al green – can’t get next to you
funkadelic – hit it & quit it
earth wind & fire – can’t hide love
roy ayers – everybody loves the sunshine
minnie riperton – reasons
america – tin man
led zeppelin – good times bad times
bee gees – love you inside out.
headhunters – god made me funky
rufus & chaka khan – you got the love
steve miller band – fly like an eagle (conan reel to reel edit)
traffic – empty pages
lou reed – walk on wild side (holtoug edit)
paul simon – 50 ways to leave your lover
rolling stones – emotional rescue.
the who – eminence front (love supreme edit)
positive force – we got the funk
roberta flack – back together again
edwin birdsong – cola bottle shape
steely dan – peg
jimi hendrix – wait until tomorrow
ashford & simpson – bourgie bourgie
harold melvin & the blue notes – bad luck (dimitri edit)
prince – sexy dancer
chicago – street player
america – horse with no name (todd terje edit)
fleetwood mac – gold dust woman
elvin bishop – fooled around and fell in love
detroit emeralds – baby let me take you



DJs learn to stop taking requests pretty early in their careers. Just too many goobers in the club asking for shit you’d never touch with a 10 foot tone-arm. But mixtapes are different. Every now and then, an old friend will reach out and request a mix of their very own. These are people I already vibe with, so it’s heart-warming. Truth be told, I often agree to do it, and then quickly drop the ball. If I did this to you, my bad. Sometimes, I actually get around to it.

Without question, Ben Vazquez and I are now officially “old heads”. We met somewhere around 1991 or so. I was bartending at a party called Soul Kitchen, and he was working the door with a bunch of take-no-shit guys I still count as friends. We continued to cross paths at underground parties like Giant Step and Soul Sunday Lounge and Red Rum and spots all over downtown Manhattan throughout the 90s. I probably didn’t talk much, and he was probably his usual, surly-ass self, but we probably nodded heads and said whatup. By the early 2000s, Ben worked the door at Frank’s Lounge in Brooklyn for Bang The Party, where I was a devoted dancer and eventually a resident DJ with my big bro Eman and Serge Negri. Almost a decade later, it was Red‘s killer Soulgasm parties in the LES, where I frequently hung out and occasionally DJ’d with my man Brian Cox.

Like most service jobs, nightclub work is a serious bonding experience. It’s natural to fall into a bit of an ‘us against them’ mindset. The entire staff are your brothers and sisters in arms, from management to coatcheck to busboy and everyone inbetween– and the patrons are a wild, unpredictable, drunken, drugged-up hot mess that you collectively try to herd and wrangle and coral into having the best night of their lives, despite their best efforts to fuck that up. Each person plays their part. DJs keep them dancing. Bar staff keeps them drinking. Promoters sweat the details and watch over the whole primordial soup, keeping everyone feeling like they’re an honored guest. Door staff and security staff keep the peace, manage the crowd inside and out, checks IDs, ejects trouble-makers by force, dodges bullets and box cutters and Beckys, and carefully limits the number of knuckleheads and douchebags VS cool people to the precise perfect ratio – so that the party doesn’t collapse in on itself. These nights and moments and the soundtracks that fueled them are etched into my DNA. And the people who have inhabited these weird, dark spaces with me over the last 30-40 years are my family – no matter how long it may have been since we raised a glass or did a stage dive or screamed out the chorus to a great song. If you’re one of these folks, you’re cool people. And Ben Vazquez is one such people.

When he messaged me a list of his favorite songs, the list kinda caught me off guard. Elvin Bishop? For real? Fleetwood Mac? Check. Empty Pages? LOVE that song. Bee Gees? Actually haven’t played that track in years. And a bunch of certified NY club classics we all know and love. His list had about 15 songs on it. We agreed that I’d just fill in the gaps with whatever seemed right. It was fun as hell to make, as many of these songs slipped out of my over the years in a never-ending quest to keep shit fresh. But classics are classics for a reason, and as a DJ it’s good to remember that from time to time. So, if you dig this mix, you’re cool people, and you’d probably dig surly-ass Ben Vazquez too. Peace brother. Sorry about the wait.

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