ENDLESS SUMMER

Tall Black Guy VS A Tribe Called Quest – JB Suite II
Seba Kaapstad – Welcome
The Procussions – Virginia Wolf
The Everyday People – Gold Smoke
Stro Elliot – Soul II Stro
Oddisee feat Phonte – The Perch
Planet Giza – You Wasn’t Lyin’
Omar Apollo – Kickback
Nightmares on Wax w Andrew Ashong & Sadie Walker – Look Up
Hayden James – Just A Lover (Pomo remix)
Chocky – Self Knowledge (dub)
Shit Robot VS Black Thought – The Life To Come (blend)
Guy One feat Florence Adoni – Estre
Biggie Smalls feat Eminem – Dead Wrong
Biggie Smalls feat Redman & Method Man – Rap Phenomenon
Shafiq Husayn feat El Sadiq – Picking Flowers
Medina Green – Crosstown Beef
Mary J Blige – Love No Limit (remix)
Al Green – Look What You’ve Done For Me
Cesars Salad – Manteca
Beastie Boys VS Herbie Hancock – Intergalactic Rockit (blend)
Kaidi Tatham – Joyous
Ponty Mython – I Wish
Sondrio – Smoked Out
Andres Campo – DaShit
Liquid Monk feat Jaye Prime – Hollywood
Kokoroko – Adwa
Blu & Exile – Spread Sunshine
Gang Starr – Discipline
Noname feat Saba, Smino & Phoelix – Shadow Man
The JB’s – More Peas Pt II
Cypress Hill – The Phuncky Feel One
Lauryn Hill – The Sweetest Thing (remix)
Les Baxter – Hot Wind
Nicola Cruz – Mantis
Tony Allen & Jeff Mills – Locked & Loaded
Atjazz – Tear
Ron Trent – City Beat

 


MIX NOTES

I’ve been in a bit of a musical wormhole over the last few months, listening to almost nothing but African music from the 70s. But I decided to take a break from all that and get back to doing what some say I do best: just mixing it up. So this is me reminding myself of all the great music that’s still out there to discover. And some summer jams for you, hopefully.

Tall Black Guy VS A Tribe Called Quest – One of today’s greatest beat makers, Tall Black Guy flips a few James Brown samples to create a nice moody groove to kick of this mix. Not only does he have an ear for a great hook, like Dilla, but he can really layer on a nice warm blanket of sounds, like Flying Lotus. I threw an iffy, home-made acapella of “Check The Rhyme” on top, simply because its one of my all-time go-to Quest tracks. Play the resurrector and give the dead some life.

Welcome – Man listen, this Seba Kaapstad album that came out 3 weeks ago is my new favorite record, for real. This Capetown, South Africa crew goes deep, swirling all of their musical influences into one glorious gumbo that seems to tread comfortably in so many different genres, past and present. Lush instrumentation and dope layered vocals and a mixture of tempos and crescendos, with an ambitious devotion to expressing it all that reminds me most of Stevie Wonder’s early 70s work. I had to resist putting more than one song on this mix, which never happens anymore. We need more people making a real effort to create music that will truly endure. If you feel me, please peep the record HERE

Virginia Wolf – LA indie rappers The Procussions have been in the game for over a decade now, jumping from Basementalism to Rawkus Records to their own Procussions label. This is from their 2104 Pro-Exclusive EP, and it has a great lo-fi quality that I’ve been missing in my life.

Gold Smoke – A nice instrumental from The Everyday People, a flash in the pan funk band from Canada that recorded one album in 1972 with Doo Wop singer and Kool & The Gang writer/arranger, Gene Redd (brother of singer Sharon Redd). You can hear a clear influence of early Kool & The Gang here, with the same kind of tight horn section and devotion to danceable Funk.

Soul II Stro – A quick interlude from Procussions member Stro Elliot, who released a bunch of random beats in 2011 on his Stro’s Old Beat Farm LP.

The Perch – Being so utterly and thoroughly bored with all things Trap as of late, I’ve been looking for beats, old or new, that just get me to perk up and take notice. Nahmean? This Flying Lotus track from 2009 is just that shit. This came out on Oddisee’s 7-song “101” EP, and features him and Phonte from Little Brother on the 2nd verse.

