WELCOME IN to Podd Deep!
EPISODE 6 is officially in effect mode. It literally just happened while you were reading those first words there so salutes to YOU. It’s a true pleasure to see you up in here and I thank you kindly for coming back, if you’ve been on board since the first jammy. If this is your first visit, what a great one to jump in on… If this is your third or fourth - I’m equally happy. I mean whatever the number this is for you, I can’t front, I’m very excited that you’re here. SO - formalities and mathematics talk out the way up front - I have a goodie here for you this week. A podcast that went from me trying it out a couple of years ago to one that I now savour every moment of. I’m sure you’ll throw this one into your regular subscriptions, and I really hope you do - I’ll go into why very soon… That’s all coming…
But, it just occurred to me… I have my own method of listening to podcasts, and players / subscription engines I use, but it’s not something that comes up very often. I understand why of course, it’s pretty fucking dull, BUT it can be a great help to know how to search out this stuff.
I’ve mentioned this in a previous volume (I call these volumes and episodes interchangeably just so you know what I’m referencing), but on my phone I use this app called…
I’m not sure if that image above means anything to you just there like that, but basically this is an app where you keep your subscriptions together and can keep your downloads and feeds all nicely looked after in one place. Now, I so far only use this on my phone, but it is a really slick app. I remember trying the podcasts app on my phone and exclaiming “OH GOD” after a minute, as it was just a hopeless mess of unsynchronised and non-chronological feeds. I mean that could be something that could be changed or made better after some tinkering but it felt very unintuitive and not how I personally enjoy having podcasts filed. Downcast is very good for that left side of your brain that enjoys a degree of OCD filekeeping, and not the freeform madness of other apps. It DOES take a bit of getting used to - it’s actually not insanely intuitive itself, I must admit. There is a learning curve. BUT - when you get through that, it’s perfect. There are tutorials too and I’m confident you’ll be fine!
I’m not sponsored - I’d LOVE to be! But I just want to show you a way of listening that can be very helpful. You can do playlists, adjust how feeds work, rename feeds (so if you have different seasons and such, with different RSS feeds, you can name em all how you like), and do a lot of cool stuff that I haven’t actually scratched the surface of yet! Not sure if the desktop app is as dope, I’m sure it is - I use NetNewsWire, some obsolete RSS reader which is barely holding on so I might rock this next.
Anyway - if you get it, and feel like you need a hand with it, please get in touch and I’ll give you some assistance. Anything that makes podcasts easier to enjoy and more manipulatable to one’s needs is a great thing to me, so have a peep and like I say, get in touch if you need any help.
PODD DEEP • Volume 006 • Super Duty Tough Work
TO SUM IT UP IN A SENTENCE
Informal industry insider information pertaining to the rap game.
I didn’t even mean for that alliteration at the start there but it fits so it stays!
WHERE TO FIND IT
…it’s all on Soundcloud. You can subscribe and follow/comment on there really easily, but if you want an RSS feed to throw into your own app, you can use this one that I use myself:
WHO MAKES IT?
The main man behind the show is rapper/producer Blueprint. Print’s been in the game for a whole lot of years, since back in the 90’s and the days when the phrase ‘indie rap’ was something you’d often hear being casually tossed around here and there. I was very much into indie rap, as well as regular non-indie rap I guess you could call it, but I was an avid 12” digger from around 1993 onwards and I think it was from around ‘96 or so when I first started really getting deep into the wilder and weirder side of things. I saw Blueprint records and appearances all over the place, usually through early Rhymesayers records but then on the solo tip, and through various Weightless Recordings items (his label). I also got really into his collabo project with RJD2, Soul Position - just rugged raw beats and rhymes, and their album ‘8 Million Stories’ remains one of my stone cold favourites of all time. Ugh, shit is SO so good. So go cop that and the instrumentals eh?
ANYWAY! Blueprint runs the show, and it was originally him and homie DJ Rare Groove from the beginning, but around episode 7 (‘Kickstarter Blues’), he brought fellow Weightless accomplice Illogic into the fold and that’s pretty much how the show’s been going since then. Illogic is someone I’ve been into since a good long while ago too, I bought the album ‘Unforeseen Shadows’ just on guest spots alone in the days before streaming audio was a thing - I bought it from the infamous Hip Hop Infinity site, before everything went entirely kaput. I bought so much from there… Jesus… Shipping was rough. Accumulatively I would have probably saved dough flying over there and buying it myself.
