Archive for 01/01/2016 - 02/01/2016
Back like cooked crack with another 12-tracker. We're pretty light on actual rap, but that's fine; when we're getting cuts from BeazyTymes, Baauer, DJ Sliink and Nadus, Novelist, and the tandem of Taso, DJ Rashad, and DJ Spinn, we're good. Dope trek through where I'm at electronically, with some newness form Ding and KOTA The Friend. Light it up!
J Rocc has been a champion of J Dilla's music for years; from being the third member of Jaylib to dropping a series of four dope "Thank You, Jay Dee" mixes for Stones Throw, he's been a proper ambassador for Dilla's legacy. His latest mix is for Discogs, and features another 27-minute trek through the Dilla archives. Part-Dillatronic tribute, part promo for the upcoming J Dilla Weekend, this is a perfect mix to kick off your weeekend.
KOTA might be one of my favorite new artists. Word is that he'll be dropping a new tune every week until he drops his project in June. Sheesh. This week's cut is "Sand Castles," which is all kinds of introspective on the sparse, hypnotic cut. He links with a few BKLYN artists (Danny Delavie and Radamiz) for this one. Turn down for this.
Someone must've heard last week's playlist, AMIRITE?! Get it? Beats so hot it sets your box on fire? Oh, what's the use?
Anyway, we're back with another 12-track playlist of gems...a LOT of hip-hop this week, featuring everything from Kanye's "No More Parties In L.A.," some recent material from K-otix, AND an instrumental from Ding alongside cuts from JDaFlex, Noah B, Holly x KVN, DJ Taye, and more.
If you're snowed in (it me), this could be the perfect playlist to get right to.
After debuting Known Unknowns last week, I wasn't really planning on bringing the second edition to you this fast. Kind of like doing this, though, and look, there's always some kind of educational insanity going down in the firstname.lastname@example.org inbox. Here's what we've been working with since I finished the first edition...
While I've never stopped fucking with dubstep, if I really think about it, 2012 might've been the peak of my appreciation for the sound. Part of that was due to the generic dubstep insanity that permeated the EDM scene, but there'd always been gems bubbling out there that reflected my true interests. It's dope to see N-Type had a mix that highlights where the genre was four years ago.
Word is that N-Type was commissioned to do a mix for the I Love Dubstep compilation, but it was never released. "It was previously unreleased snapshot of the most popular dubstep tracks in an around 2012. Not all the tracks on this mix are to my personal preference but I thought it needed to see the light of day."
Featured artists in this set include Emalkay, Chase & Status, J:Kenzo, Coki, Skream, Benga, Joker, and many, many more.
Che Grand says that the Junie Morrison sample in Kanye West's "No More Parties In L.A." is one of his favorites, so a ZFTP rework was a must. Che's G is so futuristic, he's in 2066 (and being that far ahead is a bitch). Coast to this.
Ahead of their upcoming project The Time Ahead, Blakface and Sean Wyze slice through this molasses-thick track from Rokem. That hook reminds me of the Boot Camp Clik, in a good way. Feels perfect for the heavyweight blizzard weather that the East Coast is getting right now.
If you know me, you know I'm a huge fan of Digital's dubwise dnb sound. It's the perfect mix of earth-shattering breakbeats, ground-shaking subs, and perfect accents. The kind of shit that gets me going. He's been revitalized, and it looks like 2016 might see a proper return to form for Digital in terms of more consistent releases.
Digital's announced that he's going to start releasing his back catalog via Bandcamp—starting out with his magnificent Dubzilla album next week—and he linked up with In-Reach to put together this two-hour plus mix of tunes from the last 15 years. There are a number of gems in here, including some previously-unreleased versions of cuts like "Quickdraw" and "Bitter Wind," alongside some forthcoming tunes with Spirit and a host of straight up unreleased dubs.
If you're a fan of Digital's, you NEED this.
With so much of the EDM scene being about turning up, it's dope to get a mix from a duo like Zed's Dead, who recently kicked off their Catching Z's series for tracks that are go-tos when they are "enjoying a little downtime." Proper mood music, which is something I need. It's pretty ecectic, too; we're talking Bonobo, Mr. Carmack, Pete Rock, The Fugees, Jeremih, and much, much more.
Perfect wine-sipping music.
Now I won't downplay the rest of this lethal edition of Sway in the Morning's "Five Fingers of Death," but shouts to DJ Wonder for drawing DJ Cable's "Justified" for the legend Dizzee Rascal when he asked for a "UK beat." Peep for it around the six minute mark.
