PLAY IT ALL
a tribe called quest – jazz (we’ve got)
jimmy mcgriff – green dolphin street (snippet)
roberto rodriguez – show me
thatmanmonkz – boogie down (laurence guy remix)
d general & mahume – misconception
leif – circumstance 4
the dangerfeel newbies – what am I here for (Karizma mix)
dj oji – esteban
nairobi afro band – soul makossa no. 1
big daddy kane – set it off (138 EDIT)
steinski – lesson 2 (beat)
the olympic runners – put your money where your mouth is
grandmaster flash – adventures (edit)
tom browne – jamaica funk
change – a lover’s holiday (138 EDIT)
philly all stars – let’s clean up the ghetto (krivit EDIT)
billly paul – the whole town’s talkin’ (j-ski’s tom moulton EDIT)
gershon jackson – take it easy (mike dunn remix)
jordan o’regan – park row
mood II swing feat fonda rae – living in ecstasy (fk EDIT)
sunlightsquare – celebration of oggun
pepe citarella – celia y tito (afro latin mix)
damn! – african scanian music continuum rerouted
kokolo – soul power (lack of afro mix)
the jungle brothers – I’ll house you (acapella)
reese & santonio – the sound (beat)
donnie – the it (edit)
rudoulpho – sunday afternoon
phonk d – keep dancin’
johhny hammond – los conquistadores chocolates (sam palmer hurt me remix)
mos def – umi says (138 EDIT)
honeysweet feat cindy mizelle – i put a spell on you
whitesquare – folded reality
dj clock VS kenny bobien – union sermon (138 blend)
doug gomez – harmonic warfare
yotam avni – pentimento
oscar p & swift – the drum (zulu mafia mix)
richie havens – back to my roots (krivit EDIT)
eddie kendricks – it’s not what you got
the new birth – i can understand it
patti jo – make me believe in you
k-def – funky fridays
It’s been awhile since I stretched out on a mix and just played a lot of random dance music, fast and slow, new and old. Playing out recently has reminded me I need to do this more often, since it’s really the best representation of what I like to do when working with an actual dance floor. Enjoy!
Street Jazz (instrumental) – Jersey MPC veteran K-Def has been putting in work since his days with Real Live in the mid-90s. He also made beats back in the day for The Lords of The Underground, among others. This is from his 2013 “One Man Band” album of replayed Hip Hop instrumentals that I dig into from time to time, just because they sounds so crispy and clean. Check it out HERE. I put Phife’s acapella verse from the Jazz (Wev’e Got) remix over it just to kick off the mix proper with some Five Foot Assasssin (RIP).
Jazz (We’ve Got) – I never get sick of this song or this album or this group or this music. Timeless. Flawless. Hip Hop.
Green Dolphin Street – Just a snippet of the opening bars of this Jimmy McGriff number that Quest sampled way back when. That’s South Carolina native Lucky Thompson on tenor saxophone. Dude played with Count Basie, Bird, Miles, you name it. Like many of his generation, he relocated to Paris in the 50s, looking for a better place to be a Jazz musician. This is from a live concert at Cook County Jail on Friday October 13th, 1972.
Show Me – I put this Roberto Rodriguez track on a previous mix, but I thought it warranted another spin. It’s just the right tempo to pick things up a bit. Roberto is from Helsinki and has been making groovy tracks since the late 90s. He rarely disappoints.
Boogie Down (Laurence Guy Remix) – Picking up the tempo even more, this is a nice slice of sweetness from London producer Laurence Guy. North Carolina native Eric Riko provides the Al Green-meets-Curtis Mayfield vocals, which embody a nice sentiment for the whole mix. Music takes me where I wanna be. Indeed. Eric is a DJ and producer in his own right, and was part of a 2013 coalition of Hip Hop heads sent overseas by the state department to interact with Islamic musicians in North Africa. Good gig.
Misconception – Lots of deep house instrumentals on the afro-latin house side of things sound generic as fuck. Yet some, when you listen closely, have elevated things just enough. The layering of percussion is just so, or the sounds they’re using are just unique enough, something, anything, to make it rise above the clutter. This tune from Johannesburg’s D General aka Minocafe is just such a track.