So Blueprint and Illogic are the homies running things now, and it’s a perfect team up. Both have varying perspectives, a free flowing and friendly communication and a shared short-hand that is easy to get to grips with. So that’s the two right there!
WHAT IS IT AND WHAT’S THE FORMAT?
It’s a podcast which deals with - for the most part - the music industry. I guess specifically you could say the rap/hip hop side of it, but with very many tangents and related topics which are all kind of in that sphere. So for instance, episodes since the start have dealt with legalities, knowing when to quit, books, entrepreneurship, Native Tongues being reinstated, sobriety, rules of the game (sampling, rapping, whatever!) and so on. It’s really the titles of the episodes that dragged me in in the first place - I was fascinated to hear two of my favourite rappers talking about topics that I’ve never heard on a podcast before, and just had to know how it would be approached and how deep they got into it. I figured it could be either exactly what it is - an honest and truthful chat about personal experience crystallised into helpful nuggets of wisdom, or it could be a podcast where two people politely danced around subjects without addressing or extrapolating for fear of being cast out of the game or something. I know Blueprint and Illogic so I know it wouldn’t have been that, but you never know, it could have been a light, sweet show which doesn’t dare step on toes! But Timz get straight scuffed up in here. It’s infinitely refreshing.
Format-wise, straight up and simple. Beginning with a nice little sound-designed ident noise, we get either a cold-open on a story or ‘hood tale’ from Print, or just straight in on a chat they’re having (but we start to get what’s happening pretty quick), or it’s an intro welcoming us in with some well deserved self-praise to affirm us that we’ve made the right choice by stepping into this dojo. Quite right too. Then into what’s happening this episode, and into the theme tune which is a skilful rendition of Mobb Deep’s ‘Shook Ones Pt. 2’ but of course dedicated to the podcast. It’s great, nice boom bap banger of which we hear elements later after breaks, and then into the show itself. Usually it’s a list of around 5-10 bulletpoints which are broken down throughout between Print and Illogic, which is interspersed with the odd break here and there which is always for something to do with the guys - no sponsors or anything, just product that they’re shifting. All good though, maybe not everyone knows what the two do and what they make, so it’s nice to have a heads up on what they’re producing.
WHEN DOES IT COME OUT?
Weekly mostly. Maybe the odd week might be missed out but it’s a rare occurrence.
WHAT DO I LIKE ABOUT IT?
When I first picked up on it, I was living in Laos with Mrs Peace. While it wasn’t actually crazy hard to make the shift, it really did bring out the things in me that were important and the cultural elements that I couldn’t do without. Obviously music was a given - that was obvious, and I made sure I either had enough on me to keep me going, or that I kept myself up to date on everything I could online. I mean family and friends are what you miss most but that’s a ‘goes without saying’ part, and while we were out there we had our ways of keeping in touch with folks so in those times when we were out there, we could be in touch to certain degrees. But on the personal tip, I’ve been a podcast fanatic since the mid-00’s, and it would have been pretty tough without those. You pick up on so much, whether it’s a casual reference to something you’ve never heard before which piques your interest, or a podcast specifically about a moment in history or bringing together loads of recommendations at once, it can feel like your soul’s being replenished sometimes and that feeling of cultural and sensory discovery is so important. It was hard not being around records or chances to dig (the closest opportunities were in Bangkok and Chiang Mai, which was DOPE but you never really went on a spontaneous visit and if you DID, you might not be hitting those spots), but I managed to keep somewhat on top of things with help from the internet and managed to not become completely unstuck!
