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Hip-Hop/Rap - Released October 23, 2020 | !K7 Records

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Hip-Hop/Rap - Released October 16, 2020 | !K7 Records

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Hip-Hop/Rap - Released October 1, 2020 | !K7 Records

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Hip-Hop/Rap - Released September 2, 2020 | !K7 Records

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Hip-Hop/Rap - Released April 3, 2020 | !K7 Records

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Hip-Hop/Rap - Released March 26, 2020 | !K7 Records

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Hip-Hop/Rap - Released March 3, 2020 | !K7 Records

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Hip-Hop/Rap - Released January 21, 2020 | !K7 Records

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Hip-Hop/Rap - Released May 27, 2016 | !K7 Records

On his volume of !K7's DJ-Kicks series, Damon Riddick, aka Dām-Funk, affably replicates the spirit of his weekly Funkmosphere club night. Nearing a decade of existence when the mix was released, Funkmosphere -- started in a Culver City space prior to a move eastward to L.A. -- has made strides in the support and advancement of what night founder Riddick calls modern funk. As first-wave funk and its living museum-style scions continued to be embraced by the rock-centric music press and historians, Riddick and associates have correctly asserted that funk never ceased its development post-disco. The best electro, house, techno, hip-hop, and contemporary R&B does tend to have at least some funk informed by the late-'70s/early-'80s era championed by Funkmosphere. For that crew, certain synthetic percussion sounds and synthesizer wriggles are as much a part of funk's evolution as a chicken-scratch guitar line or James Brown grunt. Though Riddick has never shied away from spinning commercially successful tracks released on major labels, he takes the opportunity here to spotlight obscurities. As is the case with early funk, piles of quality recordings were pressed independently or privately later on, only to lie dormant in bins before they were vitalized by small circles of diggers, compilers, selectors, and DJs. True to form, Riddick's in no rush. He allows most of each selection to be aired out and does so with no tricks. One of the most appealing stretches arrives early, just after a dazed house opener from Moon B, among the few selections waxed during the 2010s. Nicci Gable's buoyant "Can't Get Close to You" reimagines the Mary Jane Girls as a Cameo side project, or as a response to "Single Life" (though it was co-produced by Shakatak's George Anderson). It gives way to an ebullient and breezy electro-funk instrumental from Verticle Lines, one of a few early-'80s aliases used by Barry Michael Cooper before he neologized new jack swing and co-wrote the screenplay for New Jack City. Then comes the thwacking bliss-out "Love Jam" by Randell & Schippers, a yearning/cooing male-female duo who sound like circa-1985 Loose Ends with limited ends. Riddick also moves the spotlight to a variety of contemporary producers, including one-man band Reggie B in Prince-D'Angelo mode, and Dutchman Henning, whose inclusion sounds like a rescued outtake from DJ Quik's Rhythm-al-ism sessions. Riddick also adds a couple previously unreleased productions of his own: "Can U Read Me?," a moonlit Nite Jewel duet, and its following "Believer," a dreamlike solo instrumental that would have highlighted Invite the Light. Since the track list is supplied, there's no need for Riddick to identify what's spinning, as he does in clubs, but he does make the occasional declaration and enhances the kicked-back mood by singing along a bit. © Andy Kellman /TiVo
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Hip-Hop/Rap - Released October 6, 2008 | !K7 Records

Taking cues from the Motown heyday, the London-based duo Herbaliser (Jake Therry and Ollie Theeba) combine lush horn arrangements, a funky wah guitar line, and lively drums with singer Jessica Darling’s overpowering soul-infused vocals on the infectious CAN’T HELP THIS FEELING. The five-track single features instrumental and a cappella tracks as well as remixes from Beardyman and the Heliocentrics. © TiVo
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Hip-Hop/Rap - Released May 26, 2008 | !K7 Records

Usually the grooviest and most hip-hop connected of Ninja Tune's acts, the Herbaliser gradually matured into a supremo live band, led by the duo of Ollie Teeba and Jake Wherry but also encompassing dozens of support slots for brass, woodwinds, and percussionists, plus the usual plugged-in instruments. Still, the Herbaliser isn't a chamber ensemble per se, but instead the type of funky big band prominent in the '70s, the kind that could drop a blaxploitation or disco nugget one minute and get all funky over "Sunny" the next. Same as It Never Was, their first record for !K7, is in similar company to Herbaliser's previous Take London from 2005. It's delivered with the help of an excellent roster of musicians; tenor saxman Chris Bowden, bassist Pino Palladino, and multi-instrumentalist Andrew Ross all make multiple appearances. The sound and productions are definitely up to the Herbaliser standard, but the duo may lose a few listeners when they exercise their funny bones, as they do several times here. Instead of hitting at street level, they spend a lot of time indulging in camp instrumentals like "The Next Spot" and "Amores Bongo" (it's not "Sunny," but it's close). As Herbaliser have done since their debut, they excel at bringing vocal features to life; here it's the Jean Grae guest spot "Street Karma (A Cautionary Tale)," with its eerie blaxploitation shadings. Other highlights come with "Can't Help This Feeling" and "On Your Knees," both featuring vocals by the leather-lunged soul-blues belter Jessica Darling. (Obviously Herbaliser have been at it for years, but it's difficult not to hear her and think of Amy Winehouse or Sharon Jones.) There's no doubting the Herbaliser's ability to deliver exactly what they're attempting, but despite the excellent playing and good vocal features (when they occur), the songwriting and choice of material make this record inferior to the usual Herbaliser standard. © John Bush /TiVo
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Hip-Hop/Rap - Released April 29, 2008 | !K7 Records

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Hip-Hop/Rap - Released September 1, 1997 | !K7 Records