Diggin’ In The Crates: Twelve Jewelz (Volume 8)


Words by Daniel Isenberg (@StanIpcus)

It’s time to take a break from all the current shit that’s popping on your playlists right now and dive into our latest edition of Twelve Jewelz. It’s been a minute since we served up a batch of throwback gems from the ’90s and early 2000s, but trust that we never stopped digging. Enjoy our latest hand-picked selection—it just may be the last in the series, so please savor it.


1. KMD ft. Busta Rhymes and Brand Nubian “Nitty Gritty (Dog Spelled Backwards Mix)”

I’ve been on my early MF Doom, KMD shit lately, which led me to this fresh “Nitty Gritty” remix. Though Grand Puba appears on the album version, he is absent here—but Busta Rhymes makes for a highly capable substitute, getting busy alongside Zev Love X (the pre-mask MF Doom), Subroc, Onyx the Birthstone Kid, Lord Jamar and Sadat X. Now that’s a God Squad.

As for the beat, well I always loved how D.I.T.C. flipped this sample for their posse cut “Internationally Known,” so discovering this was a true treat.



2. Fat Joe “I’m Tryin’ To Tell ‘Em” (Produced by Diamond D)

I admittedly never saw the 1994 indie film I Like It Like That, nor did I expect to find a rare Diamond D-produced Fat Joe song on it’s soundtrack. Fat Joe’s had a helluva 2016—but don’t call it a comeback, Crack’s been here for decades. This is MPV music with a message—turn it all the way up.

*Bonus* Fat Joe “Big Poppa Freestyle (Lords of the Underground Diss)”

D.I.T.C. doesn’t fuck around when it comes to their crew. And Joey Crack was always one to step up and rep. On this rare mixtape freestyle, he takes Biggie’s “Big Poppa” beat and goes right at the Lords of the Underground’s necks, rapping, “First you tried to sound like Das EFX/And then you tried to diss my man Lord Finesse,” as well as flat out saying, “Fuck the Lords of the Underground, whoever don’t like it can suck my motherfuckin’ dick.”

You may remember that Show and A.G. also had words for the L.O.T.U. on “Next Level,” when A rapped, “Fake Lords they get strangled with mic cords/Taking beats from my LP for sure ain’t healthy.” For those interested in the background of how this beef came to be, Unkut has a full breakdown.



3. Showbiz & A.G. ft. Lord Finesse “Stand Strong”

Speaking of Showbiz, A.G., and Lord Finesse, here’s an unreleased slapper from the Goodfellas era featuring Show on the boards and Lord Finesse on the hook. A.G. gets some solid lines off on this, rapping, “141st is my residence/try to jack me for my dead presidents you’ll get left with no evidence,” and, “The ladies date me so the chumps hate me/Got more soul than gravy and grits, and making hits like a strong safety.” Nice.



4. Jamal “Fades Em All (Pete Rock Remix)”

This is one of the hardest Pete Rock remixes that rarely gets talked about. And in general, I’d say former Illegal MC turned Def Squad affiliate Jamal also doesn’t get enough props—dude always came with the hard bars. Thump this.



5. Onyx ft. Method Man “Evil Streets (Remix)”

Shout to DJ Rhude for reminding me about this joint. Onyx and Methtical, what?! I always loved this beat, so when I heard Method Man hop on the remix and spill his Shaolin slang, I was buggin’. Shit is straight John Blaze.

Sidenote—don’t sleep, Onyx had some classics on the AllWeGotIzUs album. This, “Walk In New York,” and of course “Last Dayz.” Great production, and ill mic control, too.



6. Originoo Gun Clappaz “Hard To The Core”

Ah, the unsung heroes of the Boot Camp Clik—O.G.C. I spent a solid amount of my first semester at University of Maryland in ‘96 listening to Da Storm, and now twenty years later to the month, I came across a head-nodder of theirs I had never heard that supposedly pre-dates the album. Listen as Top Dog, Louieville Sluggah and Starang Wondah do their three man weave on this—Brooklyn in effect.



7. Fugees ft. A Tribe Called Quest, Busta Rhymes and John Forte “Rumble in the Jungle”

The inclusion of this song is a dedication to two legends we lost this year—Muhammad Ali and Phife Dawg. Their legacies intersect on this not-to-be-forgotten collabo of rap supergroups the Fugees and A Tribe Called Quest, with help from the incomparable Busta Rhymes and Fugees affiliate John Forte. Everyone plays their part here, coming together in the ring to show love to the one and only Muhammad Ali for the soundtrack to the highly-recommended When We Were Kings documentary, including Phife who’s as solid as ever.

