Diggin’ In The Crates: Twelve Jewelz (Volume 1)


Words by Daniel Isenberg (@StanIpcus)

The way we discover music has changed a lot over the years. I used to spend nuff time back in the day hitting all my local spots in Westchester, the Bronx, Brooklyn, and Manhattan, searching for the dopest new rap joints and also older gems I wasn’t up on yet. Sadly, those spots don’t even exist anymore. But on the bright side, all the fire is now right at my fingertips, thanks to the wonderful World Wide Web.

Yes, I miss the experience of shopping for records and CDs and mixtapes, but as a married father of three whose down time is limited to the late night hours after my family is asleep, I’ve grown to truly appreciate a nice home-based, digital digging session. And yes, I still have my own bountiful collection of CDs and records I keep stashed at the crib to pull out and sift through as needed.

In my new column here at NahRight, which I’ll bill as a slight spin-off of our Mixtape Memories features, I will be presenting you with a series of random yet carefully selected mixtape classics, freestyles, demos, white label rarities, B-sides, blends, remixes, and more, all spanning the ‘90s and early 2000s. These are joints that I either have in my own physical collection or that I’ve found or re-discovered online (thank you Internets). Disclaimer—this is not my attempt to impress you with the most obscure rap tracks and artists ever, but rather an opportunity to take a break from the constant new music we post here at NahRight and revisit some worthy piff from the past. Let’s dig, shall we?


1. A Tribe Called Quest “Bonita Applebum (Hootie Mix)”

I first heard this during the opening scene of Poetic Justice, you know, right before Q-Tip gets his brains blown out at the drive-in with Janet? I found it a couple years later on the Revised Quest for the Seasoned Traveler import (which I copped during a summer trip to Cali thank you Amoeba), then later I discovered that it was pressed up on a “Bonita Applebum (Hootie Mix)” 12 inch all along. Many artists have flipped The Isley Brothers “Between The Sheets” sample before, but there’s something special about hearing The Abstract Poetic’s voice over it. It’s a very chilled-out remix, with new rhymes and all, courtesy of my favorite rap group ever.



2. Redman ft. Roz “I Get Down Like That”

“Put it in the blunt, put it in the blunt.” This made the rounds on mixtapes during the Dare Iz a Darkside era. It was also pressed up on a white label release titled Dat Undaground Shit!!!!, which additionally featured some alternate versions of “Can’t Wait.” Red goes retard on this of course, and his sister Roz gets busy with a dope guest spot too. Those familiar with Redman’s catalog may remember her from later appearances on the posse cuts “Cloze Ya Doorz” and “Bricks Two.” Whoop whoop!



3. The Roots ft. Bahamadia “Proceed III”

There are a handful of different “Proceed” versions that The Roots released (including the classic album version and remixes with Roy Ayers and Da Beatminerz), but as great as all of those are, this one is my personal favorite. Not only is their Philly friend Bahamadia’s guest appearance tight, but I really enjoy the extra-laidback Grand Negaz groove. And yes, Black Thought’s verse is quite impeccable also, as always. Plus don’t sleep on Malik B, he’s dope on this too! Great song.



4. LL Cool J “No Airplay (Dirty Version)”

This was on an old DJ S&S tape before Mr. Smith was released. But when the album dropped, I was disappointed to find that it only contained a clean version of the song, because LL gets particularly gutter with the vocals here. I wish he made more songs like this, where he flaunts his rap skills hard body without yelling on the mic. I’m in love with this beat, too. Straight to DAT, right L?


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5. Roc Marciano “The Prophecy”

“The Prophecy” was re-released in 2011, but it was first pressed up back in 1997, and according to Roc’s manager Jazz, it was his first song ever to be played on the radio. Makes sense, the shit is dumb dope. Roc’s so relaxed on the track, yet every bar is wild potent. And the beat is butters (Roc co-produced it). Can’t front, even being a Roc Stan (literally), I somehow just heard this for the first time a couple months ago. It’s been on repeat ever since, so I had to include it for the Roc Marci fans like me who may have missed it, and for fans of flames in general. Shout to Roc’s boy Supa spitting on the cut, too.



6. Del The Funkee Homosapien “Help Me Out (Kool DJ EQ Remix)”

I had a friend named Grant who lived around the corner from me during my College Park Knox Box days, and he had this record. Being a kid who was born in Oakland, I was always a huge Del fan, and I quickly became obsessed with this Kool DJ EQ remix from the moment I first heard it. I had the original Del song on the Beats & Lyrics compilation, which I also copped at Amoeba during a later Cali trip, but it didn’t hit like this! In fact, when I found the instrumental a few years back, I was so elated that I ending up laying my own bars on top of it.



