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rockthedub radio: January 2018 Edition

It's been a minute, but we're back with the first episode of rockthedub radio of 2018. What's crazy is there's a couple of demo mixes sitting somewhere that are on some wild shit, but after figuring out what made the most sense right now, we're trying something out now: one hour shows, roughly 30 minutes of hip-hop along with another set of dance music, all strictly from the month that was. New material from Detboi, Jean Grae & Quelle Chris, EQ Why, R3LL and many more.

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

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EQ Why's Footworkin' On 'East 37th Street'

I don't know what it is about the footwork scene, especially the heads from Chitown; they are dumb prolific. You'dn eed a dedicated calendar just to keep up with the volume of material they come out with in a year. EQ Why is one of the most prolific; I feel like he dropped eight releases in 2017 alone. The best part? They're obviously high quality, but he's also continuing to push the envelope in new, exciting ways.

His first release of 2018, East 37th Street, finds EQ moving on that same path, with some exciting exercises in the realms of footwork and juke. The EP kicks off with the "We At The Bud Bully" remix of "Drop Lil Booty," which is a thunderous juke workout, but he takes a sharp left turn with "EQ Is Gonna Give It," which is a heavy footwork banger drenched in classic soul samples. On "My Baby (I Love You," EQ goes all acidic with the thumping synths. One of my personal favorites, "Everyday Last Week (My Jimmy Waxed)," is where EQ shines. He always has a cut with a perfect sample from the '90s; on this one, fans of New Jack City should know where these sounds come from. We legit get the entire story of G Money and Nino Brown's rise (and fall) on this one, set to a hypnotic footwork rhythm. The true gem from this release.

The closer for this eight-track release (which is out now on Zona Music) is an 8-bit masterpiece entitled "Spikes." It can be spastic at times, with alternating sprite'd up melodies accented by percussive hits, but it again highlights EQ at his finest. You get the feeling that homey is so nice with the production that he gets an idea and a few hours later, he has a footwork experiment at the ready. And it sho' is funky. Let this EP soak into your regular rotation, and don't be surprised if EQ Why already has another release at the ready in a month or so.

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Get Jazzy: Ornette Hawkins' Journey to 'The Other Side of What'

2017 was an interesting time for drum & bass. It felt like my passion for the jazzier, breakbeat-infused side of things was reignited. Not only did I spent most of the jamming out to Earl Grey's Headwinds album, but it was also the 20th anniversary of Roni Size / Reprazent's Mercury Prize-winning debut album, New Forms. It was also the year I got introduced to Ornette Hawkins, who has a new EP, The Other Side of What, dropping on AGN7 Audio on Friday, January 19.

One question a number of people had was "um, who the hell is Ornette Hawkins?" They've been around for a bit; a track on a Subtle Audio compilation here, a feature on a Rude Operator single there. This EP would be the real testament to their intricate blending of drum & bass and jazz. Before the holidays, we got a chance to speak with the D.C.-based duo to try and get some answers. Press play on the clips from The Other Side of What and learn something.

For those who are new to Ornette Hawkins, please introduce yourselves to the people.
That's an interesting question. I'm not even sure we know anymore. What we can tell you for certain is that we currently live in DC and are a collective of improvisational musicians trying to bring together the spontaneity of jazz and drum & bass sensibilities.

How do two jazz musicians from the D.C. area get immersed in the drum & bass scene and sound?
Well, drum & bass can be a natural extension of jazz, if you let it. We’ve been following its evolution since the early '90s. When it's done right, it retains the same complexities. It's been done before. We just want to take the fusion a step further.

For me, it’s hard to tell what’s live and what’s synthetic on a track like “Raw Sun.” How does crafting an Ornette Hawkins tune work?
We typically start out by rehearsing an idea with a few musicians until it becomes fleshed out. Then we record the live performances. Once it gets into the machine we take some liberties with the arrangement, though there are those performances that demand we keep them largely intact. Drum & Bass mixing techniques are obviously an important part of the sound, as well.

Most of the sounds you hear are live players, though we like to create moments that remind the listener that it’s much more than just live performance.

Are there any direct inspirations to the Ornette Hawkins sound, both in drum & bass and in general?
If we’re being perfectly honest, psychedelia. We want to push the boundaries of the perception of what is possible. Free flowing streams of consciousness in the studio help us see the music from a different perspective. Not too much, though, or you can’t work a compressor.

Talk to us about your upcoming EP, The Other Side of What. We’d seen your name on a pair of releases over the last few years; how long had you been working on this release?
This is a fairly new collaboration. Our first tune, "Jazz Police," was released relatively quickly on Subtle Audio after we made it. The Other Side of What is a collection of some of the more jazz-forward work we’ve produced since then. We also had the opportunity to collaborate with studio-mates Rude Operator, on a cut off their recent EP on 31 Recordings ("Witchdoctor"). It’s probably been a few years—maybe even a decade—since the first ideas for these tracks were initially conceptualized, but it takes time to bring a project like this to full fruition.