Super Duty Tough Work played into this for sure. I wish I could remember how I found out about it, but I remember looking at the titles of the episodes and it was so instantly appealing. It had been a pretty mad year musically and a lot of changes were happening, so this was a really cool touchstone to find that kept me grounded in the stuff that I find so interesting and that affects me in all kinds of various ways. I saw episode 33, ‘Six Ways To Sidestep The Sample Police’, and I was immediately on it. Downloaded it right away on our humble Lao Telecom modem and boom - got straight on it. I had a bunch of crazy projects out there, the main one was producing Scroobius Pip’s ‘Distraction Pieces Podcast’ which meant that I couldn’t listen to podcasts while doing that (that would have been straight up absurd and negligent - some multi-tasking brain power required for that which I do not possess), but I had a few design things happening too. I’m not a designer by trade but I do a bit here and there - I’ve always been into graf and painting, especially the lettering side, and every so often I’d get asked to do some painting projects out there. One was painting the wall at this dope little local restaurant called ‘Bouang’ - it means spoon - for whom I designed the logo and a massive wall painting inside:
WHY DO I BRING THIS UP…??? I’m not trying to show it off or make this about me, I’m really not. But after making Super Duty one of my regular listens, I stashed up a good amount as I knew this project was coming… So this whole thing from start to end was fuelled pretty much entirely on Super Duty Tough Work. And in doing that, in tying it into a project which required so much attention but which was also not something I usually do (as I couldn’t really listen to it while I was making beats either!), it really became a dear friend to me - a familiar voice in a town where I knew a few people and loved the Lao language, but gave me that connected feeling to a culture and artform that I love and adore and have spent a good majority of life in. It really emphasised the personal connection for me.
Not only that - one thing I really love about the podcast is the brutal honesty. I can’t lie, every episode there’s usually at least one point which kicks my ass and humbles me. Sometimes it’s a harsh truth that I need to hear, but sometimes it’s a little jab that blindsides me and leaves me thinking almost too deeply about something… Sometimes I’ll find myself, chin on fist, thinking hard about my whole life and why? Fucking BLUEPRINT AND ILLOGIC calmly dashed off some harsh truths which rearranged my whole thinking! But I love it for that. Not everything relates to me, and some of it is really far from where I’m at or worlds I’m in (sometimes they talk about touring and while I’ve done a bit here and there, I’m not a road dog like these fellas and their counterparts), but I pick up so many jewels in there and a lot of it is stuff that you can sort of take on board and save for later. If you’ve listened to their music in the past you also get an idea of their positivity and inspiring nature, which goes a long way. I’m done with snidey cynical and arch critiques that just tear things apart, and this is the perfect podcast for anyone who finds themselves more on this side than the negative tweet-bait stuff. OKAY there is a time and place for that stuff, I’m only human, but I couldn’t listen to a whole podcast of it. With SDTW, I feel like if something is dissed or taken apart, the next corner will reveal something dope or a lesson that can be learned. And with the combined experience of these guys and their guests, you can trust that it’s worth taking a lot of this on board.
So with that in mind, please do go and have a look at the episode list. There will be AT THE VERY LEAST one that will leap out at you. Have a listen, and then you’ll become familiar with the tightness and consistency, and then you’re sailing. Go in and add it to your subscriptions!
Another thing which was very inspirational, while I’m thinking about it, was hearing about the process of Blueprint making a film, which you hear about throughout the show (mostly around 2017 I think). His documentary is called ‘King No Crown’, and you can get it here:
Weightless put a version up on Youtube too, so if you dig it, take it to the store and buy yourself a copy - it’s a great piece of work, and again, like the podcast, motivational and inspirational.
LEVEL OF ENGAGEMENT
You’d be better served if you properly listen in on this one. It’s conversational, which does add a free-flowing style to it that can make you think you can just kind of saunter in and hang around, but nahhh - hang your coat up, get you a drink and sit your ass down.
HOW MANY EPISODES AT THE TIME OF POSTING THIS?
132 at the time of posting this. That’s some box-set action right there.
BINGE OR ONE AT A TIME?
Very easily binge-able. Probably go at like two at a time if you’re feeling like doing that, as the effect will be diluted if you do binge a ton, but you’d be fine with two a day if you’re feeling it.
I’d be over the moon with a blu-ray copy. REAL TALK!
•EPISODE 73•How Managers Choose Talent (w/ April Kulscar)
…and go from there! SO many more, seriously…
A killer show. You’ll love it. Even if you’re not necessarily a hip hop listener or artist, you’ll likely get a lot from it. Enjoy.
More on those soon…!