“I’m not the best motherfucker, but I’m better than a lot of n*ggas,” the grand imperial Lord Finesse once famously, succinctly remarked on record. While one would expect such swift hubris would apply to the Funky Man’s acumen for punchline-heavy braggadocio verses, it actually resounds three-fold. For Finesse is that true rarity amongst hip-hoppers: a revered and celebrated emcee who also boasts equally prodigious talents as a DJ and producer.
Despite classic rap efforts to his credit like 1990’s Funky Technician, it’s been Finesse’s fine work behind the console that’s kept him most active between extended breaks on the mic. Often characterized by dark, reverb-soaked horns, forgotten jazz riffs, propulsive drums, and those signature sleigh bells, his productions have naturally punctuated the efforts of his brethren in the D.I.T.C. (Diggin’ In the Crates) collective – Show & AG, Fat Joe, O.C., and his protégé, the late, great Big L. But he’s also helmed the beats for “Suicidal Thoughts,” off The Notorious B.I.G.’s Ready To Die, and “The Message” from Dr. Dre’s 2001 album. Both are classic Finesse in terms of sound and feel; both round out their respective albums with emotionally resonant tracks that show their architect’s musical range.
With his recent mixtapes, Art Of Diggin’ Vol. 1 & 2, “The Underboss” continues to display his knack for picking the right records to utilize. And though it’s been 17 years since his last LP of new raps, 2012 promises a resurgence of Finesse through a slew of both original and archival material via Slice-Of-Spice Records. Sounds like the perfect time then, to consult the Funky Technician for his all-time favorite (rather funky) sample flips.
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