john legend feat chance the rapper – penthouse floor
jazzy jeff feat j-live – practice
a tribe called quest – we the people
the beatles – why don’t we do it in the road (tonovi bootleg)
the beastie boys – body movin’ (coins daft science remix)
syleena johnson – tonight i’m gonna let go (flipmode remix)
mos def – ms fat booty (138 blend)
baby charles – i bet you look good on the dancefloor
jordan rakei – blame it on the youth
de la soul feat snoop dogg – pain
a tribe called quest – the space program
solange – cranes in the sky (kaytranada EDIT)
roy ayers – love will bring us back together (DJ vas rework)
genesis – I can’t dance (møltov bootleg)
run dmc – live at the funhouse (138 skating rink blend)
amerie VS the rolling stones – just one thing (greg wilson remix)
goldlink feat anderson paak – unique (louis futon remix)
anderson paak feat schoolboy Q – am i wrong
oliver nelson feat. kaleem taylor – ain’t a thing
kaytranada – at all
donald fagen – new frontier (jean claude gavri remix)
chaos in the CBD – observe
the dø – slippery slope (barfood edit)
james brown – escapism (long version)
Hityawitdat – Just a nice Madlib beat to get things moving. This is from the 1999 Lootpack album “Soundpieces: Da Antidote” that I fully admit to sleeping on back then. It’s full of Madlib’s genius for understated dope loops in the vein of Dilla and Premier. Thankfully Stones Throw was nice enough to release the instrumentals for this LP. If I had a car and wanted beats to just nod my head to in traffic, this might be of great use.
Penthouse Floor – Despite how overexposed I feel like John Legend is (too many damn award shows and movie soundtracks), you can’t front on his talent. I struggle to find new R&B joints that deviate from the tired drake/future formula that seems to have drained the creativity from the current billboard charts. Though in truth, the plain fact is I am also just getting old and not connecting with much of it. But I like the groovy underwater baseline of this song, and maybe you will too.
Practice – Legendary DJ Jazzy Jeff has really evolved into a stellar producer IMO. We saw plenty of foreshadowing of this in his Fresh Prince days, no doubt. But sonically, I think he’s really grown leaps and bounds. Here, he takes a familiar Donald Byrd tune (“Think Twice”), and chops it just enough to sound a little fresh. Sometimes that’s all you need. This came out on 2007. J-Live’s heartfelt lyrics usually outweigh his plain jane MCing skills for me. Here he breaks down the really real of being a working MC still in the game. Not an easy road past 40. Respek.
We The People – Let’s all be thankful that, whatever madness 2016 brought us, it did deliver the final Tribe Called Quest album. We are all richer for it. Jarobi finally stepped up and became a real MC, and Tip’s lyrics have probably never been more on point. This joint is the headbanger for sure, so it seemed like a good way to bring up the energy of this mix and get shit moving.
Why Don’t We Do It In The Road (Tonovi bootleg) – Remixing The Beatles is generally a bad idea, but I caught myself smiling the first time I heard the synths kick in on this, so I figured “eh, why not?” Tonovi is the Copenhagen DJ duo of Jan Brandi and Kasper Trondhjem Møltov. Kasper is best known for his bootleg remixes of very random songs that he manages to put some very dank, very fat synth baselines into – like this Zeppelin remix I put on THIS MIX
Body Movin’ (Daft Science Remix) – Toronto newjack DJ Coins aka Peter Chapman went ahead and released a free digital album of Beastie Boys/Daft Punk mashups. This was the best one IMO. Sometimes I just like to hear that Beastie back and forth banter. They were true students of O.G. Hip Hop groups like the Cold Crush Brothers, The Funky Four plus One, and even Run DMC. Even if I never loved their later albums (post-Check Your Head), their love of MCing always shines through in the lyrics.
Tonight I’m Gonna Let Go (flipmode remix) – This Syleena Johnson remix over Busta’s beat got mad love in Brooklyn clubs when it came out in 2002, but I don’t recall it ever really crossing over to mainstream radio. Nevertheless, I always thought she had a nice tone in her voice. She continues to be an actress and musician, her most recent release being 2014’s “Chapter 6: Couples Therapy” – which is a really horrible album title LOL.
