A podcast where people talk about musical inspiration. In the first series, artists were invited to talk about songs that were particularly important to them. In our second series, we’re hosting a G.O.A.T. debate, with hosts Hartley Lloyd Pack and Simon ‘Suspence’ Spencer discussing the greatest rappers to ever pick up the mic.
Available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Soundcloud.

Podcasts (Series 1)

Jimmy Akingbola

  Jimmy Akinbola: Ten Thousand More

Delighted and excited to kick off a new podcast of the show with the much loved actor, Jimmy Akingbola.

Years ago I was lucky enough to see Jimmy on stage at the Crucible Theatre, in Blue/Orange, and since then his career has gone from strength to strength.

Whilst continuing to work prolifically on stage, including a memorable performance as Othello at the Hammersmith Lyric, Jimmy has developed a reputation as a scene-stealing comedy actor on TV; you might know him as crack-fiend Mick, from the BBC 1’s Rev, or Valentine the exuberant DJ in Sky One’s In The Long Run, created by and starring Idris Elba.

More recently, Jimmy has taken on hosting duties in the comedy panel show Sorry I Didn’t Know, which has been commisioned by ITV to mark Black History Month this October.

In his Mixtape Assembly, Jimmy reflects on the music, lyricism, and poetry that has inspired him to become the renowned actor he is today.

He talks about listening to the Wu-Tang Clan in his dressing room to get him hyped up to perform Chekov, ponders what Shakespeare would have made of Grime music’s clashing culture, and reveals the time he had to hide from a sword-wielding angry mob who stormed the Birmingham Rep in 2004, whilst Jimmy was performing in the controversial play Behsti, or Dishonour, by British Sikh playwright Gurpreet Kaur Bhatti.

   Spotify playlist

1. Wu-Tang Clan: Wu-Tang Clan Ain’t Nuthing ta F’ Wit

2. Wu-Tang Clan: Triumph

3. Wu-Tang Clan: Can It Be All So Simple

4. William Shakespeare: Aaron’s speech in Titus Andronicus, Act 5 Scene 1

5. Black Slate: Amigo

6. Akala: Comedy, Tragedy, History

7. The Five Stairsteps: Ooh Child

8. Bashy: Black Boys

9. Stevie Wonder: You Are The Sunshine Of My Life

Benjamin Zephaniah

Benjamin Zephaniah: Lyrics and Spirits

Back with the biggest bang! This Mixtape Assembly is held by the mighty Benjamin Zephaniah, one of the most important voices to come out of the UK.

Benjamin is many things, many many things, but he is probably best known as a poet. His achievements are too great to list here, though speaking personally as someone who works in education I'd like to salute Benjamin for bringing words and stories to life for so many young people around the world.

In his Mixtape Assembly, Benjamin goes on a bit of a deep one, talking freely on life after death, meditation and breath, and why the royal family could never be blessed.

Musically we get some insight into the multiple worlds that Benjamin inhabits, and I reckon his selection features the happiest tune and the angriest tune on the podcast to date - hold tight my heavy metal crew.

Along the way, Benjamin sprinkles the show with sparkling little stories, including the time he inadvertently reunited a warring Wailers in the aftermath of Bob Marley’s death, his role in helping to launch Dizzee Rascal’s career, and the times he spent hanging out with Paul McCartney in smoked out dub clubs in Brixton...

   Spotify playlist

1. Percy Shelley: Song To The Men Of England

2. Roots Manuva: Let The Spirit

3. Cat Stevens: Matthew And Son

4. Gladys Knight: Help Me Make It Through The Night

5. Bob Marley and The Wailers: Rastaman Chant

6. Benjamin Zephaniah and The Wailers: Free South Africa

7. Benjamin Zephaniah: In Times Like These

8. Leonard Cohen: Closing Time

9. George Harrison: Here Comes The Sun (Live Version)

10. System of a Down: Prison Song

11. Matthew Herbert: The Audience

12. Si Phili feat. Benjamin Zephaniah: Scrolling

Mighty Moe

Mighty Moe: Heartless Affair

We’ve got the vibes yo!
This Mixtape Assembly is curated by Mighty Moe of the legendary Heartless Crew - surely the most influential group to come out of the UK Garage movement.