Circumstance 4 – I came across this sleeper from 2013 on one of Craig Smith’s Soundcloud mixes. If you’ve been listening to my mixes over the last 3 decades, you’ll recognize that this is the kind of shit that just speaks to me. These kind of simple, minor key progressions are a great deal of what attracted me back to house in the first place, and you can trace it all back to the godfather, Mr Fingers. We are all indebted to this man and his music.
What Am I Here For (Karizma mix) – Chi-town’s international superstar DJ Jamie 326 put me on to this vocal track last year, and it’s been my go-to morning inspiration ever since. The Dangefeel Newbies are a trio from Atlanta bringing all of their Neo-Soul, Soulful House, and Hip Hop influences to bear on their debut album, Hariet. This is Karizma’s mix, which has a bit more punch IMO than Kai Alce’s, but both are pretty dope. They got their name from Dangefield Newby, who was rolling deep with John Brown n dem during the famous raid on Harper’s Ferry on October 17 1859. Frederick Douglas may have declined, but Dangerfield was down for the get down. U.S. Marines shot him in the throat, stabbed him endlessly, severed his limbs, and left his remains in an alley to be eaten by animals. Say his name.
Esteban – Baltimore’S DJ Oji really nailed this one in 2005. I cannot tell you how many parties I went to that summer in New York where this was basically the track that woke up the room. That kind of feeling is hard to translate on a mix, mind you, but if you know, you know. I like to think of it as a stripped-down, afro-house descendant of Santana’s live version of “Soul Sacrifice” from the Woodstock movie. The keyboardist ripping it to shreds in that movie is SF’s Gregg Rolie, who later when on to found and front Journey, before Steve Perry and Filipino Steve Perry.
Soul Makossa No. 1 – Just about any version of Soul Makossa is fine by me. This has a rawness to it you just can’t make on a laptop, no matter how hard you try. This came out in 1973 on a 7 inch 45, backed with a reggae cover of the same song. The label appears to have been a very short-lived Brooklyn imprint out of Canarsie – the brainchild of disco producer / record man, Ben Reminick, who ran the One Stop Record Shop for more than 30 years. He also had another short-lived label, Remy Records, which put out reggae, calypso, and obscure disco shit like THIS. I think he just put studio bands together from the neighborhood and let them get down. Not mad.
Set It Off (138 EDIT) – I made this years ago, once I got my hands on the Big Daddy Kane acapella. The track is the breakdown from Dennis Coffey’s “Scorpio”, which peaked at #9 on the Billboard charts in 1972. Go figure. You will undoubtedly recognize it from the countless B-Boy battles you’ve trumped in, or at the very least, the countless Hip Hop songs that have sampled it. I think the first may have been Latifah.
Lesson 2 / Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is / Adventures… / Jamaica Funk – This is actually one big edit I made for a party awhile back. Two of my favorite breakbeats (Steinski sampling “Apache”, and The Olympic Runners) some classic Tom Browne funk, and that part of “The Adventures of Grandmaster Flash On The Wheels Of Steel” with those weird kids talking. I don’t know why, but that section of that song has fascinated me for decades. We are used to this kind of thing now, but believe me when I say: almost nobody was doing this kind of abstract shit on the radio in 1981. Stevie Wonder’s “Livin’ In The City” intro skit from 1974 may have laid the foundation, but this was pretty close to a first for Hip Hop, as far as I can recall.
A Lover’s Holiday (138 EDIT) – This is one of those New York staples that you play every 5 or 10 years and you wonder why the hell you don’t play it all the time. Simple. Groovy. Awesome. I edited it to start with the breakdown then get back to the vocal. R Kelly sampled it to decent results in the late 90s too.
Let’s Clean Up The Ghetto (Krivit EDIT) – Gamble & Huff meet Dexter Wansel with vocalists Teddy Pendergrass, Billy Paul, Dee Dee Sharp, Lou Rawls and Archie Bell. I mean… sheeeeeeit… talk about dream team. When I get my Wayback Machine™, these cats will be my wedding band, fo sho. Mr Danny Krivit, one of my true DJ heroes, chopped this up nicely, though I edited the intro to be about half as long, cuz it’s like 6 minutes before the damn vocals come in, and ain’t nobody got time for dat!
The Whole Town’s Talkin’ (J-Ski’s Tom Moulton EDIT) – Speaking of Billy Paul, may he rest in peace, I thought this mix needed two cuts from him, so here’s #2. This is another Gamble & Huff proto-disco number, from Billy Paul’s 1973 masterpiece, War of the Gods. This is Tom Moulton’s version, which is, dare I say, superior to the album mix by leaps and bounds. Supposedly he sang this on Soul Train, but I have yet to find the video anywhere.