You Wasn’t Lyin’ – Montreal Hip Hop trio Planet Giza is made up of Rami B, Dumix, and Tony Stone. They’re down with cats like Kaytranada and they’ve been releasing music independently and via Soundcloud since 2017. This is from their “Added Star” LP, which dropped in February of 2019. It has a nice groove and helps me pick up the pace of this mix a bit, as I move on to faster bpms and greener pastures. You’d be amazed how little Hip Hop exists in this 100bpm range these days. Such tracks have always been crucial tools for me in playing sets (like this mix!) that encompass both downtempo Hip Hop and uptempo Funk, Disco, and House. The struggle is real.

KickbackOmar Apollo is a 21-yr old singer/songwriter and first generation son of Mexican immigrants who grew up in South Haven, Indiana, about an hour out of Chicago. Dude looks like a little like John Mayer and sings Poppy, Funk-infused R&B joints that sound a little like James Blake meets Chris Brown meets BJ the Chicago Kid. Or something like that. Feels authentic to me, and a nice way to work a real band into this mix.

Look Up – Leeds native George Evelyn aka DJ E.A.S.E. aka Nightmares On Wax celebrates almost 30 years of musical innovation with his own installment in the Back To Mine series – a long-running DJ compilation that has boasted some of the biggest names in UK electronica since 1999. This track features Ghanian-by-way-of-London soul singer Andrew Ashong and long-time Trip Hop collaborator Sadie Walker. The song conjures up a little Moodyman, a bit of MJ’s “Butterflies”, and a few other stateside vocal house sounds you don’t often hear from this dude. Sounds like musical growth and believe you me I’m wid it.

Just A Lover (Pomo remix) – A Schmooved out remix from Pomo that keeps Hayden James’ Disclosure-esque sound intact, but imbues it with Pomo’s own signature, heavy-compression sounds that only he can muster. His remixes are rich and lush and sound downright amazing on the right system. He must have really amazing monitors at his crib. The original was notated for best dance release in Hayden’s home country of Australia, and he’s since gone on to tour extensively and write songs for Katy Perry (yeesh), among others.

Self Knowledge (dub) – The Berlin label Dessous has consistently released good deep house since its inception in 1998. This mid-tempo joint from London DJ/Producer Chocky is a nice way to ease out of vocals and into some moodier sounds for a minute. Larry Heard hopefully approves. I certainly do.

The Life To Come (blend) – Marcus Lambkin aka Shit Robot is an Irish musician and DJ that starting blowing up once he hooked with James Murphy and the DFA crew about 20 years ago. He now lives in Germany and releases dope records from time to time that always warrant a listen. I blended some Black Thought over the top of this, because I do miss rappers who can spit above 115bpm – a dying art since the glory days of Big Daddy Kane. And make no mistake, Black Thought from The Roots is a serious beast of an MC. In Dec of 2017 he reminded the world of just that, absolutely slaying a freestyle on Funk Flex’s radio show. If you were off-world during that period, you owe it to yourself to hear a maestro at work.

Estre – Berlin’s Philophon label has been championing wonderful and obscure African music for some time now, and Guy One is simply my latest discovery from them. This dude is a master of Frafra music from the Sahelian Upper Northeast Region of Ghana. He is definitely a celeb in his homeland, and these recent international releases are finally getting him the exposure he so richly deserves. The central instrument of Frafra is the kon, a two-string lute that is believed to be the forefather of the American banjo, first brought over by Senegalese slaves who added a third string. This came out on the B-side of a 45 in 2017 and features Florence Adooni on lead vocals.

Dead Wrong – Man, I fucking LOVE this beat. It’s so slow and plodding but gat DAMN does it bang. It was produced by Chucky Thompson, who made a ton of certified hits for Bad Boy in the mid 90s an beyond. I started with Eminem’s verse because it’s probably my favorite Marshall Mathers verse of all time. Yes, his angry white guy schtick is pretty one note, but you can’t deny his skill as an MC – on full display on this track. I knew I was officially old when Biggie’s verse came on and I kinda cringed at the overt misogyny. I guess that’s progress, but I gotta admit, it feels weird. I almost deleted it from the mix, but again, I just love this beat so damn much. Can you ever forgive me!

Rap Phenomenon – Speaking of great verses, Method Man seriously did his thing on this posthumous Biggie collabo, produced by the one and only DJ Premier. Redman is no slouch either, tossing off a subtle reference to BDP’s “My Philosophy” with a reference to his brother ICU’s complexion. Speaking of ICU, though I haven’t seen him in years, I recently heard that Tree, ICU’s long time partner in crime, recently passed from medical complications. I missed the memorial they had at SOB’s, but I know Red Fox and Rayvon and Lady Ann stopped through to bless the mic. RIP Tree. You will be missed brother.

