DJ Scratch [James Brown Tribute] / Kurtis Mantronik – Live in Brooklyn [30 May 2015]

It’s incredible to think how far weve come as far as scratchin goes, Flash being ‘Lucky enough to be here with you’ was a long ass time ago. But to think that DJ’s like Scratch are still tearing up clubs and parties, AND on air in 2017 is the key. DJ Scratch can be heard on WBLS every Saturday night, still ! As we are on that grown-man isht, we wanna send a direct thank you to Scratch for keepin fresh alive, and for representing the true innovative vibe of what Hip-Hop has always been about.

Distinguished and innovative DJs’ Scratch, Cash Money, Jazzy Jeff, Funk Flex, Stretch Armstrong, Shadow and a handful of others, are almost considered Hip-Hop deities because their live skills behind 2 turntables are so good*. PREACH ! Whether on air or behind a club booth, whether it’s a 7″ only night, or a Serato only session that sounds like a surrealistic loop-based version of a Latin Rascals broadcast. In 2015, the good good people at the RMBA [Red Bull Music Academy] ‘explored and celebrated’ a number of highly acclaimed Hip-Hop DJs that continue to be dominant within the game. They asked ‘Pioneering Hip-Hop Producer Kurtis Mantronik, EPMD’s DJ Scratch, Rap radio royalty The Awesome 2, disco missionary Nicky Siano, and Egotrip’s Chairman Mao to look back at influential label [Sleeping Bag] over the course of one night’.

As not all the performances are available on RMBA any longer, so we thought we’d honour the men and share both the DJ Scratch & the Mantronik set. Mantronik’s set is a lesson in mixing and music [with a few cheeky exclusive edits and version excursions thrown in for good measure]. It’s simply the King of the Beats, behind 2 turntables, something you don’t hear every day.

But DJ Scratch represents a purity in playing party sets and club DJing. He does refer to himself as the ‘Turntable Whisperer’. This display is an embodiment of a perfect set, arguably, exemplifying Scratch as the king of Serato Loops. He is a DJ’s DJ, we know that much. Who else utilises the loops on Serato sets like this one ? Remember, this is live set from 2 years ago FFS. He’s probably a monster in 2017 !!

In this mix, he effortlessly flits through classic James Brown breaks, as he did in the short clip below [from James Browns birthday set on WBLS from 2013]. He plays a few associated JB bits, he then destroys Funky Drummer [UNBELIEVABLY tight on the breakdowns & doubles]. Be prepared to nod ya head for about 25 mins of James jammies before he drops more breaks and good music by other iconic artists, starting off with doubles of Try a Little Tenderness !

FAO RBMA legal peoples, we are sharing these sets as a mark of respect, honouring the talent of these gentlemen while we can. To recall the pure enjoyment of the music for the ones that’ve heard the tunes before, and to educate the younger generation in exactly the same way that you folks have. We have a shared appreciation, so don’t go running and complaining to Mixcloud like someone just took your lunch money. Please.

*Over here, I’d vote for Mr Thing, MK, Deejay Mek & Aidan Leacy, but’s another story for another day…

Mobb Deep Live in London – 29 July 2004

img164RRR celebrate the talents of people while they are still with us, but regrettably on this occasion, our hearts are still heavy after learning about the recent passing of Albert Johnson, BKA Prodigy from Mobb Deep, FKA Poetical Prophets. Today, we want to celebrate both Prodigy and Havoc, by sharing a live set from July 2004 that as far as we can tell hasn’t been shared before. This recording of the London performance is as rare as hens in Huaraches.

Mobb Deep - Live in London - 29 July 2004 Review

In 1991, in an issue of The Source magazine, I read the Unsigned Hype blurb about the two young MCs from Queens, and I’ve followed their movements ever since. I wasnt a huge fan of the first LP but their vivid trife life expressions were often the soundtrack to a late night creep during the 90s, and beyond. I usually listened on cassette, and in 2017, I still feel a sense of satisfaction and pride, walking tall when sportin my Murder Muzik promo t-shirt.

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Many have talked about the talents of Prodigy and Havoc, but not many can say theyve witnessed the energy of a live Mobb Deep set. Myself ? I cant either, I wasnt at this show, but I distinctly remember my old mate Miles [MURDER DOG] Dunbar talking about this 2004 set from The Forum [The old Town & Country Club in Kentish Town, North London]. He described it as if he had witnessed Jesus pulling turnaround jump-shots on stage in a Celtics jersey. As I was a regular contributor for Hip-Hop Connection at the time, I urged and pleaded him to write a review of the show. As you’ll hear on the tape, it was gnarly show, full of true fans, and of course, filled to the rafters with the North London equivilant of ‘killers and the 100$ billers’.

I have included his review of the show which [anyone worth their weight in anecdotal Rap allegories will recall] was the one when the stage got rushed by huge swathes of the audience, arguably several times over. On the tape, you’ll hear Alan the Chemist and Big Noyd on stage, and the photos in the review are courtesy of the long-established and all round nice guy Mr Paul Hampartsoumian. Paul was the in-house photographer for HHC, capturing the majority of live Rap sets the city had on offer throughout the 90s and onwards. As you can see, Paul had the vision to catch a perfectly composed pic of the stage, full rush. Big respect is automatic.

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‘For real niggas who ain’t got no feelings’, this one is for you. Thug-hugs from RRR.