Starting Positions

Soul Position – Oxford You Really Owe Me [Rhymesayers]

Closing RJD2 & Blueprint’s collaborative début Unlimited EP, ‘Oxford You Really Owe Me’ is juke joint hip hop instrumental in the mould of RJD2’s Deadringer of the same year. Despite featuring a vaguely Shadow-esque psyche passage (another strong feature of RJ’s production style at the time) it’s the honky-tonk piano that carries the hook, the chitlin’ circuit vocal sample delivering the message.

Not wanting to sound overly self-important, I had wondered when beatminers might come to combine my loves of dusty, rhythm and blues and punchy hip hop beats, idly dreaming of one day leading the vanguard myself. Here the US producer was answering my prayers and saving me the effort with his characteristic flair for syncopated sequencing, finger snaps and ghostly harmonies.

Meanwhile, as a jobbing DJ on Edinburgh’s indifferent bar scene the grainy spoken word track, detailing the pains of trying to break through the hubbub of an incidental audience brought immeasurable solace.

RJD2 would take a more chromed electronic, if equally accomplished, direction on Since We Last Spoke (returning to a retro soul tip for Soul Position’s second album proper Things Go Better with RJ and Al) but this peach from an otherwise largely unremarkable EP was a sign that I was not alone.

‘Oxford You Really Owe Me’ was released on Soul Position’s Unlimited EP [Rhymesayers Entertainment].


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