The legendary Large Professor will be in the house at one of the Bay Area’s finest parties, The 45 Sessions. Don’t miss out on an epic night of all 45s from solid residents and an NY giant. Read a recent piece on Large Pro’s breakdown of his historical songs HERE via our buds at Complex and don’t miss this rare opportunity!
(This one on Rob Swift of the X-ecutioners comes to us from Kyle Eustice, a music journalist from Omaha, Nebraska whose work appears in IQ Magazine, Thrasher Skateboarding Magazine, and Kansas City Pitch. She also contributed an article on the new Killer Mike / EL-P collab, R.A.P. Music, for the upcoming Wax Poetics’s Hip-Hop Issue. On the birthday of Roc Raida (RIP), here’s a quick q&a with DJ extraordinaire, Rob Swift. Thanks Kyle! – DM)
“Raida’s Theme (snippet)” by X-ecutioners, 12″ [Asphodel, 1997]
By Kyle Eustice
In the realm of DJ crews, it doesn’t get better (or bigger) than the legendary X-ecutioners from New York City. Originally comprised of 11 turntablists, the X-ecutioners were whittled down to four integral members including the late Roc Raida, Rob Swift, Total Eclipse and Mista Sinista. Their beat juggling was unprecedented and style, supreme. After leaving the X-ecutioners in 2005 to pursue more personal endeavors, Swift remained close to his former crewmates, especially Roc Raida. Following a freak Mixed Martial Arts accident, sadly, Raida passed away on September 19th 2009. Since then, Swift has made it his mission to honor his fallen crewmember’s memory. Here, on Roc Raida’s birthday, Swift takes a minute to talk about Raida, the art of turntablism and his Scion radio show, “Dope On Plastic.”
What have you been working on since your 2010 groundbreaking album, The Architect?
I’ve dropped a follow-up EP called Sketches Of The Architect. I’ve also been collaborating with Large Professor on material for his new album, which drops this June and of course, my Roc For Raida project is my latest work.
Belita Woods passed away a couple days ago from heart failure, leaving behind a pretty stacked legacy that’s often understated. Belita played with Parliament-Funkadelic in the later stages of both their careers in addition to fronting Brainstorm, a boogie/disco troupe whose work was mostly around in the ’70s. She had a great voice, belting out easily over Parliament tracks with George Clinton. But her career began in Detroit in the ’60s where she exuberantly kills “Magic Corner”. I’ve always really liked this one, especially the arrangement, the piano, and the singing. This is her at 19, for the Moira label in 1967. RIP Ms. Woods.
“Magic Corner” by Belita Woods [Moira, 1967]
I spoke to EL-P around this past SXSW for an upcoming piece spanning his career from Co Flow to his latest, Cancer For Cure, and R.A.P. Music by Killer Mike (which he entirely produced). His approach has always certainly been against the grain but his progress as a producer can’t be overstated. Huge leaps are obvious between Funcrusher, Cannibal Ox’s The Cold Vein and I’ll Sleep When You’re Dead–and of course Fan Dam, his first solo record. All have cold, eerie templates but the latter are significantly more layered with a focus on structure (and overall just more explosive). Here’s a portion where we revisit his first joint, “Juvenile Technique”, a lo-fi number which samples an always great Bob James tune. Take a listen and read the full story in the upcoming Wax Poetics Magazine.
“I Feel A Song (In My Heart)” by Bob James ft. Patti Austin [CTI, 1975]
“Juvenile Technique (clean)” by Company Flow [Libra, 1994]
“I remember this being the first time I broke through and made something that I felt was presentable [laughs]. I was young then. I come from an era where people still don’t get to hear the first ten years of your music. Where as now, everyone can hear the first song anyone makes. This was the first song out of about fifty tracks that I thought finally sounded cool [laughs]. (Big) Juss wasn’t even in Co Flow yet and entered the picture later. We became friends when he ended up living in my apartment. He was working on his own shit so we said ‘lets just work on a project together’ and that’s kind of how the group started. This is Co Flow at the beginning when it was still just me and (Mr.) Len. This is us just trying to be different; just kids rapping our asses off and seeing what happens.” – EL-P
RIP MCA (1964-2012)
* Image courtesy of Egotripland.com
Selections From The Best of Perception & Today Records [BBE, 2012]
“Gingele” by Astrud Gilberto
“Matrix” by Dizzy Gillespie
“Honey Buns” by Bobby Rydell
I recently reviewed this terrific comp and it’s worth mentioning again since its one of the year’s best. What was meant to be a guest post over at one of my favorite sites, soul-sides.com, ended up schooling me on some history on one of the most short-lived yet varied labels ever, Perception Records (and its subsidiary, Today). What the comp compiles (and what you essentially hear) is a straight forward jazz label struggling to adapt itself to shifting musical trends, reaching out far and wide, sometimes radically, to stay afloat. The result was a hodgepodge of songs, huge hits, rare renditions, and artists in different career stages all on one magnificent catalogue. The comp was compiled by DJ Spinna & BBE Soundsystem, take a look at the review for more.