Category Archives: Uggh…Presents

THE TREVOR HORN COLLECTION

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It’s hard to say exactly what kind of music Trevor Horn makes. This British genius is widely acknowledged in his home country as one of the greatest pop producers of all time, but in the states, his amazingly diverse discography is largely overlooked. Using a fearless mix of synthesizers, samples and live instrumentation, Horn made it clear that he was playing by his own rules as the driving force behind both Art Of Noise and The Buggles in the late ’70s. And his early-’80s work on Malcolm McLauren’s Duck Rock—including the seminal track “Buffalo Gals”—still stands as some of the most instantly-recognizable (and most sampled) beats in hip-hop history.

But aside from his more experimental work, Trevor kept winning throughout the ’80s by bringing his innovative touches to a string of mainstream hits from acts like Yes, Pet Shop Boys, Grace Jones, and Frankie Goes To Hollywood. In the ’90s, he reinvented himself as the man behind Seal (he’s written and produced practically every song the singer has ever recorded), and since then he’s been staying busy with an unpredictible slate of work, from faux-lesbian teens t.A.T.u. to indie rockers Belle & Sebastian. I compiled 25 of my favorite Trevor Horn-related tracks for one of this week’s Uggh…Nice Watch releases…

CLICK HERE TO SEE THE TRACKLIST + DOWNLOAD LINK!!

THE CLIVILLÉS + COLE COLLECTION

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Anyone who came up in the early ’90s probably still has the ubiquitous order stuck in their head: “EVERYBODY DANCE NOW!” But there’s much more to C+C Music Factory than one-hit-wonder status—David Cole and Robert Clivillés, the masterminds behind the group, are in fact one of the dopest production duos of all time. Starting in the late ’80s with a house crew called 2 Puerto Ricans, A Black Man And A Dominican, Clivillés and Cole churned out a steady stream of hits that fused the NYC club music they loved with pop music. After early crossover success with freestyle-infused girl group Seduction, their stock as mainstream songwriters grew, leading to high-profile work with Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey. In fact, before Mariah discovered hip-hop, it was her house-driven collaborations with David Cole (“Emotions,” “Make It Happen”) that defined her sound. Sadly, Cole suffered from spinal meningitis, and he passed away in early 1995 at the peak of the group’s power. I put together 25 of my favorite C+C-related productions for a new Uggh…Nice Watch compilation…

CLICK HERE TO SEE THE TRACKLIST + DOWNLOAD LINK!!

THE KAY GEE COLLECTION


Eminem gives respect to Treach as one of the most innovative lyricists of the early ’90s, and Naughty By Nature’s main producer—Kier “Kay Gee” Gist—is long overdue for a similar recognition on the music tip. After debuting in 1989 as a trio named The New Style, this group of East Orange, New Jersey friends landed a management deal with Queen Latifah’s Flavor Unit. They soon changed their named to Naughty By Nature, got signed to Tommy Boy and started producing for Flavor Unit’s roster. The group’s classic self-titled debut featured “O.P.P.,” one of rap music’s first massive crossover hits that didn’t sacrifice hip-hop credibility.

The success of Naughty set Kay Gee up as a producer-for-hire, but even from the jump, his focus seemed to be on artist development. He found early R&B success with bald-headed duo Zhané, who he signed to Naughty’s Illtown Records. While he originally produced in collaboration with the Naughty crew, he broke out on his own in the mid-’90s and formed a new label named Divine Mill. Once again, he found R&B success with Next, and later soul crooner Jaheim. In honor of everyone driving out to Jersey this weekend for Summer Jam, I wanted to make a mix of 30 key Kay Gee-related tracks for this week’s Uggh…Nice Watch release. Enjoy…

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THE MUGGS COLLECTION


The influence of Soul Assassins mastermind Lawrence “DJ Muggs” Muggerud on West Coast hip-hop shouldn’t be underestimated. Originally a native of Queens who moved to LA as a teenager, the ill Italiano got his chops in the late ’80s DJing for short-lived Geffen Records rap group The 7A3 (as DJ Grandmixer Muggs…he’s the one on the left). KDAY’s Julio G introduced him to rappers B-Real and the the Reyes brothers (Sen Dog and Mellow Man Ace), a partnership that led to the formation of Cypress Hill.

