Duncan Beiny, aka DJ Yoda, is no ordinary scratch DJ.
His new album, Breakfast Of Champions, is out March 9 2015 on Kartel/Believe Digital, and features an eleven-strong collective of UK MCs and musicians, including Rex Domino and Mouse Outfit members Sparkz & Truthos Mufasa, completing a full cast from a who’s who of hip-hop’s next wave. Breakfast Of Champions is available to pre-order now here, and features new single 'The Baddest'.
Always breaking new ground, Yoda made history last year with the first ever audio-visual mix for BBC Radio 6 Music - making waves around the globe, it secured him both a Sony Radio Academy Award nomination & a 6 Mix residency which has seen him become part of 6Music’s distinguished DJ team alongside Andrew Weatherall and Erol Alkan.
To mark the release of his highly anticipated forthcoming album Breakfast of Champions, DJ Yoda has put together a playlist of his top influential hip-hop tunes, in the following playlist. Enjoy!
"Sassy" Neneh Cherry
This is a good example of the kind of music that got me into hip-hop as a kid, from just knowing pop music initially. Neneh Cherry was always such a strong bridge between those two genres, and collaborating with Guru from Gang Starr on this track was a genius move.
"Who's It On" Casual
It's interesting to compare this track with the previous track by Neneh Cherry. Neneh's track would probably be considered pop, and this would most likely be called obscure underground hip-hop, but they have a really similar sound. Lyrics on this (and all Hieroglyphics crew records) are incredible.
"Some Shit @ 78 bpm" Buckshot LeFonque
I always love it when hip-hop DJs flirt with other genres of music - this track is an early example of scratch DJs working with jazz musicians. Branford Marsalis wisely chose DJ Premier to do the cuts on this track.
"Beats & Pieces" Coldcut
Influential British pioneers of the "cut & paste" aesthetic, Coldcut were massive influences on me. This is a similar kind of thing to Double Dee & Steinski's "Lessons", and is perfect music for someone with Attention Deficit Disorder.
"Bloody Money" Capone -n- Noreaga
Some pretty standard, thuggish golden-era rap. Formula for a classic rap song is so simple: classic drum break ("Impeach The President" in this case), pianos, hard rhymes. Sold!
"Deep Fried Frenz" MF Doom
Doom is an underground/alternative rap hero, and for me one of the main reasons is his unashamed love of 80s soul, which I share. I admire his unpolished production and vocabulary too.
"On The Bugged Tip" Big Daddy Kane
A "posse cut" is kind of an old-school rap phenomenon, whereby the successful rapper would bring all his mates in and give them a verse each on one track of the album. Here Big Daddy Kane brings his dancers Scoob and Scrap in, but you can tell who the premier lyricist is! I love how this track is basically just a live routine recorded to wax.
"Where I'm From" Digable Planets
These guys were way ahead of their time - they had the kind of jazzy, laid-back style of A Tribe Called Quest, and preceded The Fugees with the 2-guys/1-gal set-up, but there was something spacey and extra thrown into the mix. If you look at the kind of stuff they are doing in 2015 (Shabazz Palaces) you can see there was always genius brewing.
"Please Listen To My Demo" EPMD
Many hip-hop afficianados will tell you that EPMD were the best group of all time, I'm definitely one of them. This is probably the most chilled and nostalgic track they ever recorded, but it definitely showcases their story-telling skills and individual personalities on the mic.
"My Mind Spray" Jeru The Damaja
A DJ Premier-endorsed off-shoot of Gang Starr, I always thought Jeru was a good example of someone who wasn't necessarily a great rapper, but capable of making great records. A lot of this was dependent on Premier's production, but this just has such an authentic feel.
"Get Funky" Beatnuts
Under-rated underground NYC crew - this is so hardcore, but yet such smooth production! Totally un-PC!
"Leflaur Leflah Eshkoshka" Heltah Skeltah
Again, this is really simple hardcore rap to it's basics, that just works 100% for me. In 2015 you could say that this kind of thing is massively influencing an artist like Joey Bada$$.
DJ Yoda will head on an audio-visual headline tour throughout March, kicking off at Manchester’s Band On The Wall on March 13 and including London’s The Forum on March 14. Find out all dates here.