A Tribe Called Quest. Photo by Chris Carroll/Corbis via Getty Images
The key M.O. in 90s rap production (especially by New York producers) was to take relaxed dinner jazz and transform it into the bleakest, toughest shit possible. Thanks to sites like whosampled.com, we can trace how a song becomes a sample, but it doesn’t replicate the experience of being a beatmaker like Havoc or Madlib, listening to endless stacks of vinyl in search of that perfect break. A sample-oriented show on NTS Radio doesn’t exactly provide that feeling, but it comes close, and furthermore provides a unique way to delve into the history of 90s rap production.
A Manchester, UK DJ named Sameed hosts an untitled show on the popular online radio station that plays continuous mixes of sample sources from classic hip-hop. Each episode is themed around a producer or artist, like Mobb Deep, Madlib, or A Tribe Called Quest, and features no narration or context for the music being played, much of which is the lush 1970s jazz, soul, and funk these guys were fond of. For example, the Mobb Deep episode begins with Herbie Hancock’s “Jessica,” but doesn’t make the connection between it and “Shook Ones Part II” explicit. Ditto goes for the episode focused on A Tribe Called Quest, wherein several classic rap songs pass by in their original, jam-oriented forms. If you know, you know. It’s actually the best of both worlds: those familiar with the discographies of each artist will have fun trying to identify where each song was sampled, while those who aren’t can enjoy an hour of supremely chilled-out jazz fusion. Win-win. You can listen to all the episodes of Sameed’s NTS show here and listen to a few of the mixes below.
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This article originally appeared on Noisey CA.