7. Large Professor “Cool”

Not to be confused with his 1st Class album cut “Kool,” this J-Love-produced banger features a perfectly placed Rakim vocal sample on the chorus and some excellent Extra P verses. This just might be my favorite solo Large Professor song ever. Classic Queens shit to the core.


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8. Ghostface “Ghost Deini (Original Version)”

Back in 2000 after Supreme Clientele dropped, I saw Ghostface and Cappadonna open up for Redman and Method Man in D.C. It was one of the illest and wildest rap shows I’ve ever been to. There were chicks on stage getting completely naked, it was off the hook. But even with all the nudity, the most memorable part of that show was when Ghost performed the original version of “Ghost Deini” over an instrumental I had never heard before, which he proclaimed was his “favorite beat ever.” I’ll never forget how fired up he was when the beat dropped, and how he absolutely ripped it to shreds. I guess they had problems clearing the sample, which is why it didn’t make the album*. I still love the Supreme Clientele version, but I can see why Ghost prefers the original. Too tough.

*Though the sample couldn’t be cleared for Ghost’s album, this beat did appear on the Wu-Tang Killa Bees album The Swarm Vol. 1, on the song “Bastards” by Ruthless Bastards. Finger-point to INDOESADSMILEZ for the assist.



9. Beanie Sigel & Freeway ft. Jay Z “Hot 97 Freestyle”

This DJ Clue clip from Roc-a-Fella’s infamous Hot 97 takeover freestyle session was the first time I ever heard Freeway rap, and boy, did he make a first impression. “Roll up on you while you droooooo’d up.” Whooooooo!!! Beans crushes his verse, too. So all together you get Beans and Free going H.A.M. on the mic, Hov’s amped adlibs, and classic Clue drops, all over CNN’s ridiculous “Y’all Don’t Wanna” instrumental. Yup, this easily goes down in history as one of the most turnt radio recordings ever featured on a DJ mixtape.


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10. Eminem “DJ Kay Slay Freestyle”

This was the intro from Kay Slay’s Eminem hosted Say What You Say mixtape. It was quite special at the time to hear Eminem, who was the biggest rapper in the world, spit some exclusive shit over his own beat for an NYC mixtape DJ like Kay Slay (the track would later be used for his Obie Trice and 50 Cent collabo “Love Me”). He shows respect to Slay and throws shots at Jermaine Dupri in one swoop, rapping, “I’ve made beats for Jay Z for free/Page me [if] you need a beat/You JD then it’s Dre’s free/You Kay Slay, the fee’s waived.” Yup, Em’s chicken scratch, throwaway rhymes are better than most MCs’ best bars. And this is proof.



11. Jadakiss “Checkmate”

Yo, I know this isn’t the ultimate rarity or anything, but have you listened to this Kiss diss record lately? Sometimes we forget about how historic hip-hop moments like this were, and then when we revisit them, it blows our minds. That’s what happened to me recently. Yo, Jada really murked 50 here on some cool, calm, collected shit. Too many quotables, but I always loved how he follows the jab about 50 living in Connecticut with, “You don’t be in the hood, you be in the woods/Fuckin’ with me that’s where you really gonna be for good.” Simple, but effective. Ahaaaa!



12. Prodigy ft. Big Twins “What a Real Mobb Do”

Most rap fans will know this beat because Jay Z rapped over a track with the same sample on his American Gangster album cut “Sweet.” A smaller percentage of rap fans will recognize it from this Lord Finesse remix that surfaced a few years ago. But as dope as both of those songs are, I was originally introduced to this sample by Pee and Alchemist via a snippet of “What a Real Mobb Do” appearing a Big Mike mixtape, and that’s where my loyalty lies. I was thumping this while I was driving around through the snow the other day, and it was hitting very nicely. By the way, this is the full version, not the Big Mike version which only contained a verse and a half. Very ill cut right here.

Twelve Jewelz artwork by TJ Bennett.

Images courtesy of Discogs and the Westcheddar archives.

Download Link: Twelve Jewelz (Volume 1). Stay tuned for the next batch, coming soon…

Catch up on all previous NahRight features HERE.

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2 Responses to “Diggin’ In The Crates: Twelve Jewelz (Volume 1)”

  1. heezy Says:


  2. Drew Says:

    Thank you from this 80’s baby.
    These kids these days just don’t know.

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