Archive for 10/01/2016 - 11/01/2016

Trick Or Beats: Halloween 2016 Playlist

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Image via Buzzfeed
With a wild, non-Halloween related lack of sleep last night, taking part of my day to deal with my son's class and their Halloween shenanigans already has me tired af. For those of you who are more young and spry than I, Halloween might be a night for all kinds of turnt debauchery...which needs a soundtrack. That's where we come in.

In this collection of 13 sounds, we've tried to hit you with a number of ghoulish sounds. From RL Grime's recently-released "Halloween V" mix to a quick noodle of a beat from J57 to a cut from Figure's latest Halloween-themed released, we've got a number of bits that have dropped within the month that are perfect for a number of freakish moods.

Sink all of your fangs into this playlist; let our curation satisfy any hungers you have going on this evening.

French Montana ft. Kodak Black - "Lock Jaw (R3LL Remix)"

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You already know how we do around here; anytime a fly dance remix of a rap song hits the timeline, it's in out bloodstream. There's something about the Jersey club movement and how on-the-pulse it is that has me open. R3ll has seen success outside of this thing of theirs, but it's good to see him reaching back and blessing the people with bangers.

French Montana and Kodak Black crafted one of the most ignorant anthems of 2016 with "Lock Jaw," and it made sense that it got the hyper club rework. R3ll threw everything that you need in a banger of a remix into his take, then gave it to the people for free. Turn up.

EQ Why - "Trash Man"

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While I spent a few years trying to make people see how close the worlds of footwork and jungle were (aka, they literally share the same BPM), it's only in 2016, after DAD's been dead for almost two years, that the conversations about how close these two worlds are. I won't go into the weird convos that have popped up on Facebook and forums about this, but it's dope interesting to see that guys like EQ Why taking the extra step and infusing his love for both genres into one release.

I won't front; I wasn't the biggest fan of Whytoven Vol. 1: Away From Death. Aside from the lead track—the "People Make The World Go Round"-sampling "Trash Man"—it felt like something was missing, to me. With cuts like "Extacy," EQ wore his dnb love on his sleeve, but it felt like a number of tracks I've heard over the last two decades from producers: they can work within the BPM or genre, but they are just missing that added spice or flavor that makes the track something more intriguing. The acid flavor on "Ida B Wells" was lit, but that's more footwork; "Perfect Day" has all of the ingredients, but they don't really connect in a way that makes me excited for more dnb/footwork bits from EQ Why.

If you want some more hypnotic footwork from EQ Why, I'd recommend the Whytoven Vol. 2: Nine Sixteen Eighty-Eight EP that he dropped a few weeks ago. The wicked Kanye sample work on "Sky Is The Limit" is insane, and the lead cut "So Help Me God" is the perfect serene footwork dream. Coast into an enchanced land to that, then grab "Trash Man" for the $free.99.

Break Reflects On '10 Years Of Symmetry'

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It's crazy to think that it's been 10 years since Break started his Symmetry Recordings imprint. As a producer, I was a fan of his instantly; he was cut from that No U-Turn cloth, but had a twinge of A-Sides' Eastside in him. It was like heaven to see him rise up via DNAudio with the likes of Silent Witness and Squire, and while Break's called everywhere from Subtitles to Quarantine home, it was the start of his Symmetry Recordings imprint in 2006 that he really came into his own.

While Break's always been about the harder, more technical side of drum & bass, he's been able to properly spread his wings into dubbier tracks, more soulful liquid-esque stylings, and much more, and to celebrate the 10 years since the label kicked off, he dropped a new compilation, 10 Years of Symmetry, that properly highlights just how broad his sound and the label have really been. Featuring collabs with vocalists like Fats and Kyo as well as Total Science and Spectrasoul, this is a beautiful way to celebrate a decade of drum & bass decadence.

To promote the project, Break's dropped a 30-minute mix featuring cuts from the release as well as classic Symmetry material. Stream it below, and then cop the compilation on vinyl or digital download. And if you're really feeling lucky, check out a mix and chat I had with him for DoAndroidsDance back in 2014.