Take It Easy (Mike Dunn remix) – You’ll no doubt recognize this as a direct rip-off or, shall we say, tribute… to the landmark bootleg Grand High Priest’s “Mary Mary”, which devastated the global underground back around 2008 or so. You can here it on an old mix of mine HERE. Normally I would shun such a direct lift, but it’s Mike fucking Dunn, and he can do whatever the fuck he wants. Take several seats and take notes.
Park Row – Bristol’s Jordan O’Regan in the house, doing a pretty solid imitation of 90s-era Masters At Work. Bouncy and straight forward and makes you want to put your drink on one of those nasty-ass drink rails by the edge of the dance floor and just get loose. Getting the party fucking moving, so to speak. Sometimes that’s all you need.
Living In Ecstasy (FK EDIT) – Speaking of the 90s, why not hear some real shit from the decade, like this classic Mood II Swing joint. Francois mixed this so perfectly, I am just in awe. Play this loud in a club and tell me I’m wrong. It struck the perfect balance between the deep house of the late 90s and the post-disco classics of Francois’s Prelude days. Still sounds brand new, somehow, too. How does he do it?
Celebration of Oggun – If I’m gonna stretch out and play a bunch of random uptempo cuts, I will eventually find my way to some Afro-Latin realness. Look no further than Sunlightsquare, the brainchild of Italian-by-way-of-London band leader Claudio Passavanti. This sounds so much like those early records on Osunlade’s Yoruba label, so of course he put this out this summer. This would have destroyed the 39th St Shelter but WTF do I know…
Celia y Tito (afro latin mix) – Since we’re listening to Italians who are hella down with La Raza, Pepe Citarella follows up Sunlightsquare with a tribute to Celia Cruz and Tito Puente. If you want to hook up a Latin house track, getting Luisito Quintero on timbales and Domingo Quinones on vocals is a safe bet. Luisito even played with Tito himself, so you know he’s the real deal. Where my Venezweirdos at?
African Scanian Music Continuum Rerouted – Another afrobeat great track from Rich Medina’s very solid Jump n Funk compilation on BBE.
Soul Power (lack of afro mix) – A whole album of Afrofunk covers of JB’s songs? You don’t say! NYC’s own Kokolo put their foot in this one. Always gets a dance floor rocking. Ray Lugo and his crew gig all over the place and, in short, they do the damn thang. Peep the whole album HERE.
I’ll House You (acapella) – I ran this over the back half of the Kokolo track as a way of getting into some old school shit. See below. Sadly, of all the Native Tongues, I think The Jungle Brothers stuff has waned in popularity over the years precisely because they embraced Hip House so directly, and that stuff just didn’t age as well as straight up late 80s Boom Bap.
The Sound – Every now and then I feel compelled to run some O.G. Chicago house just to remind mofos whence all this shit came. Kevin Saunderson earned his rep as a godfather of techno and house with tracks like this. The Sound came out in 1987 on KMS Records. I never did get a vinyl copy, so I play it from the eternally epic “The History Of The House Sound of Chicago” compilation, that came out on the German label BCM in the late 80s. These were the Rosetta Stones of so much house and techno music on planet earth. Believe that.
Donnie – Play this in NY and somebody in the crowd might just run up and tell you about the night they performed at the Paradise Garage. What are we gonna do when these folks leave us? A friend recently compared the NY club & loft O.G.s to the elves in Middle Earth. Once they go home, there simply won’t be anyone to tell these stories. Makes me very sad. Thankfully the music and the dancing lives on. In the end, it’s all we have. I’m carrying the torch. Maybe you should too.
Sunday Afternoon – This track is forever on my list of top ten deep house cuts. It’s some top down convertible Palisades Parkway at sunrise type shit (and my driver’s license expired ages ago!). It’s Jerome Syndenham from back in the day, before he started Ibadan. But you listen to his stuff now, and you can still trace it back to schmoove shit like this.
Keep Dancin’ – Frankfurt’s Phonk D understands sometimes all you need is a simple loop and a vocal hook and you’re good. I’m not playing this shit for 6 minutes, mind you, but I’ll run it for a second, as a transition into something bigger.
