Trackstar the DJ's Solid Steel Mix Features His "Rare Appetite In Rap"

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Those of you who've been rocking with us for the longest should be up on Trackstar the DJ. He's gone from an internets phenom to being named the official tour DJ for Run the Jewels, including being the DJ behind the WRTJ shows on Apple Music.

This week, he contributed one awesome hour-long mix for Solid Steel, and it's amazing. No, seriously, it's the truth, but let him tell it, he had a totally different idea for the mix.

"Originally I had other plans for a more conceptual mix," he starts, "but as I was telling The Gaslamp Killer about my ideas on our tour date in Belgium, he told me not to bother with any of them and instead do a mix displaying what he called "My Rare Appetite In Rap". I trust The Gaslamp Killer (as you should, too), so I immediately switched gears and started putting together a playlist of songs from the last half-decade or so that I love that many rap fans may have missed. It features some names you'll recognize as well as some that you may not… Hopefully you enjoy these tunes as much as I do, and maybe pick up a new favorite artist or two."

Featured artists include Killer Mike, Rockwell Knuckles, A$AP Twelvyy, Tef Poe, Vince Staples, and more. Stream and download the full mix, and check out the full tracklist down below.


Commix On Dubplate Culture and Drum & Bass' Unpredictability

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I've been a fan of the drum & bass scene for over two decades now, and no matter what new producers come along, I will always have a group of names who's released are "buy on sight" to me. You know, the producers who's tunes you always have to check for, and nine times out of 10 end up loving. Commix has been one of those names, for me, since the early 2000s.

While I don't remember the first tune I'd heard from Commix, I do remember being blown away by the then-Cambridge-based trio's "Satellite Song," as well as cuts like "Together" and "Talk to Frank." Their sound design was second-to-none (IMHO), but it was the energy that resided in their tunes that really captivated me. I was hooked, and not surprised when they became the first group to have an artist album on Goldie's legendary Metalheadz imprint, releasing their impeccable Call to Mind in 2007.

After some changes in both the group's dynamic and the different phases within the dnb scene, Commix is now just one man: George Levings. Since his return in 2016 with two Generation EPs, he's been working on the follow-up to Call to Mind, which is set to drop on Metalheadz as well. Before we get that, Dispatch Recordings snagged three Commix dubs (four if you count the digital-only exclusive "White Trash") for the sixth release in their Dispatch Dubplate series, which is out now.

We got a chance to speak with George about the tunes featured on this release, his thoughts on dubplate culture within the drum & bass scene, as well as how his sound evolved from what people loved in the early 2000s to now. He also gives us some thoughts on the direction he's heading with his next LP. Check out the full interview down below.

Here's How Maffew Ragazino Celebrated Cinco de Mayo

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While I don't really get into insane Cinco de Mayo celebrations, I normally do have a few things to drink on a Friday night. Somehow, my alcoholic intake was down to zero on a Friday that doubled as the 5th of May, but if I was sipping on some adult beverages, I would've had Maffew Ragazino's Cinco de Maffew on. It's pretty damn dope; the ground hasn't been broken 'round here, but both Maff and his boy Easalio coast over these bottom-heavy bangers. Stream the full project below.

JR & PH7 x St. Joe Lous ft. Roc Marciano - "Driven"

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Image via Below System Records
I love how these things come together. Being a fan of the production of Germany's JR & PH7 and the rhymes of cats like Jersey trio St. Joe Louis years ago is feeling like a wise musical investment now that they are returning for projects like Coral Cadavers (which St. Joe Louis member Michael Cardigan calls a "neo-noir psychological thriller about a woman’s descent into moral ambiguities against the backdrop of Los Angeles") and getting everyone from Rah Digga to Roc Marciano on their joints.

For "Driven," we get to see this woman doing some of the illest shit to herself for the loot. The production is a hazy, jazzy daydream, with Marci adding an edgy vibe to the proceedings. You can cop "Driven" today, and look out for Coral Cadavers, which is said to be dropping sometime this Spring.