Picking Flowers – After much anticipation and about seven years of waiting, LA’s Shafiq Husayn finally released his album “The Loop” this past Spring. It features an all-star cast. A veritable who’s-who of the loose Afropunk collective that includes next-level voyagers like Erykah Badu, Bilal, Thundercat, Kamasi Washington, Coultrain, Flying Lotus, Fatima, Jimetta Rose, Robert Glasper and this song’s guest MC, El Sadiq. These are a good portion of the current vanguard of (mostly West Coast) badasses of color making music well beyond the standard definitions of traditional Hip Hop, Jazz, R&B, Funk & Soul. As I mentioned, in looking for music that once again makes me perk up and take notice, this record is overflowing with such beats. Also, is it just me, or does El Sadiq really sound like Slick Rick here?

Crosstown Beef – Looping back to 1998, when it was all so simple, and Mos Def was still putting out indie 12”s with his brother DCQ and his cousin Magnetic. Kelvin Mercer aka Posdnuos from De La Soul hooked the beat up. This track also appeared on Rawkus’ Soundbombing II compilation, which really stands the test of time, and captures that era of NYC backpacker beats perfectly.

Love No Limit (remix) – Hearing the Keni Burke “Risin’ To The Top” loop in the previous track got me all nostalgic for Mary J, so I had to follow up with this. I wore this remix out in the summer of 1993, when Puff Daddy was still at Uptown Records and still figuring out his formula for Hip Hop-infused R&B that would dominate much of the 90s. This was a dance floor filler for almost a decade, and way way better than the LP version.

Look What You’ve Done For Me – Since we’re on some throwback shit why not throw it all the way back to 1972, when Al Green released his 5th and absolutely flawless album, “I’m Still In Love With You”. Remember that thing I said about music that endures? This is exhibit A right ‘chea. Recorded in Memphis with much of the Hi Records house band, and members of The Memphis Horns, who played on every Stax record you can whistle in the shower. More of this, please, but new. Is that so much to ask?

Manteca – this sounds deceptively like it was recorded in the early 70s, but it came out in 2012. César’s Salad is a collection of Latin-Jazz cats that have gigged around Europe forever, including Cesar Granados on congas from Panama City, Jo Junghanss on piano from NYC, Jerker Kluge on bass and Hajo von Hadeln on drums, both from Munich. Manteca, in case you are unaware, is a foundational Afro-Cuban Jazz standard from 1947, written by Dizzy Galespie, Chano Pozo and Gil Fuller. The crowd at Carnegie Hall was almost certainly unaware that Manteca was Cuban slang for weed at the time. This version stood out to me because you almost never hear it without a horn section. Sounds fantastic with just piano.

Intergalactic Rockit (blend) – This is a shameless bite of a mash-up I came across on Youtube from a guy named DJ Eric III. I opted for the Revenge edit of Herbie Hancock’s “Rockit”, instead of the original, but it’s basically the same idea. If it works, it works, and I am long past being too proud to bite. My favorite line is “Go ahead, put my rhymes on trial / Cast you off into exile” which is either a reference to the Old Testament (Ezekiel), Shelley’s “Prometheus Unbound”, or Magic: The Gathering. You make the call. Either way, it made me chuckle.

Joyous – A dope little broken beat joint from Kaidi Tathum that keeps the pace up nicely. This is from his 2018 “It’s a World Before You” LP, which is rather solid and well worth a listen if you like his stuff.

I Wish – Getting back into some deep house for a hot minute with Ponty Mython aka Swedish DJ/Producer Alexander Pletnev, who released this in 2015 on Lars Berger’s Swedish Brandy imprint. Is there a term for the DJ habit of swapping the first letters of names to get newer, goofier names? Somebody please get at me. I think I was drawn to this by the the synth sound, which subtly reminded me of the Roland Juno 106 (or was it a 60?) in Mission Control’s “Outta Limits”. You old heads know of which I speak.

Smoked Out – Brand new shit from Sydney’s Luke Tkalcevic aka Sondrio, who runs the Romantics Label and has been putting out tracks in this vein for the last few years.

DaShit – It takes a LOT of digging to find Techno tracks that I dig, and more importantly, Techno tracks that I can mix in with other types of music, but they’re always out there. This is from Barcelona’s Andres Campo, who has been blowing up over there with a residency at Florida 135, plenty of touring, and he even made the cover of DJ Mag (yes, that is still a thing, apparently. Who knew?).

