tall black guy feat yusef rumperfield – come fly with me
sir michael rocks – one time
jhené aiko feat rae sremmurd – sativa
yussef kamaal – remembrance
jay z – The prelude (beat)
jidenna – decibels
zed bias feat eve lazarus – restless
prince – pink cashmere
dave allison – cocktail blue
organized confusion – black sunday
black moon – reality
rapsody feat moonchild, anderson paak & black thought) – nobody
gwen bunn – yours
lootpack – episodes III (beat)
eric b & rakim – my melody
cyhi the prynce feat ernestine johnson – nu africa



I originally made this as one, 2-hour long mix, then split it up into two sides, like the 120 min cassettes of yesteryear. I have a sneaking suspicion some folks never hear the end of my mixes, since not everyone has over an hour of uninterrupted time to listen to music, so I figured maybe 1-hour chunks might make it more digestible. You tell me. This mix starts out with downtempo Hip Hop & R&B, then steadily ramps up to faster stuff – including funk, Afrobeat, and a few disco classics towards the end.

Come Fly With Me – A groovy, slightly trappy beat from Tall Black Guy’s last album. It seemed like a nice mood-setter, and gave me an instrumental backdrop for some intro samples from SAMO, Run DMC, and the silky smooth voice of Frankie Crocker, from a classic scene in Oscar Williams’ 1973 flick “Five on the Back Hand Side” – a movie made specifically to counteract the negative stereotypes of the Blaxploitation genre of the era. Frankie, in his roll as numbers runner Rolls Royce, works his way around a barber shop, taking that day’s bets, and expounding on his philosophy of “grooving with the fruitful grape.” Not sure if I even follow WTF he means, but it sounds like some gangsta-ass shit to put on a mixtape, so here we are.

One Time – A very Outkast-y type vibe on this schmoove track from Chicago MC Sir Michael Rocks, who started putting out mix tapes in 2007 or so with his first group, The Cool Kids. This came out on his 2014 solo album, “Banco”, which I slept on at the time. Yeah, these lyrics are a pretty typical, pussy game narrative, but anyone who namedrops Jodorwosky’s “Holy Mountain” is cool with me.

Sativa – if you buy my suggestion that Sir Michael Rocks is making a play to sound like early Outkast, you might also consider that Jhené Aiko is doing a damn good riff on some latter-day Aaliyah. Listeners of my mixes know I tend to steer clear of a lot of the lazy, trappy Hip Hop and R&B that saturates today’s airwaves, but there’s something slightly different at work here. There’s an updated quiet storm vibe going on that really appeals to the weed smoker in me (or at least the weed smoker I once was LOL… ). Cali-native Jhené Aiko started singing backup in the early 2000s and, like many singers before her, got the record label run-around for years before finally getting a solid deal. She released her debut album in 2014. This is from her “Trip” LP that came out in September. If I had a car, and some real fat-ass subs, I would drive down Dekalb Ave on Sunday, seat leaned way back, windows down, shaking the mimosa glasses of the hipster brunch set that ruined my beloved Fort Greene. Then I’d play M.O.P.

Remembrance – While we’re in this very downtempo zone, it seemed like the perfect time to drop some Roy Ayers-esque Jazz from Yussef Kamaal – the South London duo made up of Yussef Dayes and Kamaal Williams. Walk around the city with this in your headphones and tell me you don’t feel like the coolest muh fucka on the block! I’ve said it before, but seriously, this whole album is dope.

The Prelude - Just a beat by B-Money, aka Brian Hughes, that opened up Jigga’s just-OK 2006 “Kingdom Come” LP. I never much liked Hov’s verse on this, but I love the beat.

Decibels – The dude behind the very good but terribly over-played “Classic Man” came back with an EP in 2017 and this track stuck with me. Jidenna Theodore Mobisson grew up in both Nigeria and Massachusetts, and graduated from Stanford with a BFA in Ritualistic Arts. Not sure what that is, either, but it sounds dope, like this song. Plus, he was signed by Janelle Monae, so you know he’s cool peoples.

Restless – UK garage producer Zed Bias spreads his tunes across the spectrum of UK Garage, Broken Beat and Bass. He’s pretty hit or miss for me, but this song, from his “Different Response” LP, really caught my ear. Eva Lazarus is a well-respected Midlands vocalist who fronts the band Dub Mafia and does lots of collabos with crews like Mungo’s HiFi and The Afronauts. With a Drake remix, I think this song could really hit on US radio, but then we’d have to hear Drake’s torturous oh-woe-is-me boo-fucking-hoo lyrics talkin’ ‘bout ‘nobody feels my pain of being so rich and famous’. Though I caught myself nodding my head to “passionfruit” more than once, I still find him very hard to like as a human being, nahmean?.

