Light it Up – YP (prod. Chuck Inglish)

Baby that’s a hell of a beat.

Spotted at Fake Shore Drive.

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The Round Up (4/20/11)

In my ongoing attempts to bring you music that I love, The Round Up is going to provide a weekly window into the new (and occasionally not so new) songs that are the populating my playlists. Expect it every Wednesday. Hold me to my word. (right click tracks to download)

Here’s the deal, kiddies. I’m super hard at work at some things going on beyond the mighty reaches of the interwebs. All of them are music related. Because of the real world invading my free time, I can’t post as much as I’d like and I also haven’t been able to find much new, slightly-deeper-than-just-beneath-the-surface music lately (I have also spent the majority of my time listening to the new Justice song because I really like arena rock style electronica and I’m not afraid to say it). I hereby swear to post a more substantial Round Up in approximately 2 weeks when things die down a bit. For now (and next week) we’re going to have slightly lighter versions. Dope, but lighter. Enjoy.

“Lofticries” – Purity Ring

Purity Ring’s “Lofticries” fits right in with the Weeknd‘s recent invasion of my iPod. Hazy vocal samples, propulsive drums, shimmering synth buoy a performance that cuts through the murk to make something that sounds like the Weeknd minus drugs and plus aspirations towards making anthems. Bedroom anthems maybe, but anthems nonetheless. “Lofticries” is a beautiful sunset in the city and, as has been a theme of late, wonderful thawing music as spring gets into gear.

“Consensual Rape” – Action Bronson (prod. Tommy Mas)

I’m not sure what I like more about Action Bronson: that he names a lot of his songs (this one excluded) after old professional wrestlers, that he sounds like a white Ghostface, or that he has a series of amusing and surprisingly informational cooking videos on Youtube. No reinvention of the wheel here or anywhere else in his catalogue, but Bronson makes solid, clever, hard hitting New York rap. Tommy Mas’s horns lay the perfect foundation for Bronson’s relentless blend of threats, punch lines, and food imagery. Sometimes that’s all your soul needs. Points for references to Dusty Rhodes and Molly.

“Slide Through” – DaVinci (prod. SMKA)

New DaVinci is good DaVinci. I love to hear him flowing over woozy beats like the one production team SMKA provides here, but DaVinci seems to consistently select the least Bay Area-esque beats of any prominent, talented Bay Area rapper. His ear for production seems to be getting more developed and eclectic though; his debut The Day the Turf Stood Still was super solid production wise, but was a little east coast centric on the boards. Songs like “Slide Through,” “Get Her High,” and “Clean Ass Whip” (a favorite from 2010) show DaVinci’s ever increasing range, as both a rapper and a beat-selector. Here he raps faster than I’ve heard before and is no less impressive than usual. Play this one back to back with last week’s “Let’s Ride” and start building your nice weather cruising playlist.

“Illuminations” – Sunless

In 2011 it seems you either have to be completely accessible (Lil B) or utterly enigmatic (the Weeknd) to garner any sort of significant e-buzz (I guess Odd Future throws a bit of a wrench in the system, but even for all their accessibility, the complete picture of their rise to prominence remains a bit murky). Dreamy electro duo Sunless takes the obtuse route, providing a tumblr with two songs, a video, and no information whatsoever. “Illuminations” is produced by someone named Kwes and it’s a fantastic, airy piece of beat-driven pop. Well worth keeping an ear to the ground for these guys, if “Illuminations” is any sign of what’s to come.

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The Never Ending Now – Spree Wilson

Few people I speak to seem to know who Spree Wilson is, despite his being signed to Jive (which, I suppose, means less today than at any other point historically). Of all the rappers who have recently risen to prominence because they can sing and rap, I’ve felt since I heard him that Spree is one of the most organic, creating music that leans toward pop without sacrificing sincerity or quality. His new mixtape The Never Ending Now is spectacular spring music, well worth throwing on as the weather (at least in NY) leans more toward the beautiful than the grey.

Check out “No Use In Runnin'” and the link to the mixtape below.

