the future (5/11/2020)

i actually hate posts like this, but i'm not sure what else to do. i'm not even sure who all is listening. shouts out to heads like The Cause and The Custodian of Records and Deal - The Villain—aka heads who know and still reach out because what even is going on any more. i sure don't know.

back when i first told y'all i was going to be working at Complex, i thought i'd be able to find a rhythm with this blog. i figured i would; who knew how all-consuming a gig in media could be! (almost!) eight years later, i can say that it's been easier to find the groove, but maintaining it has been something else entirely. can't say i know WHY, it just is what it is. lots of juggling going on. who knew, back in 2012, that i'd have a weekly movies/TV podcast? the people who suffered through my Sopranos, The Wire, and Lost recaps may have known, but wow.

anyways, i keep seeing some of my favorite writers starting dope newsletters, and during this time where everyone is delf isolating (idolating?), it makes sense that jokers would want somethign to read at certain points. but what do people even read anymore? what niche excellence will get people interested again? it's the eternal struggle, but i'm here today to say...i haven't cracked the code.

that said, i have been doing a lot of listening to classic dnb and jungle, and have been itching to get things rolling at some point. i don't have a controller, though, so until then, i might need to be utilizing this space more. no promises, and even if, it'd be on some chill shit.

or it'll just be a bunch of rockthedub radio sessions. who even knows.

just wanted to say i haven't forgotten y'all. shouts to y'all. i forget who much fun it used to be to stretch and explore on this side of the web. might need to do that every now and again.

until then...

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Conversations W/ Cause Pt. 2

At the beginning of the new year, The Cause dropped a dope Teyana Taylor remix; that sparked us getting back in contact, which then turned into Cause asking me to sit down with him for Part 2 of his "Conversations W/ Cause" series, which he kicked off in December of 2018. After chopping it up while driving through his stomping grounds, we sat down to talk about everything—his last project, The Release Party, growing as an artist and a person, working with the legendary DoItAll, and much more. It was dope chopping it up with him and having a real convo about the life of an artist and his varying inspirations in general.

Check the full conversation below, and just in case you haven't checked it out, dive into Cause's Release Party.

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DJ Sega Continues His 'Vision' With Explosive New Mixtape

Been a bit since I've taken in a new mixtape from Philly's unsung hero DJ Sega. He's back with a new mix, Vision, for the 2-0-2-0, and it's just as frantic and inspiring as his previous work. One of the beacons of the Philly club scene (and the club scene worldwide, truth be told), Sega's whipped up this 20-track selection of original bangers and remixes, giving his latest statement as an artist in this insane world. "Hindsight, foresight, and the unseen" is what he has listed in the description of this one; press play and dive deeper into the current mindstate of the mighty Sega.


1.) Evacuation (The Chase)
2.) Let’s Go God!
3.) Rose In Harlem
4.) Breathe And Stop 2020
5.) Icon
6.) Crack
7.) Boogie Wonderland
8.) Super Bad Brother Sega
9.) This Is America
10.) Don’t Get Comfortable
11.) Wu-Tang 2020
12.) New Jack City Theme
13.) Mellosmoothe
14.) Boots
15.) Wanna Get Wit U
16.) Love
17.) Don’t Walk Away Dub
18.) Jarrod
19.) Mask Off
20.) I Thought About Killing You
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The Cause Drops His Flip of Teyana Taylor's "We Got Love"

It's been over a year since we got new material from The Cause, so it's dope to not only get some fire from him, but fire that is helping manifest the right energy we need for the new year. Something about this Teyana Taylor cut inspired Cause enough to get in the studio, come up with his own loop, record his bars, then mix the cut down himself. Sounds like that anthemic determination to me.

Stream and download his "We Got Love" remix below, and watch this space for more.

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RIP Optiv

Sad news coming from the dnb world today; Edward Holmes, known fondly as dnb producer/label head Optiv of the legendary Cause 4 Concern, is said to have passed away.

