Diggin’ In The Crates: Twelve Jewelz (Volume 4)

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Words by Daniel Isenberg (@StanIpcus)

We’re back with Volume 4 of Twelve Jewelz, and I must say, I really like how this series has taken shape. It’s been fun digging back in my physical and digital crates to rediscover some gems from rap’s wealthy history, and for those who have been rocking with us since Volume 1, I hope you’ve enjoyed these carefully curated journeys down memory lane. Thankfully, there’s a lot of dope new rap music out right now to keep us occupied. But it’s always nice to take a break and revisit the past, which is why we started this column in the first place. Enjoy our latest batch of rarities, B-sides, remixes, and more below (there’s a download link included at the bottom of the post, too).

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1. Cypress Hill ft. Son Doobie “Stoned is the Way of the Walk (Reprise)”

I always appreciated the album version of “Stoned is the Way of the Walk” because it contains the same Grant Green sample as A Tribe Called Quest “Vibes and Stuff.” But this reprised take on it, featuring Cypress Hill affiliate Son Doobie of Funkdoobiest and an entirely different loop, brings a whole new vibe to the blunt session.

 

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2. Main Source “How My Man Went Down in the Game”

You’ll recognize this sample from Kool G Rap’s “Ill Street Blues,” but don’t get it twisted—Large Pro had this looped first. As he explained to me during a 2012 interview, this track was recorded during the time period after Breaking Atoms dropped, when Extra P was first starting to go for dolo (it ended up on the Wild Pitch Classics compilation in ’94). It’s a joint that Large described as “a time capsule song,” and it’s all about young friends of his who fell in love and started doing crazy shit for their wifeys. He told me, “That’s not like a ‘Front Door’ that still resonates. It’s like, ‘Aiight, I was young.’” But regardless of his growth since it was recorded, the track’s dopeness is still undeniable.

 

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3. Lord Finesse ft. Big L “Yes You May (Funk Flow Mix)”

Listening to Lord Finesse’s recent appearance on Juan Epstein made me pull out this Showbiz-produced smacker last week, and truthfully, I’ve been bumping it on repeat ever since. It’s an early wax appearance by the late great Big L, who spits ill lines all over his verse, like, “Chicks stick to my dick like magnets on refrigerators.” And of course, Finesse gets busy as well—“It ain’t over ‘til the fat lady sing? I’ma shoot the bitch.” Legendary.

RIP Big L.

 

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4. Diamond and The Psychotic Neurotics “Best Kept Secret (Remix/Not For Airplay)”

Here’s another D.I.T.C. jewel that appeared on the flipside of the “Sally Got a One Track Mind” single. Same verses, but with the help of co-producer DJ Mark the 45 King, Diamond provides some new drums to give the song a bit more bravado. The original is a classic, but this shit is worthy of rotation, too, even if it is labeled “Not For Airplay.”

 

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5. Frankie Cutlass ft. Sadat X and Redman “You and You and You (K.D.’s Party Mix – IP Edit)”

“Oh you got some hash with that lime green grass?” I prefer the old school bounce of this “Party Mix” to the original version of DJ Frankie Cutlass’ single that appeared on his Politics & Bullsh*t album. And no shots, but I personally made this edit so it hops right into Sadat and Redman’s verses. I respect when DJs get on the mic and all, and Frankie’s not bad, but with all-stars like this in the 2nd and 3rd slot on the record, sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do. And actually, the first time I heard this remix on a mixtape back in the day, the DJ did the same thing and I didn’t even know Cutlass had a verse on the song. All love though. And yes, both Sadat and Redman mutilate their appearances.

 

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6. Busta Rhymes ft. Ol’ Dirty Bastard “Woo-Hah!!! Got You All in Check (The World Wide Remix)”

Yo, Dirt spazzed. His flows are fucking insane on this cut, and I mean that as the highest compliment. You know you’re on some next shit when Busta is the guy who has to maintain the normalcy on the record. What a pair, and what a delight to hear two of the most original MCs in history exchange bananas bars back and forth with each other. RIP ODB. There will never be another.

 

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7. Raekwon ft. Ghostface Killah “Rainy Dayz (Remix)”

I won’t go as far to say that this remix is better than the Cuban Linx album version, but it’s a great flip nonetheless. The new beat definitely has a more radio-ready vibe, and lightens up the mood compared to the tone of its predecessor. Plus you get all new vocals to match from both Wu MCs. Enjoy, then check out our feature on the Only Built 4 Cuban Linx… music videos if you missed it HERE.