If you're like me, long weekends are made for dope mixes. Mr. Carmack hit Triple J earlier this month, bringing with him a grip of exclusives and unreleased cuts (including a collab with RL Grime and Salva), and the set finally hit the SoundCloud.
Lounging TF out to this one.
While I absolutely HATE missing out on tunes, I have to thank dope DJs for bringing me up to speed.
Apparently, Alix Perez decided to give away his bootleg of one of my favorite dnb tunes of all time, Future Cut's "Whiplash," over the holidays. This has been doing the rounds for a bit (I want to say many first heard this in Om Unit's FACT mix, making me wonder if Alix took the lead from Om Unit's rework of anothe rdnb classic, Nasty Habits' "Shadow Boxing," when it came to this refix), and it looks like it's finally here (although the SoundCloud download is gone, some kind soul has re-uppped the .WAV to Dropbox). Hearing it in Rockwell's smashing new Essential Mix made me hunt for it, and my mind was blown.
There's something about those depressing piano notes being thrown over that bouncy, halftime rhythm. I'm done. It's this, the new Kanye, and select cuts from Future's Purple Reign for me today. Keep an eye out for more Alix Perez in 2016, trust we.
See that guy up there? That's me, the MP3-loving blogger who ends up getting way more emails than he knows what to do with. While I don't have the time to review and post everything that comes my way, I hate being sent emails without doing anything with the material someone took the time to send.
So, we have a new series we're kicking off in 2016, Known Unknowns, a look into my mindstate when I open up promo emails from artists I genuinely don't know anything about.
While I'm not sure what the frequency of this series will be, I plan on doing a few things with it:
- Actually listening to way more new music while
- Giving artists some insight on what a blogger thinks when they open up your email and
- Not holding back with my praise (or disdain) for your track/approach
It's not going to be pretty, but hell, hopefully someone can learn something about the art of sending people your art. There are right ways and wrong ways, and hopefully we can trim the fat and get the right tunes to the right individuals.
This week, we have seven songs for folks to dig into, with my open and honest views on the actual music and how it was sent to me. Welcome to these Known Unknowns.
When Kanye West first started teasing the promo push to SWISH, we got a track entitled "Real Friends" that featured a snippet of this Madlib-produced, Kendrick Lamar-featured track "No More Parties In L.A."...aka everyone got hype as fuck about the snippet.
The full version dropped on Martin Luther King Day (for good or ill), and finds 'Ye making sure he snaps just as hard as Kendrick did over this dusty gem. Play this six-plus minute jam the fuck out. You're welcome.
[Pigeons & Planes]
Shouts to JSWISS for continuing to keep it crispy in 2016. Dude's not wasting time on beats, and on his latest freestyle, he gets kind of deep and introspective over Slum Village's "Look of Love."
Find out the quality traits that he possesses that make him a true triple threat.
"GPS" premiered on Beats 1 recently, and there's something about it. I don't normally get too wrapped up in instrumentals like this, but Saba (and crew) totally own it. Keep an eye out.
Are you unfamiliar with the sound of Jersey Club? We imagine many of you are; the UK duo known as the Dixon Brothers recently took a 30-minute trek through the sound, with material from DJ Sliink, DJ Fade & DJ Jayhood, Vices, and more.
This was also a mix that was done to celebrate Adrian Dixon's birthday; happy belated!
For this week's playlist, we have tributes to David Bowie (RIP) from Terry Urban and Numonics book-ending new material from Benga, Lunice, Star Slinger, UNIIQU3, Darq E Freaker, and that throwback version of Nas' "Last Real Nigga Alive."
Jam out, and if you see a download link, grab that shit and enjoy.
In the mood for a new take on a throwback from Nas' 2002 album God's Son? Thank DJ Absolut for unearthing this lost gem.
Like all good DJs should, DJ Wonder stepped up to the wheels of steel this morning on Shade45 and threw down this impressive tribute mix to the late, great David Bowie. What he did was throw in a number of Bowie's classics alongside rap bangers that sampled and flipped a number of his tunes. You can stream below, and download today. Pay homage.
If you can relate, react. Hit play then soak up his thoughts over on Mass Appeal.
Back at it on the playlist tip. Surprisingly, I thought I'd be digging more hip-hop this week, as the 2016 hip-hop landscape is kind of promising. I did include new material from Kanye West (which features a Madlib-produced, Kendrick Lamar-featured snippet at the end) and the D.I.T.C., as well as new releases from Domo Genesis and araabMUZIK, but a number of cuts in here are more electronic, from a new Paradox drumfunk-y number to free downloads from RVLVR and Mr. Mitch. We also end with a 48-minute piece of hilarity because quirks'r'us.
