DJ Iroc – Fat Joe 560 Halftime

Bronx native DJ Iroc put together the Halftime Mixtape for the promotion of Fat Joe’s (failed) clothing brand FJ560. Even if the clothing brand wasn’t that hot, this mixtape is fire. The cover lists DJ Iroc as a member of Puff Daddy’s Bad Boy Entertainment group, but that didn’t stop him from using his public relations skills to secure the presence of other Hip Hop heavyweights to freestyle on his tape. Big L and Herb McGruff represent Harlem, Foxy Brown and Jay-Z represent Brooklyn, Nas reps Queensbridge, KRS One reps the Bronx and The Lox hold it down for Yonkers. That pretty much covers four of the five boroughs of New York and then some on the freestyle side of things.

Iroc’s Halftime Mixtape is a good combination of street sounds with R’n’B buttahs. Mixtape’s featuring th Wu Tang Clan are always guaranteed to shift units, but Iroc drops three gems from the Shaolin Isle with the rarer Semi Automatic and Who’s the Champion singles released as singles on film soundtracks, and Firewater where Raekwon raps with host Fat Joe and Big Punisher. Most hardcore rap heads wouldn’t be caught dead purchasing R’n’B singles, but the mid-Nineties saw an interesting tandem evolve between singers and rappers with bouncier remixes and street versions to the traditional ballad format. Female trio SWV, Brandy and Horace Brown all come correct with the genre. The Iroc remixes aren’t bad either even if he runs a variation of Nas’ instrumental over three dubs.

Keep an ear open for Jay-Z’s freestyle bars which sound like an unreleased b-side of Can’t knock the hustle to my knowledge; Herb McGruff, Murda Mase and The Lox Reppin uptown (Misnamed Harlem kids get biz on the tracklist) and the last verse of Common’s Bitch in you which I hadn’t heard played anywhere else.

Side A

Intro – Fat Joe
Intro – DJ Iroc
Freestyle Big Punisher
Freestyle – Nas
Bitch in You – Common
If I ruled the world (Iroc Remix) – Nas
Sittin up in my room (Iroc Remix) – Brandy / LL Cool J
Put a rush on me (Iroc Remix) – Stephanie Mills
Zulu war chant
Freestyle – KRS One
My kinda nigga – Heather B / MOP
Ill Vibe – Busta Rhymes / Q-Tip
The Bizness – De La Soul / Common
Bronx Tale – Fat Joe / KRS One

Side B

Freestyle – Fat Joe
Firewater – Fat Joe / Raekwon / Big Punisher
Freestyle – The Lox
Only You – 112
Freestyle – Foxy Brown / Pretty Boy
Semi Automatic – Inspektah Deck / U-God
Freestyle – Jay-Z
One for the money (Iroc Remix) – Horace Brown
You’re the one Remix – SWV / Jay-Z
Freestyle – Big L / Herb McGruff
Reppin’ Uptown – Herb McGruff / Mase / The Lox
Who’s the champion? – Ghostface Killah / RZA
You – Monifah

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