Pink Cashmere – This is one of those Prince songs I never really got into until recently. It was recorded in 1988, during sessions for the Batman Soundtrack (LOL). It didn’t really get a proper release until 1993, and also appeared on his Singles collection as well as the Girl 6 soundtrack. Prince wrote it for the 18th birthday of his girlfriend Anna Fantastic, who he was probably dating as far back as her 16th birthday. If he was still alive, he’d probably be crucified for this, but fuck that. I give a genius like Prince a pass on just about everything. Plus, truth be told, just about every interesting girl I knew at 16 was dating an older man, often with a motorcycle. So maybe that’s just the natural order of shit. If you listen closely, you may notice I buried the beat from EPMD’s “You’re a Customer” underneath this, just to give it a bit more oomph.

Cocktail Blue – This song is a throwback Acid Jazz tune of sorts. Back in the early 90s/Giant Step days, there were endless producers like Dave Allison putting out these kind of Jazzy Hip Hop instrumentals. Most DJs I know owned a stack of these on vinyl, and we played it early in the night at places like Lucky Strike and Match and Bell Cafe. This came out in 2014.

Black Sunday – Speaking of way back when, this is from Organized Confusion’s second LP “Stress: The Extinction Agenda” in 1994. Those unfamiliar with O.C. may still recognize MC Pharoahe Monch, of “Simon Says” (Get the fuck up!) fame. You also probably recognize the groove from Eugene McDaniels’ “Jagger The Dagger” (1971) – looped by Tribe Called Quest, The Gravediggaz, and many others.

Reality – It’s hard to overstate just how HUGE the first Black Moon record was in NYC in 1993 and beyond. Between them, Smif-n-Wessun, Heltah Skeltah and OGC, this moody, laid back, 87 bpm-ish, Flatbush/Brownsville-sound really kinda ran shit for a minute – at least in the good, grimey-ass clubs I called home (Biggie notwithstanding). Collectively, they painted a very bleak picture of the mean streets of the Eastern edges of the borough – still a good 20 years away from gentrification at the time. But it was also perfect, stripped down, head-nodding club music for weed heads. And we liked it that way.

Nobody – North Carolina native Rapsody teamed up with 3 artists I love – Moonchild, Anderson Paak, and Black Thought – and the result is pretty damn solid. Dope lyrics. Dope melodies. Dope harmonies. Rapsody made her debut on a 9th Wonder mixtape in 2007 and has since released two albums. This cut was on her most recent, “Laila’s Dream“, which came out in September. Her flow reminds me a lot of Mos Def, and her lyrics consistently inspire an approving “hmmmm” from me. And god knows today’s rappers aim for the lazy, tacit approval of 40-something year old bedroom DJs, right?

Yours – Georgia-grown producer and songstress Gwen Bunn came up in the Ebenzer Baptist Church choir, the very same church where MLK preached from the pulpit, before he was selling Dodge Ram pickup trucks (Y’all see that shit?!?!). She got a full scholarship to Berkeley College of Music in Boston and has been on her grind ever since. This is from her 2017 debut LP “Safe Travels”. This track was produced by Trumpeter and LA Astral Jazz cool cat, Josef Leimberg. It has a real dream-pop meets Dilla thing going on for me, and hopefully you too. Peep the whole album HERE

Episodes III – Just a little boombap interlude to get us back on track. A Madlib beat from the 2005 Lootpack LP, “Soundpieces: Da Antidote” on Stones Throw Records.

My Melody – For my money, this Eric B & Rakim song is one of the greatest Hip Hop records ever made. No coincidence that it’s the B-side to THE greatest Hip Hop 12” ever made, “Eric B Is President.” Disagree? Fight me IRL, bro. It’s RAW, like The Stooges type of raw. The mic is distorted. The drums are hella distorted. Shit, the whole mix is distorted. But who cares? Shan & Marley Marl murdered this. And when this shit came on in the club? Maaaaaaan listen… Also easy to forget that the synth bassline is a rather poor reproduction of Kenni Burke’s “Keep Rising’ To The Top”, but again, who cares? It’s perfect.

Nu Africa – While I’m on some “best ever” type shit, this track gets my vote for best Hip Hop song of 2017. Love the energy. Love the beat. Love the spoken word. Love the break down and then the reprise. Love the lyrics. Clever af. Doesn’t take itself seriously. Great wordplay on a level of Ludacris or even Big Daddy Kane. You need to buy this shit just so you can rewind it four times. Though deep with mixtapes since signing with Kanye in 2009, this is from Cyhi the Prynce’s critically acclaimed 2017 debut LP, “No Dope On Sundays.” Give it a listen and you’ll find there’s still a tiny bit of room for lyricism with a slight Afrocentric slant in 21st Century Hip Hop. You simply need to lace it just right. And if you forgot Kanye can actually spit (when he’s not being an insufferable douche), peep THIS

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