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Diggin’ In The Crates: Twelve Jewelz (Volume 5)

TJ5

Words by Daniel Isenberg (@StanIpcus)

Yeah boooyyyy. We’re back with a brand new Twelve Jewelz, our NahRight series dedicated to gems from rap’s yesteryear. For Volume 5, we’ve collected yet another batch of remixes, rarities, B-Sides, mixtape exclusives, and unreleased bangers from the ’90s and early 2000s, featuring everyone from Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg to Showbiz & A.G. to Mobb Deep. I went digging for some old demos as well this go-round and actually found some good stuff I had never heard before.

Take a breather from the onslaught of new music and read/stream below. And as always, we’ve included a download link to the entire dozen at the bottom.

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1. Dr. Dre ft. Snoop Doggy Dogg “Nothin’ But a ‘G’ Thang (Club Mix)”

I heard my bro Cipha Sounds play this on a Saturday afternoon on Hot 97 sometime last year, and I was bugging. At first I thought it was a blend, but it’s actually an official remix they put out during The Chronic era. Ciph told me the rationale was that they knew “Bitches Ain’t Shit” wouldn’t get burn on radio because of the chorus, so they did the “’G’ Thang” remix over it to make sure at least the beat got heard on the airwaves. Good thinking, this shit knocks. Thanks for sending it over, Ciph!

 

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2. Souls of Mischief “Souls of Mischief”

From what I understand, this Souls of Mischief self-titled rarity pre-dates their debut, and is produced by their Hiero homie Del the Funkee Homosapien—hence the dope-ass bassline, sick horn sample, and gritty drums. And all four of the SOM MCs get dumb busy on it. But yo, you should’ve hopped on the track too, Del!

 

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3. The Beatnuts “Sandwiches (Remix)”

I’ll confidently put “Sandwiches” in my Top 3 Beatnuts songs of all time. It’s short and sweet, but damn that loop is too ill, and Psycho Les catches wreck with the slow flow on it. The remix—which I’ve also seen labeled as the “Original Version”—has the same beat, but this time we get some extra Psycho Les raps and some bars from JuJu, too. This is definitely a gem for fans of the early ‘Nuts. Check it out, and also peep our brethren Unkut’s recent interview with Psycho Les HERE for some important Beatnuts history.

 

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4. Showbiz & A.G. “You Know Now (Buckwild Mix)”

Showbiz & A.G.’s Next Level album turns twenty this week, and to celebrate, here’s a remix of one of the LP’s dopest songs, “You Know Now.” Buckwild laces the beat, which you Heltah Skeltah fans out there may notice contains the same sample as their Nocturnal cut “Letha Brainz Blo.” A.G. also gives us some new rhymes as well after the first verse, making it a must-have for Show and A fans. Go pump that Next Level album this weekend too, it still knocks!

 

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5. A Tribe Called Quest “Practice Session (Demo Mix)”

I found a collection of old A Tribe Called Quest demos last week that I had never heard, and this The Ummah-produced banger was my favorite of the lot. It sounds like Beats, Rhymes and Life-era Quest, and features a nice verse from The Abstract Poetic himself Q-Tip (no Phife sorry shorties) with an extended chorus/instrumental section to bang when the bars end. Adjust your system for this one. #RIPJDilla

 

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6. Jeru The Damaja “Me, Not The Paper”

Anyone else completely forget about this song’s existence? Man, I used to love this joint. I gotta give DJ Premier props for constantly lacing Jeru the ridiculous piano samples. Actually, the original version of this song has an incredible piano loop, too, but I prefer the melancholy muddiness of this B-Side remix (which did not appear on Wrath of the Math), which features entirely new beats and rhymes. Pay attention.

