EP26: Jack Davey on Digable Planets' "Reachin'"

Heat Rocks
Jack Davey

The album: Digable Planets: Reachin' (1993)

Miss Jack Davey's contribution to LA's alternative soul scene began over a decade ago with her work as one half of the group J*Davey. Their debut project, "The Beauty In Distortion" a mix of punk, funk, synth and soul, was a must have for tastemakers and made a splash both in Los Angeles and around the world. When she's not writing songs and producing, she can be found at a myriad of cool spots around the city, spreading the good news of good music as a DJ and selector.
Davey wanted to get into Digable Planets' debut album, now celebrating its 25th anniversaryReachin' (a new refutation of time and space). Coming out at the height of hip-hop's love affair with jazz, Reachin' has been lauded as "an album about freedom—from convention, from oppression, from the limits imposed by the space-time continuum."
We had a chance to talk with Davey about Digable Planets' "Rebirth of Slick" and its cool factor, Brooklyn and its relationship to the album, Ladybug Mecca's butter voice, and what's it's like to be cool and not know it.

More on Reachin'

More on Jack Davey and J*Davey

Show Tracklisting (all songs from Reachin' unless indicated otherwise):

  • “Rebirth of Slick”
  • Georgia Anne Muldrow: Olesi: Fragments of an Earth “Wrong Way”
  • Sy Smith: The Syberspace Social “Aquarius Rising”
  • Sa-Ra: The Hollywood Recordings “Glorious”
  • Flying Lotus: Los Angeles “Roberta Flack (Feat Dolly)”
  • Dam-Funk: Toeachizown “Searching 4 Funk’s Future”
  • J*Davey: The Beauty in Distortion / The Land of the Lost “No More”
  • “La Femme Fetal”
  • Guru: Jazzmatazz “Loungin’”
  • Young Deciples: Road To Freedom “As We Come (To Be)”
  • “Jimmi Diggin Cats”
  • Digable Planets: Blowout Comb “Graffiti”
  • “Where I’m From”
  • Fugees: The Score “Fu-Gee-La”
  • UTD: Manifest Destiny “Manifest Destiny”
  • “What Cool Breezes Do”
  • “Last of the Spiddyocks”
  • “Swoon Units”
  • “Escapism (Getting Free)”
  • “Nickel Bags”
  • E-40: My Ghetto Report Card “Yay Area”
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EP25: Denaun "Mr." Porter on A Tribe Called Quest's "Low End Theory" (1991)

Heat Rocks
Denaun Porter

The album: A Tribe Called Quest: Low End Theory (1991)

Producer/MC Denaun Porter aka Mr. Porter has been in the hip-hop scene for over two decades. He has some impressive credits under his belt, producing songs that combined have sold almost 100 million records. He has worked with some of the industries top-talent including Eminem, 50 Cent, SnoopDog, Shakira, Bad Meets Evil, and many more. He is also one of the founding members of the chart-topping Detroit hip-hop group D12. It was none other than ATCQ's "Bonita Applebaum" that inspired Mr. Porter to get into hip-hop and not surprisingly, when we invited him to the show, he wanted to talk about one of the all-time great hip-hop albums: ATCQ's sophomore effort, Low End Theory. 

During our convo, we discussed the production techniques and sample choices, how good the album's sequencing was, and why Q-Tip and the late Phife Dawg went together like peanut butter and jelly. We also got into the fight-provoking question of: Low End Theory or Midnight Marauders?

More on A Tribe Called Quest and Low End Theory

More on Denaun Porter

Show Tracklisting (all songs from Low End Theory unless indicated otherwise):

  • “Scenario”
  • “Denaun Porter: Porter Shops Glasper “jUsT 4 dA hAwAiI eVeNiNg
  • “D12: Devil’s Night: “Purple Hills”
  • “Excursions”
  • “Cannonball Adderley: The Black Messiah “The Steam Drill”
  • “Jackie Jackson: Jackie Jackson “Is it Him or Me”
  • “Queen Latifah: Nature of a Sister “Latifah’s Had It Up to Here”
  • “MC Lyte: Act Like You Know “Act Like You Know”
  • “Skypager”
  • “Check The Rhime”
  • “The Infamous Date Rape”
  • “What?”
  • “Jazz (We’ve Got This)”
  • ““Buggin Out”
  • “Migos: Culture II “Motorsport Feat. Cardi B and Nicki Minaj”
  • “Weather Report: Mr. Gone “Young and Fine”
  • “A Tribe Called Quest: Midnight Marauders “Lyrics to Go”
  • “Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers: Buhaina“A Chant for Bu”
  • “Everything is Fair”
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    EP24: Brian "B+" Cross on Freestyle Fellowship's "To Whom It May Concern" (1991)

