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This week, we have an epic sit-down with producer 88-Keys. 88 got his start as a teenager, choosing samples for groups like A Tribe Called Quest while working for a record dealer. He easily moved from there into production, and was a key voice in underground hip-hop during the Rawkus Records heyday. His work on albums by Black Star, Mos Def (now Yasiin Bey), and others helped cement the sound of the era.

88 has continued to make music for everyone from Beanie Sigel to Macy Gray, in addition to releasing his own solo album, The Death of Adam, in 2008. In recent years, his name made headlines again when he produced the hit song “No Church in the Wild” for Jay Z and his longtime best friend Kanye West.

We talked to 88 about his past, present, and exciting future, including his Locksmith Music label.

Tracks featured in this episode:

  1. Network Reps, “Dos Collabo”
  2. Network Reps, “Dos Collabo”
  3. Hazadus, J-Treds, Thirston Howl III, Kwest, I.G. Off, “Bathroom Cypher”
  4. J-Live, “Got What It Takes”
  5. Roy Ayers Ubiquity, “Everybody Loves the Sunshine”
  6. Brand Nubian “Wake Up (Reprise in the Sunshine)”
  7. Milt Jackson, “Olinga”
  8. A Tribe Called Quest, “Award Tour”
  9. Bill Cosby, “Martin’s Funeral”
  10. A Tribe Called Quest, “We Can Get Down”
  11. Stark Reality, “All You Need to Make Music”
  12. Phil Manzanera, “K-Scope”
  13. Spooky Tooth, “Sunshine Help Me”
  14. The Throne, “No Church in the Wild”
  15. Schoolz of Thought, “Worldwide MCs”
  16. DJ Spinna, “The Scott Steinway Trio (Montreaux ‘76)”
  17. 3LW, “High Fashion (Be Yourself)”
  18. 88 Keys, “Morning Wood”
  19. 88 Keys, “Ho Is Short For Honey”
  20. Beanie Sigel, “Watch Your Bitches”
  21. Hot, “Just Cause I’m Guilty”
  22. Swizz Beatz (f/Bounty Killer), “Guilty”
  23. Styles P, “Good Times”
  24. G-Unit, “Eye For Eye”
  25. Main Source, “Looking at the Front Door”
  26. Jay Z, “Never Change”
  27. Jay Z, “Heart of the City (Ain’t No Love)”
  28. Jay Z, “Izzo (H.O.V.A.)”
  29. John Legend, “Hold On Longer”
  30. Allan Rich, “Since the Day I Met You”
  31. Kanye West, “Blood on the Leaves”
  32. 88 Keys, “Dusty Rhodes”
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