In his Mixtape Assembly, Moe remembers how the whole thing started, with X amount of Heartless anecdotes, including a shaky start to life on Mission FM, Fonti’s days as a bossman barber, and waking up Bushkin’s nan in the middle of the night to chase off a rogue Jamaican possum.

On a more personal level, Moe reflects on the influences of his Middle Eastern parents and also pays tribute to the inspiration he drew from his late uncle Mark. Looking to the future, Moe talks about emceeing around the house with his daughter Ruby, whose bound to have a wicked flow - it’s absolutely good you know!

   Spotify playlist

1. Fairuz: Habbaytak Bissayf

2. Rosie Gaines: Closer Than Close

3. Fat Freddy’s Drop: Cays Crays (Digital Mystikz remix)

4. DJ Taktix: The Way (The VIP mix)

5. Brenda Russell: The Thick Of It

6. Nat King Cole: Nature Boy

7. Ennio Morricone: My Name Is Nobody

8. Atmosfear: Dancing In Outer Space

9. Musical Youth: Pass The Dutchie


Paul Barber: From Doo-Wop to Denzil

Paul Barber takes the hot seat for this Mixtape Assembly and the studio is still scorching from his tune selection!

A much loved actor, Paul is probably best known for his roles playing Denzil in Only Fools and Horses and Horse in The Full Monty.

When people found out that my dad was in Only Fools, they'd often be keen to find out more about David Jason, who plays the main character Del Boy in the classic sitcom. I'd always find myself mumbling that my dad didn't really have much to do with Jason, and that the guy who played Denzil, Paul Barber, was his best mate from the show.

In this Mixtape Assembly, Paul remembers working on Only Fools with my dad, and also reflects on the friendship he shared with the late, great Larrington Walker, who he first met when they performed together in the musical Jesus Christ Superstar back in 1972.

Going even further back, Paul talks about the songs that helped him get through some very tough times as he grew up in the care system in Liverpool, and the inspiration he drew from conscious music. It turns out Paul could have been a singer himself, and was closely connected to the black soul scene coming out of Liverpool in the 1960s, counting Ray Lake, a founding member of the seminal group The Real Thing, as a close friend.

   Spotify playlist

1. Tymes: So Much In Love

2. Helen Shapiro: Walking Back To Happiness

3. Peter Straker: Coloured Spade

4. The Chants: I Don’t Care

5. The Real Thing: You To Me Are Everything

6. Sixteen Sunsets: Tottenham

7. Curtis Mayfield: Miss Black America

8. Marvin Gaye: Mercy Mercy Me

9. Four Tops: Reach Out I’ll Be There

10. Bill Hayley: Rock Around The Clock

11. Slim Whitman: Rose Marie

12. Sammy Davis Junior: Don’t Blame The Children

13. The Heptones: Yesterday

14. Barrington Levy: The Vibes Is Right

15. Simon and Garfunkel: Old Friends

16. Ice Cube: It Was A Good Day

17. Steel Pulse: Ku Klux Klan


Janai: Soulja Survivor

This episode is presented by the one and only Janai, a singer-songwriter who has performed alongside the likes of Jennifer Hudson, Gorgon City, and Anne-Marie. Janai is also a member of the all-conquering House Gospel Choir, who have been mashing up stages for a little while now - watch out! In her Mixtape Assembly, Janai discusses how she has drawn on music in a cathartic way to help her during times of difficulty, and reminisces about rampaging through London as a garage-loving-carnival-raving-Beyonce-worshipping teenager!

