‘TAKE IT TO THE STREETS’.
LISTEN AGAIN TO THE FIRST MARK DEVLIN MIXTAPE FROM 1998
OK, here’s a real gift to everyone that despairs of the quality of ‘urban’ music in 2009. To everyone that wonders how our scene went from Notorious BIG and Mary J Blige to Flo Rida and Rihanna in just a few short years! If you ain’t getting what you need from current offerings, there’s only one thing to do. Take it back…
Starting this month, and running through to 2010, we’re reviving the entire series of Mark Devlin mixtapes, releasing audio download links to one new volume every month. The mixes are full of nuggets and gems that were current at the time, as well as containing a load of throwbacks and revivals that were already classic even back then. It’s R&B, hip-hop and street soul, with a few 80s grooves and 90s new jack swing moments thrown in, and plenty of reggae dancehall/ bashment, or as it used to be known, ‘ragga’. Some of the riddims we used to run are legendary!
Naturally enough, things start with Volume 1, which was entitled ‘Take It To The Streets’ and first appeared in late 1998. Back then these really were mixtapes, too. The first seven volumes appeared on cassette, old-school style, before it all got switched up to CD.
The all-important track listing and download links are below. So, click, reminisce and enjoy. And watch out for part 2, ‘Yes Mista Devlin’, appearing in February.
… they sure don’t make ’em like this any more!
Take It To The Streets Side 1:
Take It To The Streets Side 1:
TAKE IT TO THE STREETS. VOLUME 1
LAURYN HILL: DOO WOP (THAT THING)
KHADEJIA: HERE WE GO
MISS JONES Featuring BIG PUN: TWO WAY STREET (REMIX)
BIG PUN Featuring JOE: STILL NOT A PLAYER
TANYA VON: TONITE (Queens Mix)
NAUGHTY BY NATURE Featuring NEXT: PENETRATION
A TRIBE CALLED QUEST Featuring SLUM VILLAGE: THAT SH*T
A TRIBE CALLED QUEST: FIND A WAY (Instrumental)
WRECKS N EFFECT: RUMP SHAKER
AARON HALL: DON’T BE AFRAID
NU SHOOZ: I CAN’T WAIT
JANET JACKSON: WHAT HAVE YOU DONE FOR ME LATELY
CAMEO: SINGLE LIFE
MANTRONIX: GOT TO HAVE YOUR LOVE
LISA LISA & CULT JAM Featuring FULL FORCE: I WONDER IF I TAKE YOU HOME
ROCK STEADY CREW: HEY YOU (THE ROCK STEADY CREW)
JON B Featuring COKO: KEEP IT REAL
CHARLI BALTIMORE & CAM’RON: ME AND MY BOO
YO-YO: IS IT ALL STILL GOOD?
NONCHALANT: TAKE YOU THERE
PAULA PERRY: PAULA’S JAM
HEATHER B: IF HEADS ONLY KNEW (Instrumental)
BEVERLEY KNIGHT: MADE IT BACK (Ragga Remix)
MR. VEGAS: HANDS UP
MR. VEGAS: HEADS HIGH
MR. VEGAS: HEADS HIGH (KILL ‘EM WITH IT REMIX)
GHOST: BOUGHT AND SOLD
BUCCANEER: FADE AWAY
TANYA STEPHENS: BOUNCE ME
RED RAT: MIX UP MELISSA
DMX: RUFF RYDERS ANTHEM
N.O.R.E: BANNED FROM TV
NINE: WUTCHA WANT
MOBB DEEP: THE SHOOK ONES
NOTORIOUS B.I.G: WHO SHOT YA
SOULS OF MISCHIEF: ’93 TO INFINITY
Here’s a chance to listen back to a segment of Mark Devlin’s recent set at Maraschino Bar, Zagreb, Croatia. From Eminem to Armand Van Helden in 47 minutes!
Just click on the following link to download:
EMINEM Featuring DR.DRE & 50 CENT: CRACK A BOTTLE (Interscope)
Em’s long absence has created major hunger for his return. Although we’ll all be heartily sick of this in a month’s time, for the moment, it’s a mad catchy quirky return to form.
JAY-Z Featuring SANTOGOLD: BROOKLYN GO HARD (Bad Boy)
His Jamaican accent might be a bit dodgy, but everything else about this hard-hitter from the ‘Notorious’ movie soundtrack, (not least the naggingly infectious hook,) is pure heat.
