The list of musical highlights for Vincent Williams aka DJ Spinna are too numerous to list, from his seminal hip hop duo Jigmastas and DJ sets across the globe, to his iconic solo productions and remixes. But if you ask him, it's the relationship he's forged with personal hero Stevie Wonder that Spinna considers to be his single greatest achievement. As with most artists of a soulful persuasion, Stevie's music influenced Spinna from the outset, dictating everything from his approach to writing to his use of Fender Rhodes and Moog bass- lines on his productions. Having gained so much from the great man, Spinna decided to pay tribute in the form of 'Wonderfull', a series of parties celebrating the Wonder of Stevie. This is where the story became somewhat surreal for Spinna, suddenly finding himself joined onstage in Washington D.C. by none other than Stevie himself, a spine-tingling moment even when viewed on YouTube. An extension of the Wonderfull parties, this album represents a celebration of the life, music and cultural impact of Stevie Wonder. Few compilers can boast Spinna's understanding of Stevie's back catalogue, not to mention the large number of songs he's written for other artists over the years. Featuring stunning cover versions you may well have never heard before alongside songs many of us had no idea he'd written, Spinna's vast knowledge of and boundless enthusiasm for Stevie's music shines with every selection. As both a super-fan and a close friend, surely there is nobody better placed to compile this wonderful document of Stevie Wonder's music, inspiration and influence.
Motion Picture is the tale of a dapper, lady loving urban youth who is constantly taunted and harassed by jealous adversaries. He's forced to become a fearless gun toting vengeful thug whose mission is to cancel out anyone that gets in his way. The musical backdrop is cinematic allowing for a very visual listen. Do You is Shabaam's slick and witty braggadocio over a classic hypnotic neck snapping Dj Spinna beat with a somewhat familiar sample chop. This is New York boom bap at it's best.
It's been roughly 2 decades since the Jigmastas first emerged in the late 90's. With a classic album, a classic EP, a worldwide fanbase and stacks of timeless singles under their previous imprint, Beyond Real, indie Hip Hop as it exists today would not be the same without their contributions. The duo consists of MC Kriminul aka Krim, one the most lethal mc's of his era and DJ/producer, DJ Spinna who arguably is the hardest working man in the industry. The immortal GURU of Gang Starr, spoke profoundly in 1998 on how he and DJ Premier employed "certain formulas and updated with the times". Those words of wisdom apply to any art form and the same can be said for the Jigmastas. Ironically, out of mutual respect and admiration, the group would collaborate with GURU in 2002 on their 12", "So What". The scene and business has morphed dramatically over the last decade and when both men focused on adapting to change, their output as a unit gradually slowed down leaving fans across the globe asking, "Who, what, where and why?" Rest assured, the Jigmastas are still intact. Though it is very common throughout history we see our favorite teams disassemble, these brothers cherish their musical union. With a new album on the horizon, Krim and Spinna prepared 2 potent selections for their first release in over a decade. The lead single, "Magnetize" resumes, exactly where you remember these guys. At their finest, "Magnetize" is "JIG's" all the way from edge to center label. Kriminul is witty and righteously aggressive while DJ Spinna provides his signature yet futuristic soundscape. The track is fluently so magnetizing, it's infectious. True heads will certainly appreciate the raw amped boomin' boom bap for 2015. On the flip, "Resurge" is a B-side offering the perfect contrast. Identically strong as it's lead, "Resurge" shows maturity in the gentlemen. Full of punchlines, Kriminul's lyricism graces over everything from social and political issues to how seriously he takes his artistry. Spinna's track is a superb setting of melodic chords and groovy bass for the mc to reflect on. Released on black vinyl on Beyond Real Records, "Magnetize" B/W "Resurge" includes a full color jacket to compliment the 7". On the strength of this release, listeners can only crave more. According to DJ Spinna, there's a lot more in store, but for starters, he and Kriminul just want you to know, "We're BAAAAAAACK!!"
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Here we find the highly anticipated second release from the dynamic duo SPOX PHD.“Chicken Scratch” displays emcee Oxygen’s masterful lyricism showcasing a barrage of crafty, rapid fire word play with Dj Spinna cutting up doubles of an obscure chicken clucking drum break. That’s all. Very simple formula. Quite reminiscent of an early 80’s park jam, but with a modern edge.The B-side “Actual Fact” is reminiscent of a short feature film from 2 of hip hop’s elite directors. With mc Apani B Fly making a guest appearance, this is an honest compact testimony from Oxygen reflecting on his life story and crossroads he’s confronted over the last 2 decades. There’s no debating his veteran status and this song offers some insight to aspiring artists and listeners who’ll relate to the daily effort of being true to who you are when your environment doesn’t always promote your agenda. Spinna provides an instrumental thick in texture opening with syncopated piano chords and punchy drums as the foundation for his signature accompaniment from multiple sound sources. Listeners should note the use of the rolling kick throughout the drum sequencing. This resumes comfortably where their last 7” left off and must have for fans of authentic NY hip hop.
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Joseph Abajian (DJ Jab) founded Fat Beats in 1994 with nothing more than a shoestring budget and an earnest obsession with the music, the culture, and the brotherhood of New York’s burgeoning rap scene. What began as a simple vinyl shop in Manhattan’s Lower East Side quickly became an integral hub for artists, both aspiring and established, to convene and collaborate on new projects. Joseph’s timing couldn’t have been more impeccable. When the 90’s cultural zeitgeist – and, in turn, the music industry establishment – chose hip-hop as its new arbiter of cool.
International tourists and touring artists alike flocked to Fat Beats for rare vinyl, kindred spirits, and exclusive in-store performances from Jay Z, Eminem, Gang Starr, Outkast, Slum Village, Mos Def, and more. One thing was clear: the Fat Beats phenomenon could no longer be contained in a single basement shop.
In the late nineties, Abajian proceeded to open new stores in Amsterdam, Tokyo, Los Angeles, and Atlanta. He further expanded the company’s profile to include global distribution and record label branches. Distribution has since proven to be the company’s strongest and most enduring enterprise. Today Fat Beats Distribution stands poised as one of the country’s pre-eminent distributors of vinyl & specialty item records: a proud survivor in an industry now famous for its mortality rate. Despite market fluctuations, technology innovations, and stylistic revolutions, Fat Beats has remained steadfast in its commitment to the timeless vinyl format and to the loyal community who keeps it spinning.
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