KOTA The Friend - "Navajo Girl"

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It's been a minute since we peeped new material from KOTA The Friend, so it's dope to get a cut that feels perfect for the awkward warm af Sunday in late October. For KOTA, this one is personal; his "Navajo Girl" is about a woman he met while in New Mexico. It's bright, bass-heavy, and beautiful...sounds like the perfect woman to me.

If you're digging this, rewind back to KOTA's Palm Tree Liquor EP, which dropped over the summer.

The Burner Brothers Make It Hot On Their 'Altered States' Promo Mix

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While many might only know of my stateside drum & bass love due to my dubplate digest (RIP) days, or my time spent with Dogs On Acid, it's a bit deeper that. I've known cats like DJ WAlly (b.k.a. Pish Posh) and DJ Seen since the late '90s, mobbing in AOL chatrooms. While I was younger and not hitting the NYC dnb scene, I'd hear about them doing their thing at Konkrete Jungle and Direct Drive, and was on board when they got the keys to Rawkus' Rawkuts drum & bass sister imprint.

As the years have gone on, Seen and CT have taken The Burner Brothers mantle to new heights, with the last year or so garnering releases on established UK imprints like Formation and Technique (as well as curating their own label, Patrol The Skies). It's about time; it took a bit for non-UK acts to get the stamps of approval, and now we have drum & bass legend L Double ramping up the release of Altered States, a forthcoming compilation featuring nothing but drum & bass souljahs born right in the U.S. of A. Featuring the aforementioned Pish Posh, The Burner Brothers, Space Journey, Liminal & Bengal, and more, this release finds L Double doing what he does best: using Flex as a way to, as he says it, showcase "musical talent from around the world to the world."

To get folks ready for the release, the Brothers stepped up for a massive, 53+ minute promo mix. There's no tracklist, but we imagine a number of cuts from Altered States made it. If you like what you hear, be sure to cop Altered States (which includes an exclusive mix from AK1200) when it drops on November 18.

RL Grime Is Back For His Fifth Halloween Mix

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When it comes to Halloween, there are three constants in my life: It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, Candyman, and for the last five years, RL Grime mixes. With his name being taken from the iconic Goosebumps author RL Stine, it made sense that he'd start knocking out an annual mix every Halloween, many of which feature cameos from Stine as well as some celebs (including Hannibal Buress and, this year, Pharrell).

There's just something perfect about these sets; it's rare that I get to hear new mixes from RL Grime, so these are kind of his time capsules for the year, highlighting bits he loves alongside new music (this mix includes "Waiting," a collab between RL Grime, What So Not, and Skrillex). He just has a dope way of layering sounds together. It's trap-y, it's leftfield, but it's also hip-hop af.

You can download Halloween V via this convenient link, and stream all five mixes down below.

Run The Jewels - "Talk to Me"

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Jewel Runners, welcome back. With RTJ3 on the way soon, they release the first single from the third Run The Jewels project, "Talk To Me." Produced by El-P (with co-producer credits given to Little Shalimar and Wilder Zoby), this one is a serious banger, with some fire scratches from Trackstar the DJ. Mike and El always come correct, and this one is nothing different. One of those cuts you'll need to run back...then run back again. Then pick your melted face from off the ground and run it back once more.

"Talk To Me" is available for free via Adult Swim.

Scott Melker Returns With His Third "Soul House" Mix

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In the mood for a new edition of Scott Melker's "Soul House" mix series? You got it, and if your musical diet was dire need of some '90s hip-hop classics, complete with scratching and doubling up, he's got you covered. Something about the crispy fall air that means more hoodies and more brisk walks with headphones and banging tunes.

If you're in Miami, Scott's throwing down at the 1 Hotel South Beach Rooftop every Thursday. If not, you can stream—and download—this mix right now. Get right.

Frank Ocean - "Solo (Cousin Cole Drum Edit)"

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Earlier this year, Frank Ocean dropped two projects: the visual album Endless and Blonde 24 hours later. While they both had the Internets going ham, I wasn't really tripping. I remember first getting into his music via remixes; his vocals can be dope, but I was never a huge fan of the music around it.