SHONTELLE: T-SHIRT (Universal Motown)
Along the same lines as Beyonce’s ‘Irreplaceable’ and Chris Brown’s ‘With U’, this female-friendly end-of-nighter has all the ingredients to put Shontelle on the map as the next R&B superstar.
RIHANNA Featuring CHRIS BROWN: BAD GIRL (Def Jam)
The latest Jay & Beyonce-style pairing of R&B’s Posh and Becks might be a cynical marketing move, but the mainstream simplicity of the hook, lyrics and beat would have seen this become a club favourite either way.
RISKAY Featuring AVIANCE & REAL: SMELL THAT CHICK (Hard 2 Beat)
I’m a grizzled urban music veteran, but the original ‘raw’ version of this disgusts even me! Far more palatable is this cleaned-up version for radio play. Either way, the melody is undeniably catchy, in a no-brainer kind of way.
SHAUN BOOTHE: THE UNAUTHORIZED BIOGRAPHY OF MUHAMMAD ALI (White)
The Toronto MC continues to educate and entertain with the latest in this fascinating self-produced series, instalment three of 12 giving potted histories of a handful of influential black legends.
BILLY DANZE Featuring BUSTA RHYMES: UNDESCRIBABLE (White)
Both Billy himself. (of M.O.P) and Busta put in remarkably restrained performances over a midtempo head-nodding piano beat, making for a highly satisfying whole.
NOTORIOUS B.I.G: GUARANTEED (Bad Boy)
The crusty quality of the sound recording leaves a lot to be desired, but the hype value of a vintage ‘undiscovered’ Biggie tune – especially at the time of the ‘Notorious’ biopic -cannot be measured.
SOULS OF MISCHIEF: TOUR STORIES (White)
Straightforward underground hip-hop with a bouncing beat and insightful lyrics about the life of a rap crew on tour. They don’t make ‘em like this any more. Sadly.
SELF-TAUGHT BEATS: WHERE I WANNA BE (First Love)
Lyrical reflections and musings over the tootling melody used on De La Soul’s ‘Keeping The Faith’ and with a kiddie chorus a la Nas ‘I Can.’
After tearing the roof off in November, Mark Devlin returns to the Croatian capital’s liveliest late-night party spot, to drop another rip-roaring set of pure hands-in-the-air feel-good tuneage.
Friday, January 16, 2009 at 12:00am
End Time: Saturday, January 17, 2009 at 4:00am
Location: Maraschino Bar
Street: Margaretska 1
City/Town: Zagreb, Croatia
JUST BUGGIN’ ON OXFORD’S FM107.9 (WWW.FM1079.COM)
PLAYLIST FOR WEDNESDAY 7TH JANUARY 2009
(THE SECOND AND FINAL RETROSPECTIVE ON THE HEAVIEST TUNES OF 2008.)
To listen again, just click on the following links:
JAY-Z Featuring SANTOGOLD: BROOKLYN GO HARD (Bad Boy)
CHERI DENNIS: DROPPING OUT OF LOVE (Bad Boy)
NATTY: JULY (Atlantic)
SHAUN BOOTHE: THE UNAUTHORISED BIOGRAPHY OF BOB MARLEY (White)
JOLEON DAVENUE: WHAT LOVE IS ABOUT (White)
TRIGGADON Featuring SOPHIA MAY: CHASING YOUR DREAM (White)
FUNKY DL: THE BUMP (Washington Classics)
DEDICATION TO LITTLE ZAINA DEVLIN:
EMINEM: ’97 BONNIE & CLYDE (Interscope)
DEVIN THE DUDE: CAN’T MAKE IT HOME (Cinematic)
PEOPLE UNDER THE STAIRS: THE WIZ (Om Records)
RZA: DRAMA (Bodog)
DAP-C Featuring TALIB KWELI, LIL WAYNE & ROYCE DA 5’9: MA MONEY (NGU)
DVS: ROXFORD CITY (White)
LARGE PROFESSOR: MAICA LIVING (Matador)
CEE-ROCK THE FURY: KILL DA KILLIN’ (Abstract Urban)
SHEEK LOUCH FEAT. JIM JONES, STYLES P, HELL RELL & JADAKISS: D BLOCK/ DIPSET (Koch)
THE HERBALISER Featuring JEAN GRAE: STREET KARMA (K7)
KAIL: THE REALEST TOUR GUIDE EVER (Big Dada)
GILLESPIE: 100 BARS OF LIFE (White)
SIR SMURF LIL: BLOSSOM (Grindstone)
MR LIVE: AT THE CROSSROADS (White)
NYCE: MANIAC (Nyce)
POUND STERLING: LONDON HUSTLER (London Hustle)
STYLAH: DECADE (So Empire)
NAS Featuring BUSTA RHYMES: FRIED CHICKEN (Sony)
CUBBIEBEAR: THE HULK (The Rape)
THE RITZ: HEARTLESS (Lab Oh)
SIR SMURF LIL: THE LORD’S CHORUS (Grindstone)
NAZ T Featuring BENNY BIZZLE: NO GUNS, JUST ROSES (Blessed)
J RAWLS & MIDDLE CHILD: TIL THE SUN COMES (Groove Attack)
The prospect of fatherhood was becoming a distinct reality by the start of December, with Parveen’s expected delivery date falling on the 17th. This had a bearing on my movements; I’d had to regretfully turn down a couple of overseas offers, instead ensuring I was no more than two hours from home at any given time, should D-day come unexpectedly. A small price to pay for such a great reward!