Hannibal Buress and Killer Mike Spent 4/20 Recording A Podcast

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What did you do on 4/20? If you're a pot-loving pot smoker, you probably smoked pot with other like-minded pot smokers. If you're Hannibal Buress, and have your own podcast, you do the same thing alongside Killer Mike, MC supreme and 1/2 of Run The Jewels.

In their almost two-hour sit down chat, the fellas talk everything from why he and Big Boi played foxes on HBO's Animals ("I sent a note back saying, ‘Dear White Friends of Mine, never ask your fucking black friends to play a raccoon in any fourth grade play or television production’") to flight attendant fuckery. If you're high right now, you might want to just press play, laugh a lot, and, I dunno, get more high.

Ray Strife and iLL-Omega Are Doing Their Best to Do More Than Just Live

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Image via Ray Strife

That headline is a part of the first verse that Ray Strife spits on "America," the opening cut from his five-track EP with iLL-Omega, Preface: I Will Never Be Beautiful. Along with "Never Cease," Preface is part of their prep for Go For The Gusto, which is due to drop this summer.

Gotta say, with the way I can be so in my own head sometimes, it's dope to hear someone like Strife express his own inner turmoil over these bass-heavy beats. And I will also put this out there: Ray and Omega are a pretty impressive rapper/producer combo. You might need to down a six-pack before listening, then drink another while listening. By the start of your third six-pack, this could end up being the soundtrack to the rest of your day.

Stream Preface: I Will Never Be Beautiful below, and cop the full release via Bandcamp. For more information on this release, check out The Wiztard.

Kemba Gets Dark On "Greed"

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Image via John Tashiro

You have to love how the visual elements from Kemba's Negus match the songs perfectly. He could've easily made his clips feature 5011 niggas sitting with him on a couch getting blunted on some Kids shit, but he found a way to match the dark, lonely vibe that a track like "Greed" has with this video. The clip finds Kemba alone, in a dark ass room, pouring his heart out into his mouth, spitting his innermost thoughts (and fears) to Frank Drake's hypnotizing drone of a track.

It's lovely.

Kemba's wrapping up the No Ceilings Tour in California, with a show tonight (April 29) in Santa Ana before the final stop, May 2nd's gig at The Roxy in Los Angeles. Be there.

5 Releases You Need to Buy On Record Store Day 2017

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Saturday, April 22, 2017 marks the 10th annual Record Store Day, which is celebrated by hitting your local independent record store and actually buying music. It's a novel idea, but if we want these mom & pop spots to stay in business, we need to frequent their businesses, you smell me?

As I did with the Black Friday Record Store Day 2016 releases, we wanted to help you diggers out there with a quick look at some of the hip-hop-related releases out there. We have everything from a classic song being turned into a children's book to an iconic soundtrack getting a vinyl release. Check out our picks below, and for the full list, hit up the Record Store Day website.

JR & PH7 x St. Joe Louis ft. Rah Digga - "Duck Duck Goose"

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It's been a smooth five years since JR and PH7 dropped their My Favourite Demons EP with Jersey rhyme sayers St. Joe Louis and Brokn.Englsh, so it's dope to see JR, PH7, and the trio of SJL linking up for a new one, especially since the mighty Rah Digga drops a dynamic feature.

This appears to be taken from the forthcoming Coral Cadavers album; you can cop the single via Bandcamp, and stream the single while watching the video down below.


DJ Cable Turned 'More Life' Into a Proper Mixtape

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Off the rip, Drake made sure that people knew his new release More Life wasn't called an "album." Most people thought that meant it was a mixtape, while he was calling it a "playlist." It has a mixtape feel, but isn't mixed, so our UK bredren DJ Cable decided to actually mix it, turning More Life into More Mixed. Smart.

And truth be told, this is what we need until OG Ron C and The Chopstars release More Chops, their chopped not slopped take on More Life. Until then, you can stream Cable's More Mixed down below, and snag a download of it while you're at it.