- Following on from Amon Tobin's Live mix in the series, Ninja Tune have invited the inventor of Trouser Jazz himself, Mr. Scruff to mix the fifth episode in their highly acclaimed Solid Steel series. Mr. Scruff is well known for his marathon DJ sets - some even lasting more than 6 hours at a time, so the Ninja's have decided to give Scruff his own mini series - Keep It Solid Steel, based on the popular club night he runs and the title of his debut album - Keep It Unreal. For part one of Keep It Solid Steel, Mr. Scruff takes in a selection of bumpin hip hop cuts and combines them with rare grooves, tasty old school funk flavours and mashes them all up in Scruff's own quirky style.
Scruff starts the mix off with some bouncy reggae beats kicking the proceedings off with Mungo's Hifi featuring Brother Culture's Ing - a deep and moody tune based around the three letter suffix "ing". Reggae beats continue with the Groove Corporation mix of Big Youth's Waterhouse Rock, sitting on an uplifting summery vibe utilising a catchy melodic bassline.
The mix then heads into a section of hip hop and funk with a fascination for bringing it back to the old skool. From Just Ice's rough and raw delivery on Going Way Back, to the dreamy funk of Chocolate Milk's Time Machine, then to hip hop soulstress Erykah Badu's Back In The Day and finally to UTD (featuring a young Mos Def alongside his brother and sister who we unfortunately don't get to hear on this mix) on My Kung Fu.
Nightmares On Wax vocalist Sarah Winton delivers jazzy vocal stylings on the piano laden groove on Tell Me How before Mark Rae provides a remix to one of his favourite tunes, the Deadbeats Funky For You transforming it from a deep lounger to a funky intrumental hip hop cut. Jazzy noodlings follow on with 2day & 2moro's Disney On Acid with Scruff dropping a tough hip hop verse of Cappo's Learn To Be Strong.
Luis Enriquez, an Argentinean composer whose compositions appear on the Kill Bill Vol 2 soundtrack, provides cool jazz funk flavours on Carrefour featuring a smooth sax solo before heading into the bass heavy funk of Spaghetti Head's Funky Axe. More hip hop follows on with tunes from NYC's Showbig & AG's Boune Ta This before Tipper drops hip hop tempoed abstract nu skool breaks on Pins & Needles.
Speaking of abstract hip hop, one just can't go past Warp artist Prefuse 73 who drops electro, techno madness on Detchibe. Legendary UK soul/acid jazz group Soul II Soul then drop the smooth Fairplay before Scruff rounds off the mix with uptempo jazzy vibes of Pharoah Sanders' You've Got To Have Freedom featuring a highly energetic jazz ensemble consisting of keys, vocal section and a wicked sax solo provided by the Pharoah himself.
In keeping with the tradition of the Solid Steel mix series - boundary pushing mixes combined with a feel good party vibe, Scruff has concocted a flavourful mix based around hip hop, with hip hop mixing techniques used to combine the madness into one coherent mix. This is a really creative album and makes for a perfect addition to the series. Hopefully he can outdo himself on future volumes.