    Heat Rocks
    Brian Cross

    The album: Freestyle Fellowship: To Whom It May Concern (1991)

    Brian Cross, better known to most as B+, is one of the most important photographers of the hip-hop generation to ever emerge out of the West Coast. A transplant from Ireland to California, Cross began documenting the L.A. rap community throughout the late '80s and early '90s, producing one of the great books about the region's hip-hop scene, It's Not About a Salary. He's also a founding partner of the music/events organization Mochilla. Just this year, Cross finally published his first book reflecting on his career in photography, Ghost Notes: Music of the Unplayed. For his episode with Heat Rocks, Cross took us back to 1991 and the release of To Whom It May Concern, one of the greatest West Coast hip-hop albums of all time...and one that most people never got to hear back in the day because of its limited distribution at the time. Better late than never; don't keep sleeping.

    More on Freestyle Fellowship and To Whom It May Concern

    More on Brian "B+" Cross

    Show Tracklisting (all songs from To Whom It May Concern unless indicated otherwise):

    • ”Here I Am”
    • Cypress Hill: Cypress Hill “How I could Just Kill A Man”
    • AMG: Bitch Betta Have My Money “Bitch Betta Have My Money”
    • ”Good Life”
    • ”7th Seal”
    • ”120 Seconds”
    • ”Jupiter’s Journey”
    • ”For No Reason”
    • ”We Are The Freestyle Fellowship”
    • ”Sunshine Men”
    • ”Dedications”
    • Ornette Coleman: This Is Our Music “Humpty Dumpty”
    • ”5 o’Clock Follies”
    • Gang Starr: No More Mr. Nice Guy ”Manifest”
    • Jon Hendricks: Freddie Freeloader “Freddie Freeloader”
    • ”Convolutions”
    • ”7th Seal”
    • ”Legal Alien”
    • ”We Will Not Tolerate”

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    Heat Rocks EP21: Pharoahe Monch on Main Source's "Breaking Atoms" (1991)

    Heat Rocks
    Pharoahe Monch

    The album: Main Source: Breaking Atoms (1991)

    MC extraordinaire Pharoahe Monch was no stranger to the trio known as Main Source (Large Professor + DJs K-Cut and Sir Scratch) back in the early '90s: Monch and Large Professor came up under the tutelage of the same mentor: producer Paul C. Though C was tragically murdered in 1989, both his proteges would go onto have banner years in '91 as Large Professor saw Main Source's Breaking Atoms released to critical fanfare while Monch enjoyed the same just a couple of months later when he and Prince Po released their debut, self-titled LP as Organized Konfusion.

    Monch sat down with us to talk about the experience of buying Breaking Atoms on tape from Hot Waxx in Queens and having it blow his mind on that first listen as well as what he's learned from the album in the 25+ years since. Listen to this episode live at your BBQ...

    More on Main Source and Breaking Atoms

    More on Pharoahe Monch

    Show Tracklisting (all songs from Breaking Atoms unless indicated otherwise):

    • “Large Professor”
    • Pharoahe Monch: Internal Affairs “Simon Says”
    • “Vamos A Rapiar”
    • “Looking At The Front Door”
    • “Just A Friendly Game Of Baseball”
    • Lou Donaldson: Pretty Things Pot Belly”
    • “Just Hanging Out”
    • The Honeydrippers: "Impeach The President"
    • Sister Nancy: One, Two “Bam Bam”
    • Jesse Anderson: Thomas “Mighty Mighty”
    • “Peace Is Not The Word To Play”
    • “He Got So Much Soul”
    • Bob James: One “Nautilus”

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    Heat Rocks, EP20: King on Outkast's "Speakerboxxx/The Love Below"

    Heat Rocks

    The album: Outkast: Speakerboxxx/The Love Below (2003)

    The Grammy nominated ladies of King are Anita Bias alongside sisters Amber and Paris Strother and it seems only right to have a super-sized guest talk about a super-sized album: Outkast's massive double LP from 2003: Speakerboxxx/The Love Below. Amongst other topics, we talked about how each of the three women first crossed paths with Outkast, what the group meant for the rise of the South in the 1990s, and revisited the endless debate over whether this as an Outkast album or a pair of Big Boi/Andre 3000 solo albums packaged together.

