September 20, 2017

DJ Fela - Niggaz Don't Die, Part 1 (1995)

Sugar, spice, and everything nice. These were the ingredients chosen to create the perfect juggernaut of a Memphis hip hop producer. A DJ with the combined skills and twisted mentalities of three established geniuses: DJ Sound, DJ Squeeky, and Juicy J. The city of Memphis added another ingredient, however; chemical X. Thus, DJ Fela was born--a freakish hero of the SP1200 and turntables who burned the city down each time a cassette was released. Niggaz Don't Die pushed the limits of mid-90s underground Memphis like nothing else--it's almost some sort of crossover shit, but crossing over with genres that don't even exist. The songs are crafted from club rap elements like deep 808s and 16th hi-hat rhythms yet the end result is an outsider phenomenon of the highest caliber. If there was an actual Memphis version of SpaceGhostPurrp's Blackland Radio 66.6 concept, Niggaz Don't Die would be the closest to that description--an avant garde trap transmission from the other side. Like I mentioned before, DJ Fela has the insanity and improv aesthetics of Sound and Squeeky, but his music is even more radioactive than anything those legends ever put together. The sampling density on some of these tracks smokes even The Bomb Squad, a few of the drum machine mixes scorch around 200 BPM, he's adding or dropping elements on every bar of each song, and the snare rolls are hard enough to knock brain matter straight through my ears and nose. The verses from Fela's troop of rapper affiliates are distorted, surreal, and contribute to some of the greatest posse tracks I've heard. If you've got an affinity for off-the-chain Memphis music like Player 1 & Bloody Bones or dance-centered bass music, then you'll probably enjoy this scrambled assault of playerism more than most people. Rest in peace DJ Fela.


Niggaz Don't Die, Part 1