The massive success of the group, fueled by Muggs’s unique, playfully dark sound, blazed a new trail for West Coast rap. The producer’s sample-heavy, New York-influenced beats made the group’s first two album hip-hop classics, and before long he was one of the genre’s most in-demand beatmakers, working with heavyweights like Ice Cube and mentoring newer Soul Assassins artists like Funkdoobiest, House of Pain and a young Alchemist. The rise of the West Coast underground scene in the ’90s owes a massive debt to Muggs’ unorthadox work, which proved that music that was decidedly not g-funk could still represent Cali correct. I compiled a grip of must-have Muggs classics for this week’s second Uggh…Nice Watch collection…

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THE BATTLECAT COLLECTION


Quik and Dre are rightfully lauded as the giants of West Coast hip-hop, but one guy that deserves to be mentioned in the same breath is Kevin “DJ Battlecat” Gilliam. This dude is g-funk in the flesh. Amazing. Originally a radio DJ at KDAY, he blew up as a producer in ’93 with Domino’s huge hits “Getto Jam” and “Sweet Potato Pie,” adding a cooled-out, jazzy R&B flavor to the funk-based sound of the minute (Doggystyle came out two weeks before Domino’s debut).

Since then, Battlecat has become a West Coast staple, producing hits and hidden gems on a slew of classic albums, from Ras Kass to Snoop. I was watching video video of him in the studio recently (this one), and it really made sense that he would be such a big Tribe Called Quest fan. He’s sort of gotten pigeonholed as a niche West Coast-only producer for whatever reason, despite his creativity, track record and amazing musicality. A lot of great producers come and fade away, but a Cat track is still as dope today as it was in 1995. Take a listen to this week’s release and you’ll hear what I mean. I compiled some highlights from the last 20 years…

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THE JIM JONSIN COLLECTION


Over the last 8 years, Miami producer James “Jim Jonsin” Scheffer has given his career a complete makeover. While local Florida music fans might know him as DJ Jealous J, a legendary DJ/rapper/producer in the state’s electro bass scene, today’s urban music fans know him as the 808-friendly pop producer behind smashes like T.I.’s “Whatever You Like,” Soulja Boy’s “Kiss Me Thru The Phone” and Lil Wayne’s “Lollipop.”

But Jonsin’s journey began in the late ’80s, when he started producing and performing bass records under the name Jealous J for the independent Cut-It-Up-Def label, including some joints that are widely considered classics of the genre. He was particularly well known for his precise cutting and scratching skills as a DJ. Jim continued working with Heat Wave Records and Dynamix II Records through the mid-’90s, but by that time the bass scene was becoming a shadow of its former self.

During the late ’90s, he released a more trance-flavored album under the name DJ Devistada, while founding a hip-hop-oriented label under Warner Brothers called Paper Chasers that would never come to fruition. But the big change in his career came with the national crossover of Miami rap. Jim started producing a few album cuts for Trick Daddy and Trina, before linking up with producer Bigg D and forming a new production crew called The Unusual Suspects. The partnership only lasted a few years, but the hits they made together finally turned Jim into a viable mainstream pop producer. I’ve compiled some of my favorite Jim Jonsin-related joints from the last 20 years for this week’s Uggh…Nice Watch release…

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THE TRICKY STEWART COLLECTION

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The-Dream is the biggest shit in R&B right now, but his fans still don’t know much about the guy behind the guy: veteran producer Christopher “Tricky” Stewart. The 35-year-old creative mastermind was already producing for major artists (along with his original partner Sean “Sep” Hall) while still in high school. Originally a native of Chicago’s suburbs, Tricky worked in L.A. for a few years before meeting L.A. Reid and moving out to Atlanta in 1995, where he established his RedZone Entertainment company.

Before long, he was crafting huge mainstream hits for JT Money and Mya, and signing a few semi-successful artists like Blu Cantrell. The RedZone collective has since grown to include key players like songwriter The-Dream and vocal producer Kuk Harrell, a team that’s taken Tricky’s success to new heights. In honor of Love Vs. Money dropping today, I compiled some of my favorite Tricky joints from the last 17 years for this week’s Uggh…Nice Watch release…

CLICK HERE TO SEE THE TRACKLIST + DOWNLOAD LINK!!