Ms Fat Booty – I threw the first verse over the original Busta beat just cuz I saw the record laying around recently, and I have fond memories of it, having worked on the music video with Mos Def and a bunch of friends. I also like the way his chorus ad-libs set up the vocals for the following track.
I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor – a 2008 cover of the excellent Arctic Monkeys original. Baby Charles were a Brighton UK retro funk outfit that had a good run of about a decade before disbanding in 2010. Dionne Charles and band had a really tight, 60s sound, no doubt. If you’re a Sharon Jones fan (RIP), you’ll probably dig these records too. Here’s another song in case you don’t believe me.
Blame It On The Youth – I look for new dope music all the time, often with pretty lackluster results. Then, lo and behold, one day this past summer, I come across the debut album of 20-something Brisbane Australia soulster, Jordan Rakei. He’s a singer and keyboardist with a definite natural feel for smooth jazz and soul, with sort of a Jamie Lydell thing going on. If you dig this, please do check out his entire album HERE
Pain – A standout track from De La Soul’s first album in 12 years, “And The Anonymous Nobody”, which they crowdfunded on kickstarter in 2015. Their original goal was $110K and they ended up raising over $600K. As a fan of P.A. Mase, Posdnus, & Trugoy The Dove from day one, I am happy to see I’m not alone in still believing in these guys. The record is both a return to classic form, as well as taking a few risks here and there. Getting Snoop on the single doesn’t hurt either. If you counted yourself among the Daisy Age back then, go on iTunes and buy this record. Question: whatever happened to that rumor that they were making a record with DJ Premier? Now THAT I would lay some cash down for.
The Space Program – By far my favorite track on the new Tribe Called Quest album. It just sounds RIGHT to me. It sounds like I always want them to sound. Lyrically and musically. Probably helps that the beat really reminds me of Dilla’s “Jam” from the Beats, Rhymes & Life LP. I wish Phife had a full verse on this, but it just wasn’t meant to be. Buy this record.
Cranes In The Sky (Kaytranada EDIT) – I am not as head over heels for this Solange record as many people I know, but I dig this remix. Kaytranada put his signature side-chain compression thing on here, and it gives it just enough of the head-nod-factor that DJ Julian requires to feel it, nah mean?
Love Will Bring Us Back Together (DJ vas rework) – A tasteful retouch of the Roy Ayers classic. Pretty much sounds like what people like myself might do when we’re actually DJing. Drop out the bass here. Turn on some FX there. Just more proof of how timeless this song is. DJ Vas is from Paris and best known for his 90s band Kojak.
I Can’t Dance (Møltov Bootleg) – I’ve always been kinda torn about Genesis. On the one hand, Phil Collins is a badass drummer, and has always done a pretty good job of being a soulful white boy from the UK. But after Peter Gabriel left, they made a lot of fairly generic pop music with bland hooks and lots of predictable sap. Yet at the same time, I freely admit I can still recite the lyrics to just about any of their videos from that 80s era which I scorn, so maybe they weren’t that terrible after all. This is a pretty techy remix of a song from their 1991 “We Can’t Dance” LP, which was the last album with Phil. Aforementioned Møltov on the remix. You can hear the similarities with this and that Beatles remix, I’m sure.
Live At The Funhouse (138 skating rink blend) – This is an update of a Run DMC meets Vaughan Mason blend I made years ago for THIS MIX. I put the original Billy Squier breakbeat on the front end for DJing purposes. This was indeed a soundboard recording, captured at the legendary NYC club The Funhouse in February of 1983. The Funhouse was open from 79-85 and played a crucial role in the early Electro, Hip Hop, and Freestyle scenes of the 80s. Jellybean Benitez made his name there, as well as Danny Krivit, Madonna, Louie Vega, and many others. Some also credit it as the home of the whole torn midriff sweatshirt, headband, gym shorts look so closely associated with the era, as it was the standard wardrobe of the regulars – Italian & Puerto Rican kids who called themselves “Buggas” (cuz they were always buggin’ out).
Just One Thing (greg wilson remix) – I chopped this out of an 11 minute remix Greg Wilson did years ago, and added a few drums of my own to make it work better in clubs. But all credit goes to Greg, who had musicians replay the Stones’ track with such precision that it is indistinguishable from the original. And who doesn’t like this Amerie song? I mean, really.
