Ski + Garbs Infinite: Behind the Boards

Biggie + Lil Wayne: If You See (produced by Garbs Infinite)
From Unbelievable (Mick Boogie/Terry Urban, 2007)

Jean Grae: Not the One (produced by Ski)
From Beatz, Rhymes & Samples (Ski Beatz, 2007)

I’m in the midst of tax hell so I probably won’t have a chance to get up a longer post this week but I wanted to quickly break folks off with these two mixtape songs I’ve been enjoying of late.

The Biggie/Lil Wayne duet is off of Mick Boogie and Terry Urban’s excellent Unbelievable mix-CD they put out to commemorate the 10th anniversary of B.I.G.’s death. “If You See” was produced by Garbs Infinite , and up-and-coming producer out of Cleveland who just straight up kills it with this flip on Dionne Warwick’s “Walk On By.” I love how he turns it into a chilling threat: “if you see me walking down the street…start to cry.” Brilliant. I hope this beat sees life in the future as a legit single somewhere. This and that Lil Wayne/Devin/Bun B remix from a few weeks back are some of my favorite tracks right now.

…as is this new Jean Grae…wait – O-Dub plugging a Jean Grae song? Yeah folks – f— a beef; I’m still down to plug good music and this upcoming track from Grae’s Prom Night album is the kind of anti-love song that Grae excels at. Hip-hop and break-up music rarely go together that well but armed with Ski’s melancholy piano loop, it nails the right, bluesy tone. This comes off of Ski’s Beatz, Rhymes and Samples, a mix between a breaks tape and beat tape that’s designed to remind people just who the hell Ski is (hint: think one of hip-hop’s most underrated producers of the last 10 years). Get familiar.

Note: both of the mixtapes these come off of are currently available for free download so get with ’em while they’re still up.

In other news…Amy Winehouse became the highest debuting British singer on U.S. charts ever…until Joss Stone trumped her this week.

It’s been a good few weeks for white British women who sing soul.

Ann Powers tackles Stone’s career and new album for the L.A. Times and makes a point to especially discuss the question of race, appropriation and accountability – issues that, as we’ve seen, apply just as much to Winehouse as well.

People were quick to argue that Winehouse is an amazing songwriter and hence, this is the root of her success but I’ve rarely heard the same said of Stone (it’s usually her voice that’s lauded, not her songwriting).

I’d like to see the same people who want to discount age and race in Winehouse’s case take a swing at explaining Stone’s appeal. Still think there’s no double standard at play?