    More on Outkast and Speakerboxxx/The Love Below

    More on King

    Show Tracklisting (all songs from Speakerboxxx/The Love Below unless indicated otherwise):

    • “Ghetto Musick”
    • KING: The Story “The Story”
    • KING: The Story “Supernatural”
    • Outkast: ATLiens “Elevators (Me & You)”
    • “My Favorite Things”
    • “Reset”
    • “Where Are My Panties”
    • Outkast: Aquemini “Spottieottiedopalicious”
    • Dungeon Family: Even In Darkness “Trans DF Express”
    • “Pink & Blue”
    • “Prototype”
    • “Unhappy”
    • “Tomb of the Boom”
    • “Church”
    • “Knowing”
    • “The Rooster”
    • “She Live In My Lap”
    • “Draculas Wedding”
    • “Hey Ya!”
    • “Love Hater”
    • “Happy Valentines Day”
    • “Take Off Your Cool”
    • “A Day IN The Life of Benjamin Andre (Incomplete)”
    • “Spread”

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    Heat Rocks, EP 15: Kris Bowers on Kendrick Lamar's "Section.80" (2011)

    Heat Rocks
    Kris Bowers

    The album: Kendrick Lamar: Section.80 (Top Dawg, 2011)

    To talk about Kendrick Lamar's studio LP debut, we wanted to find someone of K-Dot's generation, another L.A. young gun, and who better than pianist and composer, Kris Bowers? Like Kendrick, Kris grew up in L.A. and just as Kendrick has ascended the hip-hop ladder, so has Kris in jazz, as he won the prestigious Theolonious . But more than that, the web of Los Angeles musical ties was bound to bring the two into orbit in different ways - something we discuss in the episode - not the least of which is the fact that Kris covered one of the biggest tracks in Kendrick's early career: "Rigamortis."

    In our conversation with Kris, we got deep into how he put together both the song and video for his version of "Rigamortis," whether or not Kendrick has a jazz sensibility in his style, and what it's like to see a hometown kid become the Greatest Rapper Alive.

    More on Kendrick Lamar's Section.80

    More on Kris Bowers

    Show Tracklisting (all songs from Section.80 unless indicated otherwise):

    • "A.D.H.D."
    • Kris Bowers: "Rigamortis (Kendrick Lamar Cover)"
    • Kendrick Lamar: Good Kid M.A.A.D. City "m.A.A.D. city"
    • MURS: Captain California "GBKW"
    • Dr. Dre: The Chronic “Dre Day”
    • A Tribe Called Quest: The Low End Theory “Jazz (We’ve Got This)”
    • "High Power"
    • "Rigamortis"
    • "Keisha’s Song"
    • Kendrick Lamar: “Sing About Me”
    • "Ab-Souls Outro"
    • "Kush & Corinthians"
    • Willie Jones III: The Next Phase “The Thorn”
    • Kendrick Lamar: To Pimp A Butterfly “If These Walls Could Talk”
    • Chapter Six

    If you're not already subscribed to Heat Rocks in Apple Podcasts, do it here!

    Heat Rocks, EP 13: Jay Smooth on Run DMC's "Raising Hell" (1986)

    Heat Rocks
    Jay Smooth

    The album: Run DMC: Raising Hell (Profile, 1986)


    Jay Smooth was always on our list of "people who we gotta get for Heat Rocks." His cultural and political commentary, much of which he does through his pioneering Ill Doctrine videos, have positioned him as one of the hip-hop generation's leading pundits and he's also hosted one of the longest running rap shows in the world: The Underground Railroad on WBAI.

    For this show, Jay wanted to revisit Raising Hell a paradigm-shifting rap album that, as we discuss, has seemingly become underrated through the passage of time though it is unquestionably one of the most important hip-hop releases, ever. We get into the moment in which Run DMC first arrived, how they changed the game for rap artists (for better and for worse) and of course, all our fire track and sleeper jam picks off this LP.

    More on Run DMC's Raising Hell

    More on Jay Smooth

    Show Tracklisting (all songs from Raising Hell unless indicated otherwise):

    • Walk This Way
    • Run DMC: Sucker MCs
    • Run DMC: It's Like That
    • Raising Hell
    • Eric B. and Rakim: I Ain't No Joke
    • It's Tricky
    • Peter Piper
    • Bob James: Mardi Gras
    • Dumb Girl
    • Is It Live?
    • My Adidas
    • Proud to Be Black
    • You Be Illin'
    • NWA: Straight Outta Compton
    • Run DMC: Tougher Than Leather
    • Aretha Franklin: I Never Loved a Man
    • Jay-Z: Jockin' Jay-Z

    If you're not already subscribed to Heat Rocks in Apple Podcasts, do it here!

    EP12: "The Prequel Episode" feat. Loren Kajikawa on Dr. Dre's "The Chronic"

    Heat Rocks
    Loren Kajikawa

    The album: Dr. Dre: The Chronic (Interscope, 1992)

    This is a special "prequel" episode, originally taped in December of 2016. Back then, Heat Rocks was just a mere glint in the eye Morgan and Oliver. All we had was a basic concept: how about a podcast devoted to doing deep dives into an album? We invited Univ. of Oregon musicologist Loren Kajikawa, author of Sounding Race In Rap Songsto help us tackle one of the most important albums of the last 25 years: Dr. Dre's The Chronic, which just so happens to celebrate its 25th release anniversary today (hence why we timed to put it out now).