What significance does the title hold to the tracks on the release and/or your aesthetic in general?
“The Other Side of What” references a conversation between Alice and the caterpillar in Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Alice finds herself in a situation where nothing makes sense and it causes her to question her own identity. Part of figuring out what "The Other Side Of What" is is figuring out which side is which. You can only do that through experimentation. That's what we're trying to do.

A track like “Legend” feels like something I’ve wanted to hear all my life. The drums are funky and hectic, with some amazing horn work. Are you guys planning on recreating these tunes in a live setting? Is it hard to do that? I feel like drumming a tune like this live would be a serious workout.
We have a 100% live recording of “Raw Sun” that we’re giving away as part of the release. The drumming is incredibly demanding. You can hear Matt Tebo working in lots of phrases directly from the recording, so it's definitely possible. We like giving our players the freedom to improvise because they are capable of taking whatever material we give them and elevating it. Of course, there's a definite appeal to seeing it live, and we’re working to make that happen. There are certain things that we put in our tunes that are impossible to do live—at least to do them honestly—but what you get in exchange is the intensity that fuels creativity in the live setting.

Who’s idea was it to get so blunted on reality with that Submorphics and T.R.A.C. remix of “Raw Sun”? That feels like the hip-hop that really got me open back in the ‘90s!
Our friends at AGN7 Audio came up with the idea to reach out to Submorphics, who was keen on the idea of a remix. He happened to be with T.R.A.C. and the two of them reinterpreted “Raw Sun” in a way that’s so appropriate for the EP. Golden-era hip-hop is another intersection point between newer, technology-based forms of music and jazz. It fits perfectly with the aesthetic of the EP and also goes well with our favorite hip-hop. They did a brilliant job!

Are there plans for more Ornette Hawkins releases or, dare I say, an album?
We definitely want to keep it open by exploring different sounds and textures. You can hear some of what we’ve been up to on the accompanying mix. We do have some plans in the works for future releases, but you’ll have to wait and see…

What are you two getting into when you aren’t getting super jazzy and technical with the drum & bass?
Everyone in Ornette Hawkins has a number of other musical projects they’re working on. All of us live and breathe music, everything else is just a distraction.

Ornette Hawkins' The Other Side of What EP drops on January 19 via AGN7 Audio.

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Mistabishi Is Still Trash (UPDATE)

UPDATE 1/15/2018 8:18PM: Surprisingly, Mistabishi released a statement on this situation. He doesn't apologize, but he does mention that he has "ptsd from various things that have happened here and things I've seen here over the years," which I guess is an excuse for using terms like "Muzzy" and "niggeryness"? He then says "People who think like me are just a secondary condition of a much bigger problem that no one seems to want to deal with, but obviously it's much easier to silence and contain that than the actual cause of it." Which is rich, considering that a) the only posts that have been "silenced" are the ones he deleted and b) none of this excuses you being a racist. There are loads of forums where he can speak his mind, which he's done. Many have just chosen to not associate with him.

Read his comments in full:

Original story below.

Do you remember Mistabishi? He was big on Dogs On Acid years back (user name: mista) who rose to prominence due to his drum & bass productions, many of which were released on Hospital. Most people remember his one track, "Printer Jam," which was made up of sounds of a printer. He got caught a lot of flack in 2009 over a scandal involving him apparently playing pre-recorded mixes during a DJ set. While he was never as big of a dnb producer after that, he still released music, primarily through Noh Music, and outside of the dnb realm.

To be fair, his attitude was never one people loved, but not too many people knew that he was a whole racist. Over the weekend, it was discovered that he was on Facebook making racist comments towards London mayor Sadiq Khan, tied to Donald Trump canceling his trip to the UK. Mistabishi said it was because "Kahn (sic) is from a migrant family," going off about how dude's not a real Londoner. When commenters called him out on his comments, Mistabishi went full-on racist, calling someone "Muzzy," which is a derogatory term for a Muslim person.

The dnb community isn't having it, with producers like Chimpo taking to socail media to speak out.

Mistabishi deleted his original Facebook post, but others have called Mistabishi out; for some reason, he's OK to clap back at people on Twitter, including calling black DJ "chimp."

What's funny is you can easily find him arguing with other people over Twitter without using the term "chimp" for them, with the only difference being that dude he was arguing with is black. You be the judge. There are also forum posts where he talks about disliking "nigger-culture" and making comments about "niggeryness" and the like.

If you're plugged into the dnb community on social media, Mistabishi's antics are being thoroughly discussed (with a number of DJs and producers totally distancing themselves from him). Props to Hospital Records, who have announced that due to his remarks, Mistabishi's Hospital releases have been removed from their store, and that they would "direct any of Hospital Records' income received from his publishing and releases on all other stores to our chosen charity: LoveMusic HateRacism." Check out their full statement below, and feel free to stop fucking with Mistabishi from now until eternity.