Stream the full playlist below, and download when you're advised to.
While Nico's one of the fiercest MCs, and could more than likely do anything in the rap game that he wanted to, there's something about his darker, more introspective tracks that hit me the hardest. Case in point, this Payday Jones-produced cut breaks down what it might be like to be on your last breath before exiting this place, and from the production to Nico's intricate rhymes, it feels like the life that flashes before your eyes set to a somber, reflective, eerie beat. One to truly ponder over.
Be on the lookout for the EP that this track is taken from, too.
Can't let 2015 go? Neither can I. While I complain about (or just outright avoid) a lot of the fuck shit that happens year-to-year, I really dug a lot of what happened musically in 2015. One of my favorite DJs, DJ Cable, has his ear to the clubs, streets, and Internets, and this year did a magnificent job of remembering the year that was with 2015 A.D., which features over 100 of the finest hip-hop tracks from 2015, making for a ferocious four-hour trek. Just hit play and live your life to this.
Word is D.I.T.C. has a compilation on the way... so need that!
Feels like it's been forever since we got a proper Freeway project, and while this 11-track mixtape Fear of a Free Planet might not be what you expected, it's dope, especially when he's hopping on tracks from Jake One, Don Cannon, and J Dilla. Yes, that happened.
Flume's one of those artists that sticks out for me. I remember being VERY into his album when I first got to working at Complex in the fall of 2012; it got sent to me randomly, and then like six months later he was the producer on everyone's lips. Since then, he's become a producer that a lot of the new wave of SoundCloud soundboys crafted their style after, and he's back to retrieve his crown via his forthcoming album, Skin.
He's not given much info on the project, aside from the fact that it's "almost finished," and he has a new live show that he'll debut in the near future. For now, soak into this four-and-a-half-minute preview, which you can download for free. It sounds like a contender for most serene, beat-infested romp of 2016.
Not sure if you've ever been in a studio with a bunch of talented cats making magic, but this acoustic recording of R.O.E.'s "The Gloves" find the rapper alongside Michael Maffei getting heartfelt over some invigorating guitar strumming. If you're in the mood to quit before you're ahead, let this be your mantra.
You can grab the MP3 of this one as well. And if you're trying to catch R.O.E. do his thing live, he's got a show at Sofar Sounds on January 13.
Not too long before Christmas, the world lost another hip-hop legend, as DJ Timbuck2 passed away at the age of 34 after a long battle with cancer. A number of hip-hop luminaries in Chitown spread love for such a talented individual, and the homey J. Slikk dropped a somber cut to pay homage.
As Slikk said, "Thank you for believing in me enough at an early age to give my sounds their first major airplay." He went on to mention that this opus "isn't perfect... But it's this is the least I can do. In addition, this is for anyone who has lost. If I can help heal, I'm glad to..."
Rest in power, Timbuck2.
The mighty 9th Wonder steps up for Mass Appeal's fire "Rhythm Roulette" series. This video is over 11 minutes, which is perfect for allowing us to watch him work. And if you're feeling this, check out 9th's new project with Murs, Brighter Daze.
This first playlist for 2016 is a great example. Under an hour in playing time, featuring 12 tracks that range from one day to 60 days old of varying genre. Just the shit that I got hype to this week. And luckily for you, a lot of these are available for $free.99. Expect more.
Damn, new year, new Che. He's always been on that futuristic side of things, so it's dope to hear him rocking over this fresh and bouncy track from dabow. It's one of those cuts where you're intrigued enough to turn up but there's something being fed to your mental. Edutainment, like KRS used to say.
Hopefully this means some new project from Che Grizzy. Please?!
Maybe some of your resolutions match what J and Thom Seveer are talking about.
Are you walking around in a haze because NYE turn up, trying to get a bit more lit because it's a New Year? A project like OG Maco's The Lord of Rage is probably the right medicine. It's slim on features, and the majority of the tracks are produced by PHRESH PRODUCE.
I'd recommend not being in a spot where a lot of breakable shit is in the vicinity. Just saying. Download available via thelordofrage.com.
Every week, Solid Steel intrigues me with their DJ selection. This week is no different, as Cheeba and Moneyshot link up for an hour of bangers dedicated to the Golden Era of Hip-Hop. What's even iller is that they made sure to blend up acapellas and instrumentals from different cuts.
Word is this mirrors their "Return To The Boom Bap" tour, which found the DJ duo repping on four A/V decks, mixing up vintage rap videos. Pretty impressive.