Los Conquistadores Chocolates (Sam Palmer Hurt Me remix) – Another one of these re-edit cats that lifts entire songs and calls them his own. I say a big “Nah fam” to that nonsense, but I do love what he did here – basically leaving the original intact and putting a very 90s vocal over the top. Sounds incredible on a real sound system, but 95% of that magic is due to Johnny Hammond himself, who really did something crazy with this track. My boy Sam Hyde claims it’s the chord progression that makes it so uniquely dope. Whatever it is, it’s one of my all-time favorite classics.
Umi Says (138 EDIT) – I miss Mos Def. His acting is aiight, and his graffiti was always shit, but I really miss his music, for real. I threw the instrumental beats from the next song underneath and looped a couple parts, just to let the track do it’s thing. Let’s listen to more Mos Def this year, shall we?
I Put A Spell On You – I first heard this at Ian Friday’s Libation party. I dig the percussion and I just love how the snare jumps out at you every now and then. Cindy Mizelle is a Jersey singer who has supported legends like Luther, Whitney, Mariah, & the Rolling Stones. She also tours regularly with Bruce Springsteen. She channels a little Dee Dee Bridgewater here IMO, which is a good place to be.
Folded Reality – Sometimes you just need some bagging tech house to squint real hard and break your neck to, ya know? Whitesquare is Maurice Uzzan from Italy by way of Tel Aviv then back to Italy, where he made his name as a DJ. This came out earlier this summer and has been in steady rotation since.
Union Sermon (138 blend) – I took South African brother DJ Clock’s “Union Dance” and threw a classic 90s Gospel-esque acapella from the king of such things, Kenny Bobien. Not rocket science, I know… but when it works it works. I first heard Timmy play it last year, and it was the one track that night that everybody was looking at each other like “yoooooo…. WTF is this?”. Always a good sign.
Harmonic Warfare – Kuo veteran and my long lost homey Doug Gomez has been on a tear this year, having finally escaped the clutches of the Messina to his Loggins, DJ Drilla, who is currently residing in the “where are they now” file. Actually that’s a Spinal Tap joke, and Drilla has his own thriving label, Love Tempo. But this is about Doug. Doug’s been dominating the traxsource afro-latin charts with tracks like this, that do exactly what they need to do. Check out more of his shit HERE.
Pentimento – Tell Aviv’s Yotam Avni always delivers the goods, whether it’s straight up techno or house or something betwixt the two. I think Joe Claussell is coming out with a remix, but it won’t be better than this.
The Drum (Zulu Mafia mix) – I do love a good spoken word. Preach it. Teach it. Tell it like it is. Next time I see Oscar P I’m gonna be that annoying guy that bugs him to play his own records.
Back To My Roots (Krivit EDIT) – I often tell the story of my first trip to the Def Jam offices in 1991, where myself and about 15 other DJs were put in a room too listen to a bunch of their new releases and get some first-hand performances from cats like Downtown Science (whatup Sam Sever!) and LA wackness, Boss. But after they had gone through their Hip Hop & R&B roster, they brought in Richie Havens, who had recently been signed to Def Jam for a one album deal. He sat on a conference table, with his acoustic guitar and his long ass fingernails more suited for a vampire, and just strummed and wailed his ass off and he BLEW THE FUCKING ROOF OFF. Dude destroyed Woodstock, and here I was, 22 years old, and like 10 feet away from him. Amazing.
It’s Not What You Got – Never heard this song? Me neither. And yet it’s dope. NSD: Never Stop Digging.
I Can Understand It – The New Birth grew out of Louisville’s The Nite Lighters, who you will remember as the funky mofos behind 1971’s “K-Jee”. Though this track sounds like its channeling James Brown, it’s actually a cover of Bobby Womack’s 1972 original, which was also covered by The Valentinos the following year. Both those versions are nice, but if you want to wreck a dance floor, the New Birth is the way to go.
Make Me Believe In You – a few years back my former Soul Sunday DJ partner Jules Gayton was kind enough to send me an original vinyl copy of the amazing 1975 proto-disco compilation, “Disco Gold”, which has two Patti Jo songs on it. I was so smitten with the other track, it took me some time to realize just how great this song is too. Curtis Mayfield was her producer & mentor, and you can here his influence all over this.
Funky Fridays – One last instrumental K-Def track, just to bookend the whole mix. Thanks for listening!