Follow Janai’s movements on social media @janaimusic

   Spotify playlist

1. Labyrinth: Jealous

2. Mariah Carey: Music Box

3. Donald Lawrence: The Gift

4. Elephant Man: Pon Di River

5. Shy FX and T-Power: Shake Ur Body

6. Sia: Little Man (Wookie Mix)

7. Lauryn Hill: Lost Ones (remix)

8. The Edwin Hawkins Singers: Oh Happy Day

9. Chris de Burgh: The Lady In Red

10. Garnett Silk: Hello Africa

11. Jagged Edge: Let's Get Married

12. Destiny’s Child: So Good

13. Destiny’s Child: Survivor

14. Floetry: Floetics

Zoe Buckman

Zoe Buckman: Flowers In The Pouring Rain

This Mixtape Assembly features Zoe Buckman, an artist who has developed a reputation for the bold and innovative ways in which she confronts the themes of feminism, mortality and equality.

Working in sculpture, installation and photography, Zoe’s influences are often lyrical, with past exhibitions paying reference to John Keats and the Notorious B.I.G respectively.

In her Mixtape Assembly, Zoe reflects on how important music is to her work, and, as both a fan of hip hop and a feminist, talks about how she responds to some of the misogynistic content found within certain rap lyrics.

As a London girl relocated to New York, Zoe explains some of the cultural differences between the cities, particularly in terms of race and identity, in the process paying homage to one of London’s finest, Amy Winehouse.

Having attended the same sixth form as Zoe, we couldn’t help but reminisce about growing up as underage garage ravers, and it turns out we were both a little bit in love with Damon Albarn back in the day...

Find out more about Zoe’s work here.

   Spotify playlist

1. Paul Robeson: Balm In Gilead

2. Sweet Female Attitude: Flowers

3. Notorious B.I.G: I Got A Story To Tell

4. Jahnavi Harrison : Mayapur Dawn

5. Oasis: Champagne Supernova

6. Alicia Keys: Girl On Fire

7. Frank Ocean: Godspeed

8. Sabrina Mafouz: The Night You Were Born

9. Amy Winehouse: Fuck Me Pumps

10. The New Basement Tapes: When I Get My Hands On You


M.O.N.G.O: A life less Rawindary

There’s no shortness of rawness! This Mixtape Assembly is curated by Mongo, an artist who will be well known to anyone who knows a bit about the history of hip-hop in the UK, being as he was a founding member of the Mud Family, alongside fellow rappers Skinnyman and Chester P.

Mongo honed his rap skills whilst roaming around Finsbury Park as an aggy adolescent, with his raw delivery allowing him to develop a style what was unmistakably his own.

In his Mixtape Assembly, Mongo recalls early memories of the Mud Family, including a mythical battle between the US emcee Common and Highbury’s very own Chester P.

Moving beyond his life in music, Mongo reflects openly on his personal challenges with addiction, and talks in depth about the pain and difficulty of witnessing his older brother - a gifted poet himself - suffer from chronic mental illness.

A North Londoner to the bone, Mongo considers the way the city has changed, particularly in terms of the racism he experienced as a lad with brown skin growing up in Islington. As his instagram followers will know well, Mongo is a skilled photographer, and this Mixtape Assembly proves his observations on the mic are just as vivid.

   Spotify playlist

1. Pink Floyd: Comfortably Numb

2. Orbital: Chimes

3. Roxanne Shante: Have a Nice Day

4. London Posse: Original London Style

5. Prince: Christopher Tracy’s Parade

Other tunes by Mongo/Mud Fam are included in the podcast.


Shazad Latif: Romantic Banter

Very happy to re-release this Mixtape Assembly episode from the archives, presented by the actor Shazad Latif, who will be well known to any Trekkies out there, playing as he does Lieutenant Ash Tyler in the CBS series Star Trek: Discovery.

In his Mixtape Assembly, Shaz reveals the random encounter that led to his first major role in the spy series Spooks, and pays homage to his mum Elaine, who taught him the importance of throwing moves whenever Elvis comes on.

Shaz talks vividly about his love of nature, remembering times spent at my family’s cottage in Norfolk, as well as bittersweet walks through Hampstead Heath, accompanied by the ghost of William Wordsworth.