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Gantz Gets Murky With Dedw8 On "Shivy"

Back in April, I was in Atlanta for reasons I don't think I can speak about. Whatever the case is, I was holed up in a hotel for a day or two with no one to holler at, and went on a mission to get some beer and a few things I needed for the night. I took a walk around the weird downtown area of the A, which was like Trenton one point, college town the next, and had Kahn & Neek's excellent Essential Mix on the phone to keep me company. It was the first time I heard "Shivy," which is a Gantz production featuring Dedw8 that's on the murkier, darker side of the UK's hip-hop scene.

The instrumental is the kind of madcap/hypnotic/dark sound that I love, but it goes to straight horrorcore mode during the second verse, when neph is like "Pop sells, and hip-hop is dead, so we robbed the grave/gravedigging with my hands so I never need to shop for spades." It killed me, and kept getting rewound. My kind of murderous music.

Won't you know that Deep Medi Musik, Mala's forward-thinking imprint, are the ones who finally dropped this gem on the world via Gantz's Dying on Acid EP, which dropped before the end of 2017. Stream the full bit below in its glory, and cop it via the Deep Medi website.

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P. Morris Unleashed Almost 100 Remixes and Edits on 'POP.MORRIS Volume Four'

Back when P. Morris dropped his TEETH release, I mentioned how intrigued I was at the live TEETH set he included on the release, so much so that I went back to it on the regular. He's not dropped a lot since (aside from the release he put out with Maal), but that would appear to be because he saved a fucking DOOZY for heads on Jan. 1.

On the fourth edition of his POP.MORRIS series, which finds him putting his def spin on some of your favorite pop hits, he's sorted out three different parts, each rolled into 30+ minute mixes, taking treks throughout the last two decades or so of music. We're talking Taylor Swift, Janet Jackson, Ed Sheeran, Outkast, Prince, and many, many others. He's making statements throughout, really pulling together a narrative in this expansive set.

Best part? It's your's for whatever you want to pay. Bear Club put it up on Bandcamp for whatever you want to pay, or a $5 CD release. You can also stream the three parts below, via SoundCloud.

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Flava D Enters 2018 Giving You 'More Love 2'

Without a doubt, one of the best ways for a year to start is with an uptick of dope new material. Flava D, who excited dancefloors in 2017 with her DJ technique as well as being one third of TQD (alongside Royal-T and DJ Q), kicks 2018 into high gear with a free release, More Love 2.

Many should remember the first More Love, which dropped in 2015, which Flava says was released "during a really heavy time emotionally." She got loads of dope feedback, and decided to revisit the sounds you won't find her dropping during a peak set. More Love 2 is chock full of those mellower UKG vibes, giving you a bit more soul and emotion in the dancefloor-ready beats.

And while she's advertised that this is a 10-track release featuring remixes of standouts like Kingdom and Syd's "Nothing" and Murlo's "I Need," the free download actually hits you with six more tracks, including Murlo returning the favor with a remix of Flava's "Happy," Flava remixing the legend MJ Cole, and a new collab between DJ Q and Flava D, "My Bae." Stream the project below, and pick it up over on Bandcamp.

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Valona Denise Weaves Intoxicating Tales On 'SBTP'

For heads trying to ease into 2018 with a release that'll satisfy their need for stories and melodies, look no further than Valona Denise's SBTPSample Before the Product—project, which dropped a few days before the end of 2017. Taking a cue from her 2015 project Rollin' Stoned Chronicles, this 15-song release has a theme weaved throughout it. That's not to say you can't enjoy solo jawns on their own, but know that there's something there if you stay focused. Truth be told, that's how you should be approaching life, ya dig?

Featured on the boards and on the mic are everyone from Rell Gambino to Sonic Asaad, with Valona playing the poetic conductor, making the entire journey flow effortlessly. Stream SBTP below, and cop it via Bandcamp.

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Cousin Cole Drops Perfect "New Year's Day 2018" Mix

Cousin Cole's a name I've been checking for for years now. Dude's always had his ear to the ground, and has a unique way of approaching music and his mixes. His "New Year's Day" mix series is no different. Since 2014, he's released a truly uplifting set on the first day of the new year, primarily featuring music from the funk, jazz, folk, and soul scenes. It's a great way to kick off the year, but in these trying times, putting together something that's more uplifting can be a challenge.

In the statement he dropped with the release of his New Year's Day 2018 mix, Cole says "Last year, it was very hard to conceptualize anything that would look towards the first year of Trump's presidency with any degree of hope, and I almost gave up on the idea. This year has been no different, but I think still managed to put together songs that provided some hope / solace / inspiration."

Find your center and remember how to get there as we traverse through what should be another insane year. Stream Cole's "New Years Day 2018" mix below, or you can download it for free, to take with you on your travels.

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Uncle Murda Returns With His "Rap Up 2017"

For those of you who are of the opinion that Skillz's annual Rap Up isn't the move, Uncle Murda is here to offer you an alternative. If Skillz's Rap Up is for the grown folks cracking jokes on the front stoop while sipping on some Rum & Coke, Murda's weeded out with the goons on the back porch, passing a bottle of Henny and giving 2017 the business.

Pick your poison.

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