 

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7. Street Smartz ft. O.C. and Pharoahe Monch “Metal Thangz”

It’s not easy to make a rap song that’s hardcore and also extremely lyrical, but this collabo featuring D.I.T.C. spitter O.C., Organized Konfusion MC Pharoahe Monch, and F.T. of Street Smartz gets that job done with ease. Pharoahe Monch may have been the one to walk away with the coveted “Rhyme of the Month” in The Source for his verse here, but don’t sleep—O.C. and F.T. handle their B.I. as well. I had this on Stretch Armstrong’s Lesson 1 compilation back in college and was obsessed with it. And as a grown ass man, it still holds a special place in my hip-hop heart. Amazing track.

 

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8. Jay Z “Streets is Watching (Dirty Version)”

Yo! So I went into a mini-rant during my Jay Z B-Sides post a couple weeks ago about how wack it is that “Streets is Watching” is edited on In My Lifetime, Vol. 1. Someone on Twitter told me it was a stipulation that was attached to the sample clearance. Well, it turns out the homie DJ Rhude had the actual promo vinyl I posted a picture of. And like I hoped, it had the dirty version on it, so he sent it over for me to include here. Finally, we can all listen to this song without the accompanying frustration of no curses! Major, major props to DJ Rhude for this—check out his Jay Z B-Sides mix HERE, it’s fresh.

 

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9. Jadakiss “Something To Talk About”

In celebration of Jadakiss’ 40th birthday this week and the hot streak he’s been on with the freestyles, here’s a rarity from his back catalog that you may not be up on. I asked him about this song during my Complex interview with him a few years back, and he told me he originally wanted this to be his solo joint on The L.O.X.’s debut LP. But when Puff passed, he gave it to Kay Slay as an exclusive. Dope song, and I particularly love the story he tells on the third verse about the OG in the hood. And of course how he flips a Bonnie Raitt classic on the chorus. Ahaaa!!

 

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10. Freeway “Goodbye”

After a strong showing at Hov’s B-Sides concert, I gotta include some Philly Freezer shit in this volume. I first heard this brilliant non-album cut on a Doo Wop mixtape back in the early 2000s (can’t remember which one though smh), where Free eloquently personifies the block that he hustled on by turning it into a woman he’s in a relationship with. He falls in love at first, rapping, “This might sound crazy, but I loved that time of the month/The couple of days your shit flowed, I played you closer.” But he eventually has to move on—“I gotta cold shoulder you, you let niggas walk all over you/Let them young niggas get a hold of you and treat you wrong.” Killer concept, excellent execution. Respect to the Philly section of the Roc clique, those dudes were always ridiculous with it. Still are.

 

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11. Mobb Deep ft. I-20 “When It Comes To The Beef” (Prod. by Alchemist)

Special thanks to ALC for showing love to our last volume of Twelve Jewelz. I’ve been holding this joint right here since I first started the series a few months back, and as a sign of respect, I’m choosing to drop it in now. This beat is crazy!! Once again, it’s an absolute fire track from the Mobb and Alchemist. And you may remember I-20 from Ludacris’ DTP crew? Dude’s voice is bananas, and he handles the chorus effectively here, sounding right at home with Pee and Hav on the cut. If you want that hardcore, slow-riding grimy shit, press play now. And if you don’t, what the fuck is wrong with you?!

 

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12. Raekwon “I’ll Kill You”

This is one of those rare Wu bangers that I’ve been hoping for years would surface in its entirety. Then again, maybe this minute-and-a-half clip is actually the whole song! Who knows. All I can say is this is Raekwon rhyming hard as hell over “a Marley Marl presentation.” This shit is so tough, cot damn! Props to Kay Slay once again with the exclusive and the amped-up drops.

Download Twelve Jewelz (Volume 5) HERE.

Twelve Jewelz artwork by TJ Bennett.

Photos via Discogs and UpNorthTrips.

Previously:

Twelve Jewelz (Volume 1)
Twelve Jewelz (Volume 2)
Twelve Jewelz (Volume 3)
Twelve Jewelz (Volume 4)

Catch up on all NahRight features HERE.


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