Musically, Shaz’s selection is nothing if not eclectic, perhaps in part reflecting his mixed heritage, representing as he does for England, Scotland, and Pakistan.

   Spotify playlist

1. Bruce Springsteen: I’m on Fire

2. Ryuichi Sakamoto: Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence

3. The Voice Squad: The Banks of the Bann

4. Salif Keita: Madan

5. William Wordsworth: From Lines Composed a Few Miles from Tintern Abbey

6. Ralph Vaughan Williams: The Lark Ascending

7. Elvis Presley: All Shook Up

8. Peter Gabriel and Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan: The Passion

9. Ismael Lo: Tajabone

Podcasts (Series 2)


G.O.A.T. debate #1: The Notorious B.I.G.

To be top 3, or not to be, that is the question...

Let the great G.O.A.T rapper debate begin!

We’re kicking off this new series critiquing The Notorious B.I.G’s credentials - could he be the best to ever to it?

Had to get Suspence on hosting duties for this one; regular listeners will remember how much Biggie means to him from his appearance on the first series of Mixtape Assembly, and this episode was another heated and emotional affair. For real though.

We Zoomed in to explore Christopher Wallace’s legacy, with a number of hip-hop heads dropping us their favourite Biggie lyrics along the way, including Jimothy, Mongo (Mud Family) and Janai.

A lot of things get covered, and most of them are rugged.

We talk about Biggie’s capacity to hold whole verses in his head, his unrivalled use of humour, as well as some of his most offensive lyrics, including the infamous 'Gutter' lines from What’s Beef? Oh dear.

If you're easily offended, this might not be the best episode for you - hold tight for our next G.O.A.T debate, on Lauryn Hill.


G.O.A.T. debate #2: Lauryn Hill

To be top 3, or not to be, that is the question...

Lauryn Hill’s a G.O.A.T. no word of a joke... but it feels like her name is rarely mentioned in these lists and debates, so we had to take action. Affirmatively.

This time the discussion was a three way thing, with Janai now on board as a co-host alongside Simon and Hartley - a real boost to the team.

As well as critiquing Lauryn’s style in general, each host chose a favourite verse to explore: Simon kick’s off with 'Lost Ones', Janai comes through with 'Doo-Wop', and Hartley hits us with 'How Many Mics'.

We were also lucky enough to get a bunch of artists to share their favourite L Boogie lyrics with us, including Shezar, Gorgon City and Nesah Gonzales. Big ups all round.

It’s clear that we're all in love with Lauryn, though feelings towards Wyclef are more complex, and, in a strange twist, Talib Kweli is cast as the story’s pantomime villain...

Artwork by Hush


G.O.A.T. debate #3: NAS

It’s Nasty the villain, he just won a Grammy and besides that he’s chilling!

Yes indeed, Nas is the third rapper featured on our GOAT Debate series, and the timing feels good; in recent weeks, Nas’ most recent LP, Kings Disease, picked up Best Rap Album at the Grammys, while his debut release, Illmatic, was inducted into the Library of Congress.

Regular listeners will recall that, on the Biggie episode that kicked off the series, there was considerable tension between the hosts, with Hartley leaving Simon flabbergasted when he revealed that the Notorious doesn’t make his top 3. It’s fair to say that the roles are reversed this episode, with Hartley - backed up by Janai on some Foxy-Brown-the-Firm-baby-business - desperately trying to show Simon why Nas has to get named anytime GOATs are mentioned in the rap game.

Obviously we discuss the legacy of Illmatic, as well as other classic Nas verses, including collaborations with Mobb Deep, Damian Marley and Scarface. Nas’ style is considered in comparison to his peers, none more so than his old friend Jay-Z...

Much love to everyone who contributed to the episode with their favourite Escobar lyrics, too many names to mention here, but listen out for your contributions dotted throughout the episode.

It’s like Ghostface said on the recent Verzuz show: Nas is the Golden Child born with a beam of light on him...