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As I ask too often, I beseech your patience as I’m juggling a slew of summer projects…one of which is Soul Sides Vol. 4. Just need to put some finishing touches on it but I should have it out sometime next week. To whet your appetite/tide you over, here’s what I most likely going to be the first song:

Charles Wright and the Watts 103rd St. Rhythm Band: Express Yourself (alt. mix)
From Puckey Puckey (Rhino Handmade, 2010)

Here’s the background on the song. Always loved how the song itself opens and it made sense to open Vol. 4 with it as well.

(As with Vol. 3, no vinyl, probably no self-made CDs. This is just personal comp for your enjoyment).


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I’m sympathetic to the fact that record labels were under pressure to create clean edits of rap songs, especially in the 1990s. It may seem quaint now to read about C. Dolores Tucker or the Parents Music Resource Center in an era where any kid can listen to songs on YouTube and experience 1000x the profanity…and that’s just in the comments (*rimshot*). Nonetheless, creating radio edits was good business, a nod to DJs to let them know that it’d be safe to play this new single without the FCC getting on their ass.

However, clean edits are an art. Some artists simply recorded two different versions of their lyrics (*cough cough* “My Hitta” ain’t fooling no one) but usually, it was up to someone at the label (read: probably an intern) to do a quick edit using the existing studio tapes. I always thought that Gang Starr did it up nice, with Premier scratching over where the profanity would have been. In other cases, an engineer simply dropped the lyrics out while the beat continued to play on. That wasn’t so bad if you only had a few words to deal with but if you’ve ever heard KDAY’s radio edit of “Ain’t No Fun,” the end effect is like masturbating with your elbows; it’s possible, it’s just not that enjoyable.

But until today, I’m not sure I ever heard a radio edit done as sloppily as this one:

Civilized Savages: Ill Rhyme Skill (original clean edit)
From 12″ (Armageddon, 1994)

I mean…you can tell the label cut some serious by the fact that no one thought to check their label design to avoiding putting key text over where the spindle hole is supposed to go. It makes the b-side title confusing…I thought it was “New Rule Flava” for the longest. It’s not surprising then that the clean edit would be similarly wack. What they did was clip out any profanity but without an instrumental bed. Given that this was 1994, I’m assuming someone had a razor and was literally splicing tape to make this edit. I originally thought that my speakers were going out until I realized what was going on.

Now…I like this song and would have very much preferred the option to have a dirty version that didn’t sound like _____ so I loaded it into my multitrack editor and came up with what I think is a pretty good edit-of-the-edit.

Civilized Savages: Ill Rhyme Skill (edit of the clean edit)
From 12″ (Armageddon, 1994)

I used the 4 bar intro of the song to fill in the spaces where sound was originally cut out and from what I can hear, it works rather organically and likely would have been similar to what a proper radio edit would have done to begin with. Did I really need to spend an hour or so working on this? No…but it was bugging me so much, I just had to do something about it. Enjoy.

Edit: I didn’t realize that Chopped Herring reissued this EP in 2009including the original dirty version.


Shades of Soul EP 2.13: Summer Jams feat. Miles Tackett by Soul-Sides.Com/O. Wang on Mixcloud

For my latest Shades of Soul (summer) episode, I invited Miles Tackett (FB/Twitter) to join. Folks know him best as the founder of Breakestra and for the very long-running weekly Funky Sole party. He’s got a new album out: Fool Who Wonders and I invited him in to talk about the album, his career and a few of his favorite summer jams.


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A random post that’s (mostly) not music related but I was thinking about the things that I rely on most at any given time of the day and I narrowed it down to four items I literally don’t leave home without.

•iPhone 5S. ‘Nuff said. I don’t rotate the music enough but I keep a playlist that’s strictly “new arrivals + favorites” that ends up being very handy when I come up with my “year end” posts.

Quirky Wrapster. Because those %)!!)( iPhone earbuds always get tangled in my pocket otherwise).

Big Skinny card holder wallet. I’m strictly a “front pocket wallet” kind of guy and these are fantastic for that purpose.

•Prescription sunglasses (I get mine from It’s terribly cliche for someone in L.A. I suppose but I spend so much time either in the car or on my bike, shades are essential.


“Pistolgrip Pump” is one of my favorite L.A. hip-hop songs and now Eric Ducker has written a thorough history of how the song came to be (and truly, the many ways in which it could have NOT come to be). Great music journalism at work here.

(Also a sobering reminder of how the song ended up defining Volume 10′s style as something that was actually quite different from what it actually was. Listen to practically anything else on the album and his Good Life bonafides are instantly obvious).