While both albums are ineligible for the 2017 Grammys, I'm cool, because this Cousin Cole edit of Blonde's "Solo" is all I really need. Something about those crispy, Prince-y drums take "Solo" to another place. If the album had drums like this all over, I'd be perfect.

J.Lately Wants You to "Trust The Music"

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Over the summer, J.Lately toured his Good Panda EP, and on "Trust The Music," he links with Panda producer Space Cadet to give heads an update on his life since he got back from what sounds like a dope experience. He didn't become a millionaire, but it sounds like he made more than he spent, and got high for the free.

Word is he's hitting the road with Locksmith this November; keep it locked to his socials for more details on that 13-date trek. For now, just trust the music.

DJ Nu-Mark Celebrates Lirba Season With His Latest Collection of "Zodiac Tracks"

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A couple of months ago, I noticed that DJ Nu-Mark was putting together these "Zodiac Tracks" collections, paying homage to some of the illest in music during their birthdays. Never posted one because I'm a Libra, and purposefully waited for this collection. Turn up as he drops music from 20+ artists in around seven minutes on four turntables. All vinyl.

"Libra is the sign that magnetizes me the most.  Each Libra I encounter has a broad creative palate while being incredibly open and entertaining. I'm honored to share another episode of Zodiac Tracks this month as we say Happy Birthday to George McCrae, Snoop Dogg, Cut Chemist, Marly Marl, DJ Qbert, Kool Keith, Flying Lotus, Black Thought, Mark Farner, Slimkid3, Dizzy Gillespie, Fela Kuti, John Lennon, Talib Kweli, Gloria Jones, Lil Wayne, T.I., Donny Hathaway."

Boogie Continues to Impress With 'Thirst 48: Part II'

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Ever since hearing Boogie's "Oh My," which was taken from his second mixtape, The Reach, I've been a fan, and it made me go back his first Thirst 48 mixtape. Outside of Kendrick, Boogie's my favorite voice out of California right now. For some reason, he's still seen as underrated, but hopefully Thirst 48 Part II, which just hit Spotify and iTunes yesterday, will turn these sleepers around.

There's a human quality about Boogie that I appreciate; we're both fathers who are big on talking shit but also delivering messages, and Boogie isn't afraid to open his heart and let listeners come in. Hell, there are a number of cuts on here dedicated to his up-and-down relationship with his girlfriend Jamesha. Featured artists include the legend DJ Quik and K Camp, with production from Keyel, Swiff D, and more. If you dug previously-released tracks like "Sunroof," this is all you. Stream below.

How DJ ItsJustAhmad Became One of Trenton's Hardest Working DJs

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Image via Jimmy Giambrone

When it comes to the Art and Entertainment scene in the city of Trenton, NJ, there are a few constants: murals from Leon Rainbow, Will Kasso, and the SAGE Coalition. Good drinks (and better company) at watering holes like Trenton Social or the Mill Hill Saloon. Great art exhibits at Artworks. One thing you'll also notice is one person: Ahmad Shakir, a.k.a. DJ ItsJustAhmad, who is probably on the 1s and 2s, giving up the funk while educating the masses. You've probably seen one of his DJ master classes at Art All Night - Trenton, or caught him backing up acts like Old Sol or Agudos Clef, or just providing the sounds at the monthly Jersey Fresh hip-hop shows at the Mill Hill Basement, not to mention spinning at Trenton Social for the last five years. It's just inevitable; if there's music to be played, it's probably the 38-year-old Ahmad with his fingers on the decks and in the mix, or providing an extra batch of sonic oomph to some of the area's finer hip-hop acts. Sure, Trenton's only 7.648 square miles of land—everyone is going to meet each other at some point; but at some point, one has to wonder how Ahmad went from a selector in a pool of DJs to That Dude around #TheTown.

