You're The Only One (feat Bonnie Blanchard & The Mean Machine)
Right On Time (feat The Mean Machine)
Review: For their latest must-check rare soul reissue, German crate diggers TRAMP Records take us back to 1969 and the sole single from Philadelphia outfit Andy Aaron & the Mean Machine. A-side "You're The Only One" is a superb chunk of bass-heavy soul full of energetic drumming, fuzzy horn motifs, inspired lead vocals by Bonnie Blanchard and sax solos from none other than Grover Washington (then a young musician and member of the Mean Machine). Equally as potent is instrumental flipside "Right On Time", which is a riotous funk workout that boasts more lung-busting solos from an on form Washington.
Review: Hip-hop diggers will happily tell you that "Top Billin" was one of the tightest, heaviest and most stripped-back rap jams to emerge from New York in the mid 1980s. Here the 1987 hip-hop club classic is given the reissue treatment by fresh label Know How, marking the cut's first appearance on "45" for 32 years. The A-side vocal version - the most famous of the two takes - is a great example of the dancefloor power of stripped-back hip-hop, with the completed cut being little more than chunky drum machine beats and on-point raps rich in call-and-response sections and crowd-pleasing slogans. The harder to find flipside instrumental lays this bare, peppering the duo's beat with select snippets of reverb-laden chants.
Review: As the title sneakily suggests, the latest volume in DJ Soopasoul's essential "Soopastole Edits" series sees the prolific re-editor and mash-up merchant take his scalpel to Sister Sledge classic "We Are Family". We could be wrong, but it sounds like it was created using the multi-track parts, focusing as it does for much of the duration on a stripped-back, DJ-friendly groove, selected vocal snippets and delay-laden musical elements not always audible on the original version. Over on the flipside "Cosmo On The Groove" version, he takes a slightly different approach, adding a classic old school hip-hop acappella to an expertly cut-up version of the Sister Sledge track that utilizes a little more of the sing-along chorus.
Review: The second salvo on the Street Knowledge series of golden era hip-hop reissues comes from legendary East Coast twosome Gang Starr. It offers up a pair of much-loved 1990s club bangers: 1999's "Full Clip" and '92's "DWYCK". The former is a classic DJ Premier production: a toe-tapping, head-nodding bounce through rubbery beats, jazzy guitars and toasty bass topped off with the fine flows of the late MC Guru. "DWYCK" meanwhile is a more bass-heavy, floor-friendly affair, with Premier's on-point scratching complimenting Guru's vocal and the addictive weightiness of the groove. In other words, these are two golden era classics you definitely need in your life.
Review: The Street Knowledge "45 series" appears to have been set up to educate heads on original 1990s hip-hop jams, or at the very least deliver fresh pressings of some seriously classic cuts. This inaugural release begins with Warren G and Nate Dogg's 1994 heater "Regulate", a deep and seductive number that makes great use of samples from Michael McDonald's teary blue-eyed soul classic "I Keep Forgetting". Flip to the B-side and you'll find Luniz 1995 hit "I Got 5 On It", a cut that's been bitten, reworked and re-made umpteen times in the 24 years that have passed since it was first released. As this reissue proves, the Oakland duo's original version is still streets ahead of the rest.