While not a creator of the neurofunk sound, Optiv—as a part of the then-quartet C4C—played a huge part in helping the sound grow, netting releases on their self-titled imprint in 1999 before spreading their wings to imprints like Virus, Renegade Hardware, Timeless, Metro, True Playaz, and a host of others. While they were on their tear, Optiv set up his own imprint, Red Light Recordings, which not only nurtured the future of the scene, but also helped usher in established talents like Black Sun Empire to the larger dnb realm.

It was via Red Light that Optiv started a long list of collaborations, linking with Bulletproof and Gridlok early. Always one to link with producers to explore the darker side of the dnb sound, Optiv found a kindred spirit in BTK, who he started releasing material with in 2011, resulting in three album-length projects released during their union (2012's Dirty Tricks, 2014's Blackjack, and Authentic Part One, which dropped in 2016).

No cause of death is being shared at this time, but that hasn't stopped drum & bass community from sharing condolences along with their thoughts on his legacy.

We put together an Apple Music playlist full of our favorite tunes from Optiv's extensive catalog. Tune in and celebrate his legacy. Rest in peace, Optiv.

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Will Drum & Bass Blow Up In America In 2020?

One of the most common sayings at the end of a year is "(insert the next year) is my year." I see every rapper, DJ, and wannabe influencer on that wave on the reg. I never thought it'd be uttered about drum & bass in America...nor would it start from a dubstep producer.

"In 2020 can we get more dubstep DJs to play a bit of dnb in their sets?" Downlink asked on January 1, going on to say that, "[a]s a collective we have the ability to influence whats poppin, and I think the headbangers could enjoy a bit of dnb as they become more familiar with it. Its also fun to change it up from a mixing perspective." He isn't wrong; the world of dubstep and drum & bass aren't that separate; hell, 10 years ago(!) the dnb world started experimenting in dubstep sounds via the drumstep genre, which is still kinda vibing to this day (although on a much lower level, which a number of smaller artists). In any case, that tweet turned into a conversation (using the #dnb2020 hashtag) that's still going on in some segments of the internet: How can we get drum & bass to blow up, particularly for the EDM mainstream? Currently, there's no right answer, as it's hard to pin down exactly where the issue is.

On the onset, it's not like dnb hasn't had its time in the sun in the American mainstream. Roni Size/Reprazent's "Brown Paper Bag" video got some prime-time MTV rotation, most memorably (for me) on MTV's 12 Angry Viewers program back in the late '90s—they were also doing their American tours around that time as well. The biggest EDM festivals in America—Ultra and EDC—have had everyone from Pendulum to Andy C rinsing their stages 15-16 years ago, and seem to always have some kind of representation on their massive lineups. And some of the bigger UK artists, including Subfocus and Chase & Status, have name recognition among ravers. So what gives?

To this junglist—who's lived in America all of his life and has been listening to jungle and drum & bass since '95—it sounds like there are a number of factors, based on what a number of producers, DJs, and writers have been bringing up:
  • There's no room for newer/smaller artists when the same bigger acts are being booked. This is no surprise; the same big name DJs I was going to see in 2000 are more than likely the same big DJs I'm seeing on flyers for Miami Music Week dnb events, or just at the biggest shows across the country. Some have said that the gatekeepers are holding certain acts or artists back, which we can't say isn't true, although we'd need to dive deeper to know the who, what and why.
  • There's not enough of a scene here. This is a weird one; there's always pockets for dnb across the country, including NYC, parts of California, Philly, and a number of other states. The thing is, it's always the same big cities with people flocking to the same lineups. There could be a dope producer in your local town, but if your local promoters can't get enough people to come through to a venue on a regular basis, you can't really nurture a thriving scene.
  • There's not enough knowledge about the scene. This is a tough one; As a guy who ran a fairly strong EDM website for a few years, one that concentrated on the bigger festival sounds as well as everything from footwork to dnb, the appetite for drum & bass was definitely lower, no matter who was making the tunes.
I'd assume there are other reasons, but it feels like the real problem is a combination of those factors, plus a bunch more. I'm more leaning to the side of Americans not giving a fuck about music clocking in at ~170BPM compared to other styles, but it seems like at a festival, people playing the hardest drum & bass should be getting ravers hype. Sounds like it should be how do we get past this?

