Tony Touch #53 – Funkin’ You Up

Another classic tape from Tony Toca the Piecemaker during his prime. Tony Touch #53 Funkin’ you up is a strong mixtape with top-knotch sound quality and Tony’s signature smooth cuts. To quote the man himself “Anything from number #51 to #54. I was in my prime right there. I was coming off of the first 50 MCs, and the momentum was hot. All the early 50s definitely stand out.” Check out this great Mixtape Memories article Nah Right did with Tony Touch to learn more about one of the mixtape game’s heaviest hitters.

As I mentioned in a previous Tony Touch related post, Tony wasn’t afraid to drop a few bars on the mic and Tape #53 is no exception where he’s joined by Rhyme Recca, a member of Raekwon’s American Cream Team. With an eagle eye for detail and continuity, Tony blends out of the intro with a sample of Wu Affiliate Cappadonna asking “What ya sayin’ Rhyme Recca?” and Busta Rhymes shouting out the DJ “Tony Touch Buenos Dias!” before dropping into the Wild for the night single featuring Busta and Rampage. This sort of work is so much cleaner than your average DJ who might assault your ears screaming about his connections to said- rapper or crew. Another example of Tony’s professionalism is his quick PSA about bootlegging ( – carefully slipped in after an ominous Mobb deep track Man down – coincidence?). With the arrival of CD ripping on the scene, talented DJs needed to hustle extra hard for their cash. Tony lets the listener know that if he’s listening to his live mix (Yes, all his mixtapes were recorded live!) on a CD, it’s a bootleg because his official CDs say that they’re CDs.

Even if I sometimes go on about how 1997 was a year that signalled the dawn of the Big Willy and Club Rap which are two things I find detrimental to the culture, 1997 was also an important year for independent rap music which was fighting harder than ever to be heard above the Cristal cork poppin and loud Vesace shirts the mainstream was flaunting. Funkin You Up features a grip of underground talent: Non Phixion, MF Grimm, Mother Superior, Big Rob n Lil Sprout, Meanor, AK Skills, Mamma Mystique, Hi Tech… Some of them made it and some of them didn’t but it was the sign of Tony’s dedication to the movement to include these groups and emcees.

To get into my favourite tracks on Funkin’ you up, I have to skip straight to the end of Side A where the Boot Camp Clik drop a wicked cypha-inspired track (later revealed as Down by law produced by Tony Touch for their debut album For the people) where the group rap back and forth over the classic Rappers Delight break. Speaking of cyphas, there’s also The cypher pt. 3 on Side B featuring emcees and DJs on a great posse cut. Craig G, Frankie Cutlass, Roxanne Shante, Biz Markie and Big Daddy Kane show the younger generation how the older gods get busy on the mic. Tony cuts out of the track with the mystical strings of the Tried by 12 instrumental by the East Flatbush Project and then blends seamlessly into the xylophone melody of Redman’s Soopaman Lover Pt. 3. I think the inclusion of the Tried by 12 instrumental listed as Touch Beats in the playlist is a teaser for the 5 Deadly Venoms of Brooklyn mixtape that was soon to be released featuring Tony Touch, PF Cuttin, Evil Dee, Mister Cee and DJ Premier. Definitely track that one down if you can!

Side A

Funkin’ you up Intro – Tony Touch / Rhyme Recca
Wild for the night – Rampage / Busta Rhymes
Do what ya feel – Redman / Method Man
Hurricane Starang – OGC
Man Down – Mobb Deep
Love LOD – Keith Murray / 50 Grand / Kel Vicious
Tremendous – Mamma Mystique
Freestyle Conversation – Snoop Doggy Dogg
The good die young – Dub Plate
24/7 – Hi Tech
Rock da spot – Redman
Foundation – Big Jaz / Jay-Z / Sauce Money
Infamous Mobb – Big Noyd / Prodigy
5 Boros – Non Fiction / DV alias Krist
Soul on ice (Diamond D remix) – Ras Kass
260 – Ghostface Killah / Raekwon
Tony Touch Exclusive – Boot Camp Clik

Side B

Shout Outs – Tony Touch
Leave your style cramped – PMD
Str8 gone (instrumental) – Dr. Dre / King Tee
Word perfect – KRS One
Hot to Def – Keith Murray
Treason – Big Rob / Lil’ Sprout
Most of all – Mother Superior
Crush on you – Lil Cease
The Cypher Part 3 – Frankie Cutlass / Craig G / Roxanne Shante / Big Daddy Kane / Biz Markie
Touch Beats – Tony Touch
Soopaman Lover Part 3 – Redman
Emotions – MF Grimm
It’s been a long time – Meanor
Nighttime vultures – Mobb Deep
One life to live – AK Skills
Foxxy’s Bells – Foxxy Brown
Get up (remix) – Lost Boyz
Freestyle – Mad Cobra
More shouts – Tony Touch

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