Getting ahead of myself as far as possible, I’d completed my 2008 Bangers mixes by the start of the month. I’m giving out free CD copies at all my gigs, while the download links are available via the homepage of this site. As ever, the set included an R&B and a hip hop mix – the big hits of the year peppered with the odd personal favourite. On this occasion, the third mix covered the bassline/ grime genres, in recognition of how massive these styles have been in UK clubland during ’08. This one should be of particular interest to overseas heads curious to hear how it’s been going down in London and beyond. Hope you’re feeling ’em.
Legendary guest artist time on my radio show on Wednesday 3rd as I got to chat to Erick Sermon and Parrish Smith, aka original veterans EPMD, now 20 years deep in the game, and having regrouped for the new album ‘We Mean Business’ and introductory single ‘Listen Up’ featuring Teddy Riley. Sadly we didn’t get to meet, the interview being done over the phone to New York. With the album sounding just like anything the group put out in their 90s heyday, Erick pointed out that they continue to make music for the mature heads, and the current Soulja Boy generation can take it or leave it – they couldn’t care less either way. Real talk!
Friday 5th marked the FM107.9 Christmas meal at the Royal Oxford Hotel. Having gone over ten years without attending such gatherings, (largely as a result of not having a proper employer in all that time,) these are still a kind of novelty for me. This year I managed the starter and main course before having to dive off to the palatial Regal in Cowley Road for my weekly resident set. After the meal, the radio lot followed on for an after-party and I got the opportunity to entertain my bosses and fellow DJs for the first time, bringing out the DJ demon in me.
There was strong evidence of the silly season in effect the following night at Que Pasa in Watford, and I succumbed to the temptation to drop Kurtis Blow’s ‘Christmas Rapping’ for the first time. It was a cool night but an unfortunate element arose from a birthday party gathering. A girl from the group asked me to play a track she’d specially burned to CD. Ordinarily I wouldn’t play anything other than my own tunes, but on this occasion I obliged. A while later, a less polite member of the same party asked me to play it again as she’d missed it. I pointed out that everyone else in the venue had heard it once, at which point she found it necessary to remind me her gathering was responsible for a lot of business that night, then went to the manager to ask for me to be instructed to play it. Unnecessary. It’s the sort of scenario that belongs firmly in the ‘Things You Should Never Say To a DJ’ group on Facebook, (well worth an entertaining look for anyone that’s not peeped it already) Just one of those occupational hazards, I guess.
The process of assessing my hottest records of the year has turned out to be illuminating. Although many heavy tunes got made and are always there if you dig deep enough, the fact remains that the majority of (U.S) mainstream hip-hop and R&B output has been pure garbage, making 2008 surely the lamest year yet.
So much of the blame has to be laid at the door of the appalling Auto Tune sound. How the hell has this vomit-inducing method of making ‘music’ been allowed to permeate so far into the culture? Why do consumers not simply refuse to support brainless school disco music, thereby forcing the makers to go back and return with something more credible?
The sound reminds me of those nasty Euro-cheese Summer records that you hear in shit holiday hotspots. Now comes the news that, following Kanye’s piss-poor album, P. Diddy is planning to contribute an Auto Tune album to the world. Why would you do that, Puff? If Kanye told you to go and jump off a cliff would you do that?
Hmmm. P. Diddy jumping off a cliff … now there’s a thought. Somebody give this man a map to Beachy Head.
The bulk of December consisted of regular gigs at venues I frequently play, so there’s not much of interest to recount, other than revisiting familiar territory – the dumb things that punters continue to say to DJs, (‘have you got anything good?’, ‘aren’t you playing any music?’ five minutes after the venue has closed and everyone else has left.) I keep myself going with thoughts of what I plan to say when I’ve decided to give up the whole DJing lark and I’m playing what will be my last ever gig.