Hollywood – Since we’re briefly in Techno land, why not take a natural detour into Detroit Electronica, with hometown heroes Liquid Monk. I’ve been meaning to put this on a mix since it came out in 2017. The live drums sound hype, and the synths sound smooth, and Underground Hip Hop collaborator Jaye Prime sits in on vocals to round things out.

Adwa – Afrobeat is alive and well on this new 4-song EP from Kokoroko. These guys are a talented septet based out of London, laying down Jazzy West African rhythms that remind you just how good a real band can sound. This came out a few months back on The Brownswood label, which is a sure shot for good music in this, the twilight of Western Civilization. Smoke ‘em if you got ‘em.

Spread Sunshine – LA dynamic duo Blu & Exile are back at it again, releasing a new EP “True & Livin” early last month. Looking at all the West Coast cuts I ended up putting on this mix, I hate to say it, but it seems that the West Coast is more inclined to maintain a signature Hip Hop sound of their own. The best among them has yet to fall into the Trap trap that swallowed the rest of the country in the last few years. It kills me that New York lost its edge. I know there are exceptions, but they just prove the rule. We need to get our weight up. Feel me?

Discipline – The lack of current NY hits keeps me digging back into the crates, this time with a dope Gang Starr cut from 1999. Nobody chops up a beat like Premier.

Shadow Man – Chicago poet and rapper Noname gets down on an exceedingly pleasant groove with Saba, Smino & Phoelix. There’s a really lovely chorus buried in here: “Bless the nightingale. Darkness keep you well”. In medieval times, Christians believed the song of nightingales contained the wails of lost souls trapped in purgatory. This was the last song on Noname’s 2016 mixtape “Telefone” and her 2018 follow up “Room 25” is well worth a listen if you’re feeling her flow.

More Peas Pt II – The Tall Black Guy cut that kicked off this mix borrows heavily from this song so I figured I’d run the original to bring it all back around. You can never listen to enough J.B.’s. That’s just science.

The Phuncky Feel One – Man, I haven’t played a Cypress Hill song in yeeeeaaars. You can really hear the influence of The Bomb Squad in the way this track is structured. Cypress Hill kind of morphed into something silly for me, over time, but I can still remember the day their first single hit the radio. I was sitting in the passenger seat of Kel G’s car and we were on the Manhattan Bridge and it was about 5pm and we were listening to WBLS and “I Could Just Kill A Man” came on and everyone in the car was like “yoooooooooo this shit is fucking DOPE!”. Still sounds good after all these years. You know it’s true. No future in your frontin’. That’s just science.

The Sweetest Thing (remix) – This Lauryn Hill remix came out on promo only in 1997, and if you had a copy, for a few weeks at least, you had an advantage over whoever else was spinning with you that night. A simple SWAT sample from Wyclef and a few guest lines from the 4th Fugee, John Forte, and it all came together nicely.

Hot Wind – This scorching slice of proto-Big Beat is from the soundtrack to Hell’s Belles, a 1969 biker B-movie that was released as a double feature with Roger Corman’s “The Wild Angels”. Les Baxter is best known as an arranger for movie soundtracks in the “Exotica” genre of the 60s ands 70s, alongside contemporaries like Lalo Schifrin and Henry Mancini. But he did conduct the orchestra on Nat King Cole’s “Mona Lisa”, so he understood a thing or two about music that endures.

Mantis – Superstar LES yoga teacher, smokin’ hot wife, and all-around BC badass Alison Chan Bevan has taken up the family mantle of spending days and days making DJ mixes in our apartment. Mine go on up this site. Her mixes go live in her yoga classes on the daily, and she takes this part of her job very seriously. The best part is, we can now trade music, and this Nicola Cruz track is just one such tune. It made for a nice bridge – getting out of a Funk/Soul vibe and back into some weirder, faster, Afro Electronica. I’m a lucky man.

Locked & Loaded – I went to the New York debut of this record, when Tony Allen & Jeff Mills played together at The Apollo last year. A longtime fan of both, I was absolutely thrilled that they had figured out a way to blend Tony’s signature drumming with Jeff’s signature dubby Techno loops and SFX. The whole record is experimental and spacey and bugged out in all the right ways. You probably have to have tried drugs at least once in your life to truly appreciate this type of shit. Or maybe just listen to early Pink Floyd or Mad Professor for a couple of hours. Your call.

Tear / City Beat – Two final slices of deep dopeness from Atjazz and Ron Trent. Two guys who consistently make great music for after hours clubs – assuming those still exist(?). Thanks for listening.


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