Unique (Louis Futon remix) – You might say the production on this sounds very Kaytranada-esque, but in truth, Goldlink has been on this future bass shit in a parallel path from jump street. Hopefully both these cats are getting paid and getting the shine they deserve, as they bravely try to wrench black pop music out of the depths of those slow-ass, boring, dirty south trappy high hat rhythms. Philadelphia’s Tyler Minford aka Louis Futon on the remix – who’s name makes me LOL, regardless. You can here more of his shit HERE
Am I Wrong? – Half-Black/half-Korean Oxnard Cali native Anderson Paak, also featured on the previous track, just recently came onto my radar. He’s got some Raphael Saadiq in him, especially on his more retro sounding cuts like Put Me Thru. He also sounds a bit like if Kendrick Lamar could actually sing IMO. This came out in January of 2016 on his “Malibu” LP, and it’s a solid effort. In his 2013 he released an album of left field, soulful covers called “Cover Art”. Check out his version of my favorite Yeah Yeah Yeahs “Maps”.
Ain’t A Thing – Oliver Nelson is a Swedish producer, mostly known for his nu-disco remixes made at the crib in the small town of Uppsala. The brother with the funky back-of-his-throat voice (and a nice falsetto to boot) is Kaleem Taylor – a West London up and comer who’s been putting in work for the last 5 years or so. This collabo has been on some iphone playlist of mine for the last 6 months cuz it’s just so damn peppy. Just try to frown while listening.
New Frontier (Jean Claude Gavri remix) – Only Donald Fagen can write a pop song about seducing a woman into your underground fallout shelter. The first time I met John Lurie at Lucky Strike, I was tempted to ask him if he was indeed the guy on the cover of the Nightfly album, but then I realized I should focus on trying to be cool, cuz you just never know how avant garde jazz icons feel about Steely Dan.
Observe – Now that I’ve gotten the tempo up to a tasty 124bpm, why not throw in a little deep house? Chaos In The CBD are New Zealand brothers Ben and Louis Helliker-Hales who moved to London in 2012 and have been pushing forward ever since. This has a nice simple Jazzy loop that is pretty hard to hate on, assuming you have no beef with repetitive Jazzy loops
Slippery Slope (barfood edit) – The Dø are a Franco-Finnish duo made up of multi-instrumentalist Dan Levy and vocalist Olivia Merilahti. They kind of have a Fitz & The Tantrums meets The Kills quality… or something.. can’t put my finger on it, but I dig them. This is a DJ’s edit of a song of their that came out about 5 years back.
Escapism – I’ve always wanted to put this James Brown track on a mix, but where to place a 19 minute song? I think the end will do nicely. This was recorded in 1971, as the first release on JB’s own People Records imprint. As you might have guessed, he released a much shorter version for radio, reaching #6 on the R&B charts. Still, it’s a pretty bold first release for a label, as it has very little structure by pop music standards.
J.B. was working with a relatively new band at the time, because Bootsy and his brother had quit two weeks earlier to join Parliament. In JB’s banter with the band, when he gets to the sax player, he even admits he forgot his name. The lineup on this was as follows:
Fred Thomas – Bass
John ‘Jabo’ Starks – Drums
Hearlon ‘Cheese’ Martin – Electric Guitar
Fred Wesley – Trombone
St. Clair Pinckney – Tenor Saxophone
Jimmy Parker – Alto Saxophone
Jerome ‘Jasaan’ Sanford – Trumpet
It’s James doing what he does best – a long, freeform jam session – where he just holds court – walking around the room, messing with his band, playing an organ solo here and there, and occasionally calling out to Bobby Byrd (who is probably in the mix room). I’ve read somewhere that they played so long just to kill time, because Bobby was waiting on members of his band to show up for the next session.
The entire rant is really a loose sermon about keeping it real. This is crystalized in his line:
“when you forget that grits is groceries and eggs is poultry, you lose your thing.”
As a means of pointing out just how down south he and the band really are, he gets everyone to rattle off their hometowns. When they get to Georgia, he makes a point of name dropping some back country roads, just to let the band know that he knows his shit.
There’s also a lot of references to alcohol and angel dust, mostly about not having any LOL. Yet, at the end he leaves us with:
“I see a whole lot of cars coming down with a lot of lights running around. Now, I don’t know what y’all gonna do. You can end it or do what you want to. But man, like, I’m gone!”
Maybe he did have some dust on him after all.