Personally, I recommend there be some united front. No shade to the dubstep scene, but I think the American dnb scene really needs to build a new foundation. I'd love to see a situation where a dedicated group of people start a site that has multiple purposes: educating newcomers from the EDM scene about drum & bass as a whole, while highlighting American acts who are killing it, both here and abroad. This can include podcasts, a mix series, interviews and profile features, and more. And it shouldn't discriminate; it needs to be about the music, regardless of gender, race, or anything like that. If it's dope, it's highlighted. Simple. I also think we need some new life in the scene, a new outlook, or some new personalities. People outside of the scene always call it elitist, which it has been and can be; it's a huge turn off for newcomers looking to go from being ignorant about the sound to becoming card-carrying junglists. I'm not saying be a Dillon Francis or anything, but we gotta lighten up and have some fun the way we know how.

Again, that's just me. I want the scene to win, but I've wanted the scene to grow off the backs of the Sutpen's Jungle shows Goodie Goodie and the Substitution crew threw back in 2000. Loads of UK talent, but also the heaviest hitters stateside. And those are still the greatest sets I'd heard as a raver. With acts like The Burner Brothers set to drop their first album in 2020, along with artists like Ownglow and Flite getting a bigger name on the strength of their productions, now can and should be the time.

Or things will just go the way Alix Perez said.

Either way, we'll still be here.
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DJ Cable Drops 100+ Song '2019 AD' Mixtape

I don't know about you, but one mix I always look out for at the top (or bottom) of a year is DJ Cable's annual "AD" mixes, which run through the realm of hip-hop throughout the calendar year. For 2019 AD, Cable drops over 100 songs in this massive three-hour-and-37-minute mix, giving you the full scope of 2019 in rap, from Benny the Butcher to DaBaby.

"Whilst it wasn't the best of years for club joints," Cable said when sending this one over, "there's been so much exciting music coming from the underground." He also makes sure to know that you can "expect the usual bangers, UK sounds, weirdo rap, backpack selections, and even Australian Drill." I'm not sure I've even heard Australian Drill music. Press play below to stream, or go here to download the mix in full.


