Tag Archives: Diggers With Gratitude

The Marc Smith LP Album Sampler – Emskee & E The 5th

marc smith cover

Emskee of The Good People teams-up with Brooklyn’s E The 5th for the rough, rugged and raw album “The Marc Smith LP” dropping next month on UK imprint Diggers With Gratitude – check the flavour here.

New Joint – Jorun Bombay / The Rampagers

Jorun Bombay Presents The Rampagers (Emskee, Oxygen & Phill Most Chill) – “DWG Rampage” (Diggers With Gratitude / 2013)

Dope reworking of an EPMD classic taken from the limited vinyl-only compilation “DWG Sampler One (A Journey Through The Crates)”.

Album Review – The Good People

Gone For Good

The Good People

“Gone For Good”

(Diggers With Gratitude)

With a slew of projects already under their respective belts, both collaborative and solo, it should come as no surprise to anyone already familiar with NY’s Emskee and Saint to hear that the duo’s latest release is another accomplished collection of quality true-school Hip-Hop.

With the DWG crew having already released a limited edition eight-track “Gone For Good” vinyl EP last year, this full-length effort almost doubles the track-listing, expanding what was already a satisfying listening experience into what is sure to be one of 2013’s stand-out albums.

Rooted in the sample-based, drum-heavy sound of golden-era East Coast Hip-Hop, Emskee and Saint’s shared love of the boom-bap is obvious throughout “Gone For Good”, but, as always, the duo look to build on their musical influences rather than simply emulate them.

The Phife-sampling “How I Represent” boasts a breezy Saint beat reminiscent of something a Lord Finesse might have given an AK Skills back in the mid-90s, all knocking drums, melodic chimes and echoing horns, with Emskee dropping forthright verses about a present-day rap game in which “everybody wants to rhyme and shine instant” without studying their craft.

A well-placed CL Smooth vocal hook is a nice addition to the hypnotic keys heard on the Spectac-assisted “Make Believe”, whilst the upbeat “Work Release” seeks to offer some light relief from the daily nine-to-five grind, as the duo juggle the relative security and guaranteed monotony of a regular day job with their creative aspirations.

The jazz-infused “The Theory” finds Emskee and Saint challenging music fans who follow trends to think for themselves, whilst also highlighting the situation the duo find themselves in regarding the large amount of support they receive overseas compared to back home in the States (“They know me out in Japan, Better than they do in New York…Long-story short, While you’re stuck in this kangaroo court and holding fort, We’re overseas doing imports…”).

Nick Wiz of Cella Dwellas / Rakim fame lends his production talents to the soulfully smoothed-out “Let Me Be The One”, with the Good People taking the opportunity to drop something sincere and heartfelt for the fairer sex.

Full of rewind-worthy beats and rhymes from beginning to end, hopefully this album’s title “Gone For Good” is simply a play on words rather than a statement of fact, as the Hip-Hop world is definitely a better place for having talented individuals like Emskee and Saint contributing to it.

Ryan Proctor

The Good People – “How I Represent” (Diggers With Gratitude / 2013)

New Joint – The Good People

The Good People – “How I Represent” (Diggers With Gratitude / 2012)

Taken from the forthcoming Emskee and Saint project “Gone For Good”.

That Brown Underground EP Sampler – Sputnik Brown

The Diggers With Gratitude crew continue their series of action-packed 2012 projects with this limited-edition collection of unreleased tracks from NYC’s Sputnik Brown crew featuring input from John Robinson, DJ Jazzy Jeff and Wyld Bunch – peep the sampler here.

Who Rips The Sound? EP Sampler – Latee

The Diggers With Gratitude crew plunder the Flavor Unit vaults for this forthcoming release from the voice behind the 80s classic “This Cut’s Got Flavor” – check the sampler here.

Album Review – DJ Format

DJ Format

“Statement Of Intent”

(Project Blue Book Records)

It’s been nearly a decade since the release of UK vinyl junkie DJ Format’s 2003 debut album “Music For The Mature B-Boy” and seven years since its follow-up, 2005’s “If You Can’t Join ‘Em…Beat ‘Em”. Since then the Brighton-based producer’s presence on wax has been fairly limited, with Format becoming known more for his party-rocking live deejay sets and mixes than his own musical output. But, as its title suggests, with this third album the dedicated crate-digger returns to remind listeners of his capabilities behind the boards with what appears to be a renewed sense of vigour.

To these ears, “Statement Of Intent” showcases the work of a rejuvenated Format. It’s not that any of the tracks included here are a million miles away from the producer’s trademark mix of obscure samples, deft cuts and hand-picked underground lyricists, but there does seem to be a grittier, more aggressive feel to this project in places compared to Format’s past work, as if he really felt he had something to prove this time around (perhaps to himself more than others). If so, that sense of purpose and determination has definitely led to some positive results in the studio.

Having worked closely on previous releases with Canada’s Abdominal, this time around it’s Washington D.C.-raised Diggers With Gratitude emcee Sureshot La Rock who maintains a constant and welcome presence throughout “Statement Of Intent”. The opening title track finds the talented wordsmith giving props to some of the pair’s shared old-school influences, name-checking the likes of Melle Mel and Grandmaster Caz over expertly chopped beats and a variety of fast-moving samples. Whilst on the Levi 167-sampling “Dope Pusher”, La Rock peppers the track’s dense soundscape with cocky, larger-than-life boasts.

The relentless “Spaceship Earth” features Boston’s Edan travelling at magnificent speeds around the universe, dropping a rapid multi-syllable flow that would make Big Daddy Kane smile over rattling drums and whip-lashing psychedelic guitar (“Starting a colony deep in the galaxy must be the aim of astronomy, Crooked economy killing ecology”).

On the instrumental side, the dusty vibes, old-school chants and free-flowing funk of “Beyond Disco” (co-produced by The Simonsound) evokes the eclectic feel of mixes heard on Afrika Islam’s NY-based early-80s “Zulu Beat” radio show, whilst the brilliant “Battle Of The Planets” brings back memories of the electro era, with Format taking to the vocoder to issue dance-friendly instructions over rolling drums, melodic synths and space-age sound effects (“The whole galaxy is watching, This is a universal jam….Interplanetary b-boys I know you came to throw down”).

Another stand-out is the humorous “Remember…” which features Sureshot La Rock cleverly paying homage to the various females who’ve been immortalised on wax by the likes of Just-Ice, Stetsasonic and UTFO over dreamy chimes and mellow guitar (“The other day I took a stroll down memory lane, Erick and Parrish were makin’ dollars pimpin’ out Jane, You shoulda seen her kickin’ game, I tried not to stare but, It’s been twenty years with that Anita Baker haircut!”).

With further input from Mr. Lif, Phill Most Chill and The Nostalgia 77 Quintet, “Statement Of Intent” covers a lot of musical ground, from true-school breakbeat-driven anthems (“Live At The Place To Be”) to full-blown jazz (“The Long Goodbye”), but Format consistently hits the target regardless of where his musical inspiration is coming from.

In my opinion, “Statement Of Intent” contains DJ Format’s best work to date, mixing his experimental tendencies and love of Hip-Hop with a new sense of urgency and sonic vitality. As far as statements go, this particular one is hard to refute.

Ryan Proctor

DJ Format ft. Edan – “Spaceship Earth” (Project Blue Book Records / 2012)