RIP Muhammad Ali and Phife Dawg.



8. Mobb Deep “Young Luv”

Here’s another tribute—this time to the late great Prince. To keep it all the way hip-hop, here is one of my favorite Mobb Deep rarities of all-time, which features a sample of Prince’s song “If I Was Your Girlfriend.” It’s one of those grimey sex tale tracks that only Pee and Hav could pull off over a loop like this. Enjoy the raunchy realness of this Hell On Earth-era leftover, which probably never made it to the album because of the Prince sample. Either that, or the extremely graphic sexual content—ear muffs kids!



9. Nas “Amongst Kings”

My boy Kam was talking about this song recently, and how we used to zone out to it when Kay Slay had it on one of his tapes. “Amongst Kings” was actually on the advanced copy of I Am…, but never made it to the official release. Not sure why (maybe because of the sample?), because to me this song fits in perfectly with the theme of the album, especially at the very end of the LP where it originally appeared. It’s a song about the depths of death, vividly scribed and delivered as only the Queensbridge King can.



10. Slick Rick “I Sparkle” (Produced by Large Professor)

One of my most-cherished experiences as a hip-hop journalist was interviewing Large Professor for Complex, and listening for three hours straight to the stories behind all his classic songs. Among the dozens of songs we discussed was “I Sparkle,” a lesser-known Large Professor-produced Slick Rick loosie that ended up on the Wild Wild West soundtrack.

Large recalled their upstate recording session, which happened shortly after Slick Rick was released from jail, saying, “That was the first time I had seen someone sit down and do their vocals. After that, I saw a bunch of people do it. But he sat down, all smooth, chillin’. And I was like, ‘Ah, that’s dope.’ Just to see him work, and do all those different voices and sounds.” This is what happens when two legends shine on one track.



11. Half a Mill ft. Nature “Izzerb (Original Version)”

“This that shit when you hear it in the whip, you gon’ be bumpin’ it, yo.” Before “Izzerb” landed on Half a Mill’s sophomore album Da Hustle Don’t Stop, it was a mixtape exclusive showcased by DJ Juice. Here, you will fully realize the obvious origin of the “puffin’ on some izzerb” chorus, being that the freestyle-esque cut is recorded over Three 6 Mafia’s 21st century Southern rap classic “Sippin’ On Some Syrup.” Half a Mill and Nature take turns blazing the beat, flipping their hydro-heavy New York flows over this Memphis masterpiece.

Please light one up for Albany Projects’ own Half a Mill, truly one of the most underrated MCs of all-time, and let this one ride. RIP.



12. Peedi Crakk ft. Cam’ron, Juelz Santana, and Beanie Sigel “One For Peedi Crakk (Remix)”

After listening to Peedi Crakk’s interview with Doggie Diamonds—which you may have missed in the flurry of recent State Property/Roc-A-Fella Records-related podcast episodes—I had to go back and pull this “One For Peedi Crakk (Remix)” out. According to Peedi, Cam’ron saw him performing “One For Peedi Crakk” at a show and liked it so much that he wanted to hop on it—so they linked up and got it done. But when Jay Z came to the studio and heard the final product, he made Peedi delete Cam’s verse. Plot twist though—Killa already had the song burned to a CD, and slid it to Kay Slay to include on Diplomats Vol. 2.

Peep the song below, then listen to Peedi Crakk’s interview with Doggie Diamonds HERE for more in-depth Roc-A-Fella and State Property history.

Download Twelve Jewelz (Volume 8) HERE.

Twelve Jewelz artwork by TJ Bennett. Other images courtesy of Discogs.


Twelve Jewelz (Volume 1)
Twelve Jewelz (Volume 2)
Twelve Jewelz (Volume 3)
Twelve Jewelz (Volume 4)
Twelve Jewelz (Volume 5)
Twelve Jewelz (Volume 6)
Twelve Jewelz (Volume 7)

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3 Responses to “Diggin’ In The Crates: Twelve Jewelz (Volume 8)”

  1. spirit equality Says:

    “I Like It Like That” was a dope movie. Go dig for that one…

  2. Brandan E Says:

    yo Stan, if u cant continue on wit this series i am willing to step to the plate and do this for u bro!!
    just give me the keys, i can keep this series goin bro!!
    hit me up , e-mail me!!

  3. MrOptiK Says:

    Wassgud? Hey man can we grab a re-up of the previous 7 jewelz downloads? Would be much appreciated brother

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