Saturday, April 16, 2011

Neva Stop Diggin' (Especially Not Today)!

Just in time for Record Store Day: a brand new vinyl release of an ode to digging by one of the realest hip-hoppers who ever did it! This here's a 7" single by Phill Most Chill on Diggers With Gratitude. What's interesting is that Phill is known at least as much - probably more - for being a killer producer, not just an MC; and he's always produced all his own stuff. But this 7" has Phill over beats by two other producers.

"Neva Stop Diggin'" first appeared online in 2006, when producer Paul Nice uploaded this track he'd just completed. The beat kicks in (after a funny Simpsons sample), and it's an instant bumper. It's got kind of modern soul production sound... where on the one hand it's got that sort of boop, boop, boop sound, but the sampled instruments have a richer, more organic vibe than your average contemporary hip-hop track that does the same kind of thing but lacks the soul. This being Paul Nice, there's also a bevy of fresh scratched-in vocal samples on the hook. And Phill rhymes what could be the definitive anthem for the current digging scene:

"You know I never stop diggin';
It's like my religion.
Ever since the days of Wild Style,
Flash in the kitchen
Cuttin' Bob James.
Biz says he got a version with no bells;
But I ain't never seen that for sale,
Definition of a Holy Grail!"

People were amped for this to come out. It was set to be on Paul Nice's album, but that project wound up getting derailed. So for years later, people kept asking, "what about that 'Neva Stop Diggin' track - is it ever gonna come out on vinyl?" ((crickets))

But that's not even the whole story. While all that was going on, there was a similar situation where Phill Most threw an obscure song up on his blog in a post about another hot producer. This time it's "Smash!" with producer Jorun Bombay. Yes, that Jorun, who did all those sought after Haltown tapes in the 90's and worked with Buck 65 before anybody knew who the heck he was. It turns out they originally recorded "Smash" with Jorun's crew First Words (though only Phill raps on this) as a bonus cut on their 2008 Deadbeats album, Cheaters. I believe that was CD only, if not mp3-only, and definitely not about to see a vinyl pressing.

So, bam! DWG stepped in and made them both happen. A hot 7" single with "Neva Stop Diggin'" on the A-side, and "Smash!" on the flip. This is barely limited - 1000 copies, which is essentially a full run, these days. The first 75 people to order copies, however, were treated to a version pressed on bright yellow wax. Either way, it's a top quality release as always. It's also not priced like a limited... roughly $10, depending where you get it from, and almost everyplace has got it available. So there's something for you to keep an eye out for when you go out digging this Record Store Day.

P.s. - Jorun has said to me that he's up for repressing the old Haltown tapes if there's demand for it. So everybody get up him about it!


  1. god damn ... fully signed copy ... Werner, that makes me envious !!!

    pz, Thor

  2. Yo Thanks for the review Werner!

    Just a note though.. there were a few vinyl 45's pressed off the First Words "Cheaters" album. (it wasn't entirely cd's and mp3's) "Smash" happens to be one of them (thanks to my dudes at DWG) but there are more vinyls floating around from Cheaters! I'm also down with pressing up Haltown stuff if the right offer comes along. Peace and thanks for the support!

    -Jorun Bombay