    For our listeners, you'll notice that while this episode shares some familiar aspects with our regular Heat Rocks shows, there are some differences. For one, we hadn't come up with our format yet, especially in having our guests pick a hot track, sleeper jam, etc. We had also toyed with a little "Context" section - complete with its own jingle! - that we eventually abandoned because it was superfluous (Oliver did have fun making the jingle though). But overall, we think you can easily see the seed of Heat Rocks even in this very early attempt. Hope you all enjoy it and we're so happy to finally share this, one year later.

    More on Dr. Dre's The Chronic:

    More on Loren Kajikawa

    Show Tracklisting (all songs from The Chronic unless indicated otherwise):

    • Fuck Wit Dre Day
    • Nuthin' But a G Thang
    • Leon Haywood: I Want To Do Something Freaky To You
    • Public Enemy: Bring Da Noise
    • Above the Law: Livin' Like Hustlers
    • Let Me Ride
    • The Roach
    • NWA: Niggaz 4 Life (From Efil4zaggin)
    • Lyrical Gangbang (feat. Lady of Rage and Kurupt)
    • Stranded On Death Row (feat. Kurupt and Snoop Dogg)
    • Rat-A-Tat-Tat
    • Dr. Dre: Deep Cover (feat. Snoop Dogg, from Deep Cover OST)
    • Tupac and Snoop Dogg: Amerikaz Most Wanted
    • The Day the Niggaz Took Over
    • Bitches Ain't Shit

    If you're not already subscribed to Heat Rocks in Apple Podcasts, do it here!

    Heat Rocks, EP 11: Suzi Analogue on Missy Elliott's "Da Real World" (1999)

    Heat Rocks
    Suzi Analogue

    The album: Missy Elliott: Da Real World (Elektra, 1999)

    Artist and producer Suzi Analogue originally hails from Missy Elliott's native state of Virginia though these days, she's rooted in Los Angeles, having come up within the city's beat scene. Suzi wanted to talk about what she described as the "underdog" album, Missy's enormously successful yet somewhat forgotten sophomore album, Da Real World, one in a string of five back-to-back platinum LPs for Missy and her production partner, Timbaland. We talked about Missy's creative genius and what that meant for a young girl, growing up in VA.

    More on Missy Elliott and Da Real World:

    More on Suzi Analogue

    Show Tracklisting (all songs from Da Real World unless indicated otherwise):

    • All In My Grill
    • Suzi Analogue: Wildflower (from Zonez V3)
    • Mr. DJ
    • Missy Elliott: The Rain (from Supa Dupa Fly)
    • You Don't Know (feat. Lil Mo)
    • Stickin' Chickens (feat. Aaliyah)
    • Timbaland and Magoo: Up Jumps the Boogie (from Welcome To Our World)
    • Timbaland and Magoo: Clock Strikes (from Welcome To Our World)
    • Bus A Rhyme (feat. Eminem)
    • Crazy Feelings (feat. Beyonce)
    • U Can't Resist (feat. BG and Juvenile)
    • She's a Bitch
    • Beat Biters
    • We Did It

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    Heat Rocks, EP 6: Ill Camille on Common's "Like Water For Chocolate" (2000)

    Heat Rocks
    Ill Camille

    The album: Common: Like Water For Chocolate (MCA, 2000)

    This week, we are joined by Los Angeles rapper, Ill Camille. She picked Common's Like Water For Chocolate from 2000, a moment that marked the Chicago's turn towards becoming a hip-hop elder statesman, backed by the production might of the Soulquarians crew. Camille's love for the album runs deep and during the course of our taping, she'd bust out Common's rhymes, line for line.

    More on Common and Like Water For Chocolate:

    More on Ill Camille:

    Show Tracklisting:

    • Common: Like Water For Chocolate "6th Sense (Feat. Bilal)"
    • Ill Camille Heirloom "Black Gold"
    • Common: Like Water For Chocolate "Nag Champa (Afrodisiac for the World)"
    • Common: Like Water For Chocolate "Geto Heaven"
    • Common: Like Water For Chocolate "A Song For Assata (Feat. Cee-Lo Green)"
    • Common: Like Water For Chocolate "Funky For You (Feat. Bilal & Jill Scott)"
    • Common: Like Water For Chocolate "The Light"
    • Common: Like Water For Chocolate "Thelonius (Feat. Slum Village)"
    • Georgia Ann Muldrow: "Untitled/Fantastic Remix"
    • Common: Like Water For Chocolate "Dooinit"
    • Common: Like Water For Chocolate "Time Travelin (A Tribute to Fela)"

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