 

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8. Capone-N-Noreaga, Mobb Deep, and Tragedy Khadafi “L.A., L.A. (Original Version)”

With the help of Stretch Armstrong, CNN linked up with fellow Queens kings Mobb Deep and Tragedy Khadafi to put their own spin on Tha Dogg Pound’s “New York, New York” single, which infamously featured Snoop knocking over landmark Manhattan skyscrapers in the music video and imitating New York rapper slang on the intro to the song. There aren’t really any direct shots fired at Tha Dogg Pound or Snoop in the lyrics, but to a culture that was already in the midst of an East Coast/West Coast war, it definitely came off as a diss.

But according to Kurupt, the song was meant to be an ode to New York, the place they credited with giving birth to hip-hop. And originally, they wanted Nas and a host of other rappers from the Big Apple to make cameos when they filmed it in NY. But then during the video shoot, some gunshots were fired in their direction, and from there, the love was momentarily lost. Kurupt told XXL a couple years back, “We went back home and Snoop was like, ‘Man, fuck that!’ Then we shot the other part of the video where we started kicking everything the fuck over. That’s why we started kicking things over because we got shot at.” Thankfully, no one from the DPG or QB massive got hurt in the end, and we can enjoy the Queens version of the song in all its splendor.

A couple other notes on this track, pardon the extended blurb. There is also a Marley Marl “Kuwait Mix” version of “L.A., L.A.,” but I personally prefer the original. And the old heads may also remember that Biggie first rapped over this beat during a St. Ides commercial.

 

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9. Beanie Sigel “Freestyle”

Speaking of St. Ides commercials, back in ’98 when Beans was a fresh face at Roc-A-Fella Records, a freestyle that featured him rapping over the same beat his Big Homie used for his St. Ides joint appeared on a limited edition Vol. 2…Hard Knock Life bonus disc titled This Thing Of Ours. That disc also featured the first pressing of “Can I Live II,” so yeah, it was special. Beans obliterates this beat with an ill, slow Philly flow, making it crystal clear for anyone who was lucky enough to be listening that he had next at the Roc. This shit is crazy.

*Bonus* Jay Z “St. Ides Commercial”

 

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10. Jay Z ft. Twista and Missy Elliot “Is That Yo Bitch? (Original Version)”

I’m gonna stay in Roc-A-Fella mode for another joint, hope that’s cool. Most people know this song as a Memphis Bleek single, which had a music video and all that. But at first, it was just a Hov joint with Twista and Missy and Timbaland on the boards. On the original version—which was initially on Vol. 3….The Life and Times of S. Carter along with “Anything” before they were replaced by “Watch Me” and “There’s Been a Murder” for the album’s official release—we get three sharp-spitting, pimped-out Jiggaman verses, and of course an unforgettable feature by Chi-Town’s swiftest. Too bad they pulled this off Vol. 3 as is—it fit the bill perfectly.

 

Old School

11. Bless “Ayo Shorty”

Bless (above left) is an ill producer and close friend of mine from Roosevelt Island that I went to school with at the University of Maryland back in the late ‘90s. He had a dope home studio setup off campus, and we used to record together a lot. Every once in a while, Bless would take a liking to one of his own beats, and hop on the mic to give it his own lyrical blessing, if you will. On “Ayo Shorty,” a completely random joint he did fucking around one night at his crib (it may remind you of some vintage Ghostface shit), he loops up a drumless soul sample and spits some proper game on top of it. It’s straight up dirty, NSFW sex talk, and after listening to it steadily for over a decade, it’s about time I share it with the masses.

 

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12. Nas “Talk of New York”

Why this Salaam Remi-produced banger never made it onto a Nas album or became an official Nas single completely baffles me. It got pressed up on vinyl in Japan, and was included on Funkmaster Flex’s Car Show Tour CD, but come on. An ode to New York this dope deserved a more major rollout and release. I remember Big Mike had it on one of his mixtapes in 2005, and I played it endlessly. In terms of Big Apple anthems, I’ll take this over Jay’s “Empire State of Mind” any day.

Download Twelve Jewelz (Volume 4) HERE.

Twelve Jewelz artwork by TJ Bennett.

Previously: Twelve Jewelz (Volume 1) | Twelve Jewelz (Volume 2) | Twelve Jewelz (Volume 3)

Images courtesy of Discogs and the Westcheddar archives.

Catch up on all NahRight features HERE.


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One Response to “Diggin’ In The Crates: Twelve Jewelz (Volume 4)”

  1. Art Says:

    Dope!

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