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Jazztronik: Piano Samurai

Last year a track from Japan found a home abroad in the playlists of DJs as disparate as Derrick May and Kenny Dope–Jazztronik’s “Samurai,” released on Neil Aline’s Chez imprint. A stunning marriage of jazz grand piano and rough broken beats, “Samurai” won the expected fans–like Gilles Peterson’s Worldwide audience–but also unusual acclaim from producers like Jazzy Jeff, who included it in his house mix album for Defected. Not too shabby for a track with decidedly humble origins.

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Crazy Titch: A Repeat Offender

He’s just an arsehole/He’s just an arsehole/He’s Dizzee Rascal/He’s just an arsehole.” The original Taz-produced bassline of Dizzee Rascal’s anthem “Jus’ A Rascal” thunders over Britain’s airwaves with a raucous new vocal from 20-year-old East London MC Crazy Titch. Tim Westwood, the legendary BBC Radio One hip-hop DJ, is giving Crazy Titch’s Dizzee Rascal-dissing dubplate a third reload. “Dizzee man, maybe you should ‘low it with this guy,” says Westwood. “He sounds scary.”

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Ellen Allien: Thrill Seeker

As a kid, Ellen Allien idolized David Bowie. She learned his pop star language–the art of reinvention–early on. More explicitly, he taught her English: “My teacher said we should begin learning English from the translation of our favorite band texts. Bowie was thereby the first pop star for me. Read more » 

DJ Hell: Just a Gigalo

Who’s that gigolo on the street/With his hands in his pockets and his crocodile feet.” –Neneh Cherry

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The Living Legends' Hip-Hop Masterpiece

What a long, strange trip it’s been. The Living Legends have grown considerably since 1997, when they germinated in the now-famous San Leandro Avenue “Outhouse” in East Oakland’s Fruitvale District. Now numbering nine members–Sunspot Jonz, Luckyiam, Eligh, The Grouch, Bicasso, Aesop the Black Wolf, Murs, Arata, and Scarub–they’ve been called a West Coast Wu-Tang, more for their Voltron-like collective philosophy than stylistic similarities. Read more » 

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