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Diggin’ In The Crates: Twelve Jewelz (Volume 3)


Words by Daniel Isenberg (@StanIpcus)

Our Twelve Jewelz series is back again with more rap rarities, remixes, and mixtape gems for you to enjoy. Keeping the focus in that ‘90s to early 2000s sweet spot, Volume 3 picks up where 1 and 2 left off, with carefully-selected joints by rap giants Redman, KRS-One, and Prodigy, as well as early material from El-P and Eminem. Plus, some crazy collabos, a ridiculously hot Jay Z blend, and a never-before-heard exclusive by one of the Bronx’s best kept secrets. Let’s dig.


1. Redman “Smoke a Blunt Too”

There will never be enough rare Redman songs to satisfy my earbuds, so pardon me if I include one of his cuts in every volume of this series. Let’s face it, the rap world needs more Reggie Noble in it. This roach clip-scented leftover is a funky hodge podge of stellar Redman verses and shoutouts by homies like Rockwilder and his cousin Tame One, straight from the back blocks of Newark. Light up.



2. KRS-One “Hip Hop vs Rap”

On the B-Side of “Sound of Da Police,” The Blastmaster linked up with fellow Bronx resident Showbiz for some extra boom bap flavor. KRS displays his dexterity on the track, flipping a flurry of styles on an extended verse that finishes with him piecing together a medley of classic rap lines. Flame on, Kris.



3. Company Flow “Juvenile Techniques (Essentials Mix)”

Two decades before El-P formed Run The Jewels with Killer Mike, he put out his first 12-inch single with his original rap group Company Flow (at the time it was just him and Mr. Len, no Bigg Jus). He was only 17 years old, but you can tell from this that El-P been nice with the lyrics, and the beats, too. It’s a bit more straight-forward than the material Co Flow would offer up on their classic Rawkus LP Funcrusher Plus, but nevertheless, it’s an early glimpse at greatness.



4. AZ ft. Raekwon “Do or Die (Remix)”

Certain rappers in the ‘90s embodied the spirit of the Wu-Tang Clan without being officially affiliated. Like Nas, AZ was one of them. And that’s why he sounds right at home on this RZA-produced remix, bouncing bars back and forth with the Chef.



5. Camp Lo “Coolie High (Paradise Remix)”

This Ski Beatz-produced remix of Camp Lo’s debut single was never commercially released due to sample clearance issues. You’ll notice that Michael Jackson’s “The Lady in My Life” is fairly prominent in this version of the song, but unlike LL Cool J and Boyz II Men’s hit single “Hey Lover,” it didn’t get the Neverland Ranch co-sign. Too bad—this remix is lovely.



6. Puff Daddy ft. The Notorious B.I.G. and Busta Rhymes “Victory (Hip-Hop Remix)”

Disregard the fact that Biggie’s vocals are edited in this version (a dirty version wasn’t made available). The important thing is that you get to hear him rap over a Bob James “Nautilus” sample. This shit knocks front to back, and the Biggie intro in the beginning is crystal clear as if you were standing behind the boards with Puff while he was on the other side of the glass in the booth getting ready to spit. Listening to joints like this make me miss Big Poppa more than ever.



7. Shabaam Sahdeeq ft. A.L., Eminem, Kwest, and Skam “5 Star Generals”

This was one of the first two songs I ever heard Eminem rhyme on. A friend of a friend had this and “Low Down, Dirty” on a tape, and they both blew me away during my first listen. Em definitely was the standout on this underground posse cut led by Rawkus mainstay Shabaam Sahdeeq, rapping, “I never gave a rat’s ass or a flying fuck/Driving drunk in a fire truck with the siren stuck/Slamming the brakes, skidding out ‘cause the tires suck/Went to pull you off my dick and got the pliers stuck.” Nuts. Shout to Kwest Tha Madd Lad who gets busy on this, too. His first album is a great listen, check it out if you’re not already up on it.



8. Nefarious “When The Sun Goes Down”

You’ve probably never heard of Nefarious (above right), and you’ve definitely never heard this song. But that’s why this column exists—to uncover the gems. Nef is a Bronx MC who I went to school with at the University of Maryland back in the late ‘90s. I always tell people he’s the dopest rapper I ever shared the mic with, and the illest rapper you never heard before. This song, which was produced by our mutual friend and classmate The Quartermaine (above left) and co-produced by Kenwood (who also laid the sick scratches on the hook), has been in the vault since it was first recorded over our winter break in ‘99. And I am proudly liberating it here for all to enjoy. Nef is as nice as ever on this, rapping, “I’m part of Generation X where tecs bring respect/And one nigga vexed can clear the whole half of a projects.” It’s a travesty that a rap song this good has been sitting around unheard by the masses for over a decade and a half. Feel this.



9. Foxy Brown ft. Shyne “West Coast Bitches (Remix)”

Yeah, this shit is tough. Straight Brooklyn hard-rock shit, with Fox Boogie in top form and Shyne Po holding her down on the hook. In the grand scheme of things, don’t ever sleep on Foxy’s influence. Male or female, she helped bring that fly hood shit to the forefront, and on the right beat, she did it better than anyone. This is proof. Love her demeanor on here (“Fuck niggas, use your fingers”), and Shyne sounds awesome, too. They actually make quite a pairing. Shouts to Whoooo Kiddddddddd!!!



10. Prodigy “I Want You”

Mobb Deep put out a DVD/CD in the early 2000s titled Infamous Allegiance Pt. One, and the audio disc had some exclusives on it, including this mellowed-out tale of love vs. lust. Prodigy keeps one of his hoes in check here, making sure the parameters of their relationship are clear, rapping, “I don’t love you, I just wanna fuck you/And you don’t love me, look at how I thug you/I never took you out or bought you shit/We go to hotels and nut off and what then?/It’s simple, you go your way and I’ll go mine/Period, nothing more nothing less.” Great lyrical content, but damn, that sample! This type of beat is perfect for the spring weather—just roll the windows down and ride out. Now if it would only stop snowing in New York!



11. Jay Z ft. R. Kelly “Somebody’s Girl (Roli Fingaz 3 Beat Blend)”

Yo! This dude Roli Fingaz used to do a series called Fire Blends, and that’s exactly what they were. Fireeeeeeeeee blends. On this three beat remix of Hov and Kells’ Best of Both Worlds standout, Roli gives the song a complete makeover, with the help of Timbaland, The Neptunes, and Dr. Dre. Man, the beat switches on this blend are everything. Props to Roli Fingaz, he murked this.



12. Cam’ron ft. Jim Jones “Cali Love”

Purple Haze fans will recognize these lyrics from “The Dope Man,” which has a completely different beat (you can hear Kanye playing it for Jay Z during their Fade to Black studio session) with a more classic West Coast sound. But I gotta say, I prefer this early mixtape snippet, all day. Honestly, this is one of my favorite rap beats EVER. Big ups to Big Mike with the exclusive, and props to Kay Slay who had this joint on one of his tapes, too. Check out more Cam’ron mixtape gems HERE.

Download Link: Twelve Jewelz (Volume 3)

Previously: Twelve Jewelz (Volume 2) | Twelve Jewelz (Volume 1)

Twelve Jewelz artwork by TJ Bennett. Ad Rock photo taken by the legendary Ricky Powell.

Images courtesy of Discogs and the Westcheddar archives.

Catch up on all NahRight features HERE.

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