Annoying bitch: Me and my friends want to hear Pussycat Dolls and we want to hear it next.
Me: That’s because you’re a spoilt little bitch who’s too used to getting her own way. You can’t always get what you want, which is something your parents clearly never taught you, but I’m only to happy to be your tutor. Now fuck off and get some taste.
Can you imagine? Fantastic! Anyway, enough of that. It’s nearly Christmas and I’m in a good mood…
Fast forward to the last Friday before Christmas, which Northerners always refer to as ‘Mad Friday’. Not that I was in the North this year. Location for the night was Que Pasa in Staines, deep in Ali G territory, a venue now run by Rodney Bennett. Rodney was formerly a part of the Gigolos DJ/ promotion crew who ran many memorable UK Sensations parties throughout the Thames Valley area in the early 00s. With a wide variety of ages and cultures in attendance a very far-reaching set was called for. It was the sort of experience that really tests a DJ’s versatility, and I appreciated the opportunity to try and keep everyone in the room happy for at least a fraction of the night. Hopefully I succeeded. More of the same was called for at the Watford branch the following night.
I had two radio shows going out in Christmas week, which for practical purposes were pre-recorded. ‘Just Buggin’ on Christmas Eve gave the opportunity to drop half an hour of Christmas hip-hop records in the run-up to midnight, which seemed the appropriate thing to do. As well as obvious contenders like Run DMC’s ‘Christmas In Hollis’ I managed to unearth a copy of the Juice Crew’s rarely-heard ‘Cold Chillin’ Christmas from 1988, featuring the strong line-up of Big Daddy Kane, Roxanne Shante, Marley Marl and the other Cold Chillin’ kingpins. Boxing Day’s show was a four-hour affair, repeating last year’s format of running through the Urban Top 40 of the year – all the big hits that I don’t generally play on the radio but have to in the clubs. NYC’s DJ Drastic was recruited for guest mix duties. Both shows are still available for download via www.fm1079.com – just head to the Crew section and select Mark Devlin.
Christmas Eve itself saw me back at Que Pasa in Staines. It’s fair to say the night did not run smoothly, and I ended up with a story that will come in very useful should I ever decide to publish a sequel to ‘Tales From The Flipside’. As the venue doesn’t have an in-built DJ console, a couple of Denon S-1200 CD players had been drafted in for the night. It’s now clear what the ‘s’ stands for. A short while into my set a CD jammed on me in front of a bustling dancefloor. Ten minutes later a different CD jammed on the other machine. Then another. Then another. In the midst of much heckling, venue manager Rodney was forced to switch to the in-house video/ music system, (similar to the automated system most radio stations now employ.) For half an hour, we scrolled frantically through the menu to find Christmas songs, just locating the Pogues with seconds to spare as I blurted out a Christmas countdown on the mic. Hectic, and comical in retrospect, but no fun while it was happening. I use the same CDs at every other venue I play and they’ve never caused a problem. In contrast, this was the first time I’d ever played on these particular Denons. These machines belong in the toilet.
Christmas was the usual family affair, and our hopes of having a Christmas baby were dashed as the day came and went. I went back to work at The Bridge in Oxford on Saturday 27th. Finally, at 1.40pm on Monday 29th December, our beautiful daughter Zaina Anwara Devlin was born, weighing in at 7lb 6oz. I appreciate that baby talk is really tedious for non-parents, (and even for those who are!) so I won’t dwell on it too much, except to say that my life has now been clearly divided into two halves – before and after 29/12/08. Life will never be the same again, and it’s an incredible feeling that nothing could have prepared me for.
My DJ mate Stretch Taylor became a Dad in late October, and warned us that we’d be busier than we’ve ever been in our lives. He wasn’t kidding. Parveen had to stay in hospital for a few days, so I was back and forth between home and the hospital like a yo yo. Fortunately, I had the three days running up to New Year’s Eve off. My venue for the big night itself was Que Pasa in Watford. The night peaked early with most punters already wasted by 10pm. It was a lot of fun, and I hauled out a bunch of tunes I can generally only get away with on nights like NYE. For the run up to midnight I dropped Prince’s ‘1999’, encouraging everyone to change the lyrics to ‘2009’. As ever, my trusty Big Ben CD had everyone going mental to the chimes, (synchronised with the radio-controlled clock on my laptop to ensure absolute accuracy, of course!)
… and that was 2008