001. DJ Cable School Of Woke [Intro]
002. Flee Lord & Nems - Grind To Survive
003. Krept & Konan - Goat Level
004. Polo G - Pop Out
005. Pusha T Feat. Kash Doll - Sociopath
006. Young M.A. - BIG
007. Denzel Curry - RICKY
008. Fabolous Feat. Meek Mill - Talk To Me Nicely
009. Megan Thee Stallion - Money Good
010. Lil Tecca & JuiceWRLD - Ransom (Remix)
011. D Block Europe - Home Pussy
012. Casanova - Knock Knock
013. Maino Feat. Manolo Rose - Love and Loyalty
014. Freddie Gibbs & Madlib - Massage Seats
015. Giggs Feat. Wretch 32 - Gwop Expenses
016. Kanye West - Follow God
017. Skyzoo & Pete Rock - It’s All Good
018. Little Brother - Work Through Me
019. Gang Starr Feat. J. Cole - Family And Loyalty
020. Big K.R.I.T. Feat. Saweetie & Lil Wayne - Addiction
021. Stormzy - Vossi Bop
022. Gang Starr - Bad Name
023. Snowsa Feat. Young M.A. - Yank Riddim Remix
024. French Montana Feat. Blueface & Lil Tjay - Slide
025. Rich The Kid - Save That
026. A$AP Ferg & A$AP Rocky - Pups
027. Mustard Feat. Roddy Ricch - Ballin’
028. City Girls - Act Up
029. Kano - Teardrops
030. Rapsody - Cleo
031. YBN Cordae Feat. Anderson .Paak - RPN
032. Ronnie Bosh - You Know
033. Aitch - Taste (Make It Shake)
034. Young Thug - The London
035. Giggs - Baby
036. K-Trap - Big Mood
037. NSG Feat. Tion Wayne - Options
038. NSG - OT Bop
039. Blueface - Thotiana
040. Saweetie - My Type
041. Headie One - Rubbery Bandz
042. Young T & Bugsey Feat. Aitch - Strike A Pose [Aitch Verse]
043. Skengdo & A.M - Gun Talk
044. Dave Feat. Burna Boy - Location
045. Young Thug Feat. Gunna - Hot
046. Black Milk - Blame
047. Goldlink Feat. Tyler, The Creator & Jay Prince - U Say
048. Conway The Machine - Half Of It
049. J. Cole - Middle Child
050. Beast Coast - Left Hand [Joey Bada$$ & Issa Gold Verses]
051. Tree & Vic Spencer - Spotify Playlist
052. Cousin Stizz Feat. Freddie Gibbs - Toast To That [Freddie Gibbs Verse]
053. DaBaby - BOP
054. ScHoolboy Q - CasH
055. Tyler, The Creator - NEW MAGIC WAND
056. Baileys Brown - Gimme That
057. AJ Tracey & Giggs - Nothing But Net [Giggs Verse]
058. Digga D - No Diet
059. Poundz - Opp Thot
060. RUSS (SPLASH) & Tion Wayne - Keisha & Becky Remix
061. Krept & Konan - I Spy Remix
062. Headie One - Home
063. S1 - Pirate Swing
064. V9 - Devilish
065. OFB - Ambush
066. Pop Smoke - Welcome To The Party
067. Pop Smoke - Dior
068. Fivio Foreign - Big Drip
069. Onefour - The Message
070. Jay1 - Your Mrs
071. Young Thug - Surf
072. Dreezy Feat. Kash Doll - Chanel Slides
073. Dreamville - Down Bad
074. DaBaby - Suge
075. Maxo Kream - Drizzy Draco
076. Roddy Ricch - Big Stepper
077. Travis Scott - HIGHEST IN THE ROOM
078. Benny The Butcher Feat. Pusha T - 18 Wheeler
079. Conway The Machine Feat. Eminem - Bang
080. Westside Gunn - Size 42
081. Bill Shakes - Tugay Kerimoglu
082. Freddie Gibbs & Madlib Feat. Pusha T & Killer Mike - Palmolive
083. EarthGang - Top Down
084. Octavian Feat. Skepta & Michael Phantom - Bet
085. ESSIE GANG Feat. SQ Diesel - Pattern Chanel
086. Missy Elliott - Throw It Back
087. Rick Ross Feat. Wale - Act A Fool
088. Gucci Mane Feat. Megan Thee Stallion - Big Booty
089. Nipsey Hussle Feat. Roddy Ricch - Racks In The Middle
090. Blade Brown - Bread Break 2
091. Apollo Brown Feat. Black Milk, Ketchphrase & DJ Los - God Help Me
092. Curren$y & Statik Selektah Feat. Termanology - Gran Turismo
093. Larry June - SLS 30 Days
094. Action Bronson & The Alchemist - Accoutrements
095. Roc Marciano - Molly Ringwald
096. Danny Brown Feat. Run The Jewels - 3 Tearz
097. Griselda Feat. 50 Cent - City On The Map
098. Sean Price & Lil Fame - Big Gun Vs Lil Gun
099. Joell Ortiz - Before Hip Hop
100. 2 Chainz - Threat 2 Society
101. Anderson .Paak Feat. Andre 3000 - Come Home [Andre 3000 Verse]
102. Da Flyy Hooligan - Helly Hansen
103. Westside Gunn - Gunnlib
104. CRIMEAPPLE & DJ Skizz - Pasteles
105. The Game Feat. Nipsey Hussle - Welcome Home
106. Dom Kennedy - Our Sins
107. Dave East - Mama I Made It
108. Nas - Highly Favoured
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The Teklife Crew Kicks Off 2020 With a New 'TEKLIFE VIP' Compilation

After all of the holiday jazz about gifts and resolutions, there are certain traditions this time of year that I can't wait for. One of them is the TEKLIFE crew's yearly VIP compilation full of bangers from their heaviest hitters. Overnight, they unleashed the 2020 version, which features 17 footwork bangers from everyone, from DJ Spinn to Traxman. For what it's worth, I'd say hit up Gant-Man's Public Enemy flip. He DID that.

You can stream the full project below, and head over to their website to grab the .zip for free.

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