Here's his story, which surprisingly enough involved hating DJing initially.

rockthedub radio 034: Birthday Beatings

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Still in that mode where "if it's (almost) my birthday, you guys get some gifts," although I'm not sure how many of you wanted a new episode of rockthedub radio. Either way, there were some jams that I had to throw into a podcast—like that new Lil Yachty and Gucci Mane—alongside some shit that made me laugh (like that "Norf Norf" rant and a hilarious reaction from D&B Nation). Jidenna's "Long Live the Chief" is in there because Luke Cage, and there are some other bits in here, too.

Stream below, download via iTunes, and check the tracklist down bottom.

Rocky x iLL-Omega - "Man Down"

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Newest latest from the Cap City crew is from Rocky, a Trenton-born/Bronx-based rapper who's also the Cap City co-founder. "Man Down" (which is available for free download) is one for the ready-to-rumble crew out there. Just something about a cut that bigs up preemptive strikes that fits my mentality right now.

Word is Rocky and iLL-Omega have a joint project, King of Kings on the way. If you rock with this, get ready for THAT.

Theo Martins and Thelonious Martin Align For "Bad Tendencies"

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I love seeing cats like Theo Martins still outchea doing their thing; he's someone that we've covered a lot over the years, and it sounds like he's still impressive. His latest is "Bad Tendencies," the first single from Why I Left, a collaborative project he has with the mighty Thelonious Martin. Something about the way these two link up and craft magic.

On the track, Theo breaks down what it's like leaving home and expanding to see bigger things. He wants to make sure of one thing, though: "I love Rhode Island, that can be misread so I’d like to avoid that by comparing it to the West Coast. It’s a relatable scenario for anyone looking to explore outside of their comfort zone." Any of you away-from-home ass college kids know the score. This might be your anthem.

Aesop Rock and Homeboy Sandman Follow-Up 'Lice' With 'Lice Two: Still Buggin''

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In the mood for more lavishly lyrical rap music? Aesop Rock and Homeboy Sandman follow-up their LICE EP with five more gems on Lice 2: Still Buggin'. Something about "Zilch" and the cut "Oatmeal Cookies" has the serious knock/wobble to it. Might need to light something to this and live your life to this.

DJ OOTD Documents the End of Summer With New Mix, 'Last Days Vol. 1'

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My next door neighbors just discovered Drake's "One Dance," and have been blasting it on their shitty stereo system for the last few days. If they want a more island-infused sound, I might need to email them the URL for this new mix from "Walmer Convenience's laureate," DJ OOTD.

When summer was coming to an end, the concept for Last Days Vol. 1 came to OOTD: "Last days of the summer are always melancholy. It is the sensation of pleasure still in grasp but slowly slipping away. It is the beautiful taste on your tongue that will soon fade forever. It is everything being perfect but knowing that it will all come crashing down shortly. It is the lie behind love that will eventually show itself. It is borrowed time."

Think on that as it gets dreary as fuck out there.

Complexion Drops a Gang Starr Mix For 'Luke Cage'

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If you follow what I do at the day job, you've seen me write hella words about Netflix's new Marvel series, Luke Cage. One thing I loved was how showrunner Cheo Hodari Coker made sure to name each of the 13 episodes of the first season after a Gang Starr song. During my convo with Cheo, he spoke on how the titles really weave the tale of Luke's journey, although lyrically there weren't any gems to the story.

While the official Luke Cage playlist is out, I'd not seen anyone put the Gang Starr songs referenced in the episode titles together...until now. Shouts to Complexion for putting this one together swiftly. If you're not up on this legendary duo, get your knowledge on. RIP Guru.

DJ Earl Drops a Ton of Exclusive TEKLIFE Material In New FADER Mix

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With October officially underway, I always feel some type of way. If you're a fan of TEKLIFE, you know why. Anyways, DJ Earl, who recently released his excellent Open Your Eyes LP, dropped a new mix over at The FADER, and as it puts it, it's full of "straight up all exclusive Teklife material and a few guests as well. All mostly new unreleased material." Sure, you get Open Your Eyes cuts and tracks like "Acid Life" from DJ Rashad, but there's a ton of stuff you might not have heard yet. Enjoy.