Let The Funk Flo

(Collector Allen Johnson aka Overflo is a Chicago native who produced for Rhymesayers, EV Productions, and Chocolate Industries and he’ll be bringing us funky contributions of rare, random tracks from his crates. Though he leans towards old funk, hip-hop and electro, he also mingles with Jazz, garage, soul, Latin and boogaloo. He also founded and manages Birthwrite Records; get at him and his storefront at overflojenkins@aol.com. Below are some 45s from his stacks. – DM)

Frank Armstrong & the Stingers “I Feel Like I Want to Holler” on Modern. I dug this out of a garage in San Jose this past year, and I don’t know much about it. I skipped by it at first, but when I listened I knew I had to have it. It starts with a swanky guitar riff joined by some drums and a fast-paced bassline. It’s got some swing but stays funky. The rhythm section is arranged perfectly, and Armstrongs’ scruffy vocals make the entire song an enjoyable seemless tablespoon of how it’s done! As a bonus, the flipside “Humpin’” is a pretty groovy instrumental track.

Bill Coday “I Got A Thing” on Galaxy, year unknown. This is by no means Coday’s biggest hit, for me it’s an obvious pick! Coday worked with producer, Willie Mitchell (Hi Records) for years recording for Denise LaSalle’s Crajon label. LaSalle also wrote the song, which could just as easily have been composed by Fred Wesley & Maceo Parker. Many were funky but came off as imitators. Codays’ screams are the real thing.

The Leaves “Get Out My Life Woman” on Mira 1966. The Leaves were a southern Cali based garage rock outfit who successfully interpreted this Toussaint classic! I remember being introduced to this break years back (the Lee Dorsey version) and instantly I was drawn to the drums; always the drums. To top it off the whole song is killer. The vocals bring a psychedelic vibe with nice harmonies. The song develops well with a slammin’ horn arrangement at the end. Ah, the ’60s rarely did they disappoint.

Z.Z. Hill “What More” Kent. Okay, of course when I think of Z.Z. Hill immediately the blues comes to mind. He didn’t have much success until the ’70s & ’80s recording the blues. However, he started recording in the ’50s and this hard to come by ’60s ballad on the legendary Kent label is smooth and downright soulful! The back-up singers lay some nice harmonies on the chorus as well! If you see this floating around somewhere grab it.

Beat Merchant: Jake One Interview

Originally Published on URB

Kids with new MPCs and “Listen To Dilla” shirts only dream of the career Jake One’s having. Out of Seattle’s late ‘90s rap scene, he’s worked with all types and degrees of MCs—essentially, most anyone who’s caught wind of his beats. Big names, 50 Cent and Busta Rhymes; to indie cats, Casual, Gift of Gab, and Slug; to legends like De La and Dre.

“It’s weird because at a certain point you actually build relationships and become friends with these people,” he says, adding: “I’ve been making beats for complete superstars and complete non-superstars. I’m across the board as usual. ”

He just made tracks for Snoop, which he’s hoping will see the light of day, as is a cut on De La’s upcoming album. And DOOM is currently still “sitting on some beats”. Same with M.O.P., Bun B, Raekwon, the list is impressive as it is long. Meanwhile, he’s pushing his latest effort, another project on Rhymesayers.

Along with the clever packaging, The Stimulus Package, shows Jake piecing together soulful, versatile joints for another touted MC—Ex-Roc-A-Fella turned Cash Money signee, Freeway. Here, Jake explains the differences between working with indie artists and big names, and what’s next for someone who’s already worked with his heroes. Jake’s beats continue to attract MCs of all regions, genres and varying rap tangents, and the callbacks haven’t halted. With The Stimulus Package just out, here’s a very broad, 3 part look at Jake’s career, one that any beatmaker would kill for right now.

JAKE ONE, DAY ONE…

What was your first piece of equipment?
Well, my first sampler was some sort of Rolland. I was 16 working at Taco Time for a couple months and saved up for it. I looked in the ads and bought the only sampler I could afford. I didn’t know how to use it; I just wanted one so bad.

What about soul records struck you as such good sample fodder through the years?
I think it’s just being into hip-hop and just being used to those sounds. When I was younger, I actually depended on samples quite a bit because I wasn’t proficient in playing things like synths—so I had to go the sample route. Its one of these things where you go through phases. When I first started I was sampling Jazz almost exclusively and I’ve just transitioned to other things as I’ve aged and learned more. Continue reading “Beat Merchant: Jake One Interview”