key member of the Beat Junkies, J-Rocc is also the DJ for Madlib‘s live shows and was the 3rd member of Jaylib (Madlib and J Dilla‘s project) when they performed live. He’s also a totally great guy, I had the pleasure of hosting an event with him and Shortkut performing, at Rescue Rooms in Nottingham way back in 2003!
Enjoy this superb selection of hip hop, funk and reggae, and please go and explore his other mixes.