“No Use In Runnin'” – Spree Wilson (prod. Spree Wilson and Shoden!1) (right click to save as)

Download: The Never Ending Now (via

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One tried to get fly, almost had to mush him

Ladies and gentlemen and mom,

It’s my pleasure to introduce you to a track that I played a little part in. The homie Virtue and his Fameless Fam are dropping their Eat Fly compilation on April 18th, presented by UGHH, Benz and a Backpack, and, our daddy, Ricky Shabazz.

Here’s the project’s first single, “Bug Zapper,” produced by yours truly and featuring verses from Virtue, George Watsky (whom you might have seen before), and cuts from DJ Emoh Betta. It’s dope. Do the right thing and download.

“Bug Zapper” – Virtue x Watsky x DJ Emoh Betta (prod. Jon Tanners)

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The Round Up (4/13/11)

In my ongoing attempts to bring you music that I love, The Round Up is going to provide a weekly window into the new (and occasionally not so new) songs that are the populating my playlists. Expect it every Wednesday. Hold me to my word. (right click tracks to download)

A bit on the light side this week because I’m stuck for the most part on a steady listening diet of Sunni Colon and A.Dd+, but here are a few jams that have broken into rotation.

“Get Her High” – Lunice ft. ST 2 Lettaz & DaVinci

I had a theory that 808s and Heartbreak would become a production benchmark in spite of the confusion and bitterness it engendered. Like most half assed theories about culture, time didn’t provide the evidence I hoped for. 40 gave So Far Gone and Thanke Me Later a bit of 808’s atmospherics and Clams Casino has sort of blown out the formula to hazy extremes. Lunice is a producer from Montreal who takes pieces of Southern Hip-Hop, trance-Hop, and 808 snares to create a stew that points to the influence of Kanye’s underrated vanity project while jumping in a far more propulsive and structured direction. Oh, and DaVinci raps well. He always does.

“Yes Indeed (G-Girls)” – The Foodchain

Hooray for mixed sex metaphors! Hooray for a Vlasic pickles reference in a rap song! Hooray for this BEAT. I am coming off like an extremely poor researcher right now, but here it goes: I know nothing about The Foodchain. I have their mixtape/album on my hard drive and I want to give the entire thing a shot. I just can’t get past this song. It’s hypnotic, it’s got traces of hyphy, of whatever Bangladesh hath wrought, and a little extra bass for good measure. I am down to hear this all day every day when the rain in NY decides to go away for good.

“Hippie Glue (Licorice Whip Mix)” – Charlie Blacksmoke and the Swamp Energy Mass Choir

If Bilal burst into flames while colliding with Prince in a chess game played by J Dilla and Maxwell, it might begin to describe what Charlie Blacksmoke’s “Hippie Glue” sounds like. Deep in the reaches of lost 90s/early 2000s music is a singer named Keziah Jones who made some incredible, idiosyncratic funk/rock/soul records. If you find them, you’ll understand what this means: Charlie Blacksmoke is a robot Keziah Jones. Charlie Blacksmoke is a future none of us are ready for. If you have sex to this you will turn into a Philip K Dick novel as read by Barry White.

“Let’s Ride” – Shane Eli ft. Playboy Tre & Rittz

At present I know two things about Shane Eli: he hails from Los Angeles and he has impeccable taste in co-stars. Eli holds his own against two rapping heavyweights over a suitably bumpin beat. Predictably, Tre and Rittz deliver the goods (particularly Rittz who continues to impress on a technical level on the heels of White Jesus). It’s close enough to summer for this one to be played at obnoxious volumes on warm days. You can never have enough songs about riding around, being cool, and having sex in your car.

“Say You’ll Go” – Anais Aida & DannyBe

A beautiful cover of a beautiful Janelle Monae song by Anais Aida & DannyBe, students of NYU’s Clive Davis School of Recorded Music. I think this one speaks for itself.

And now, for no reason, here’s a picture of Waka Flocka and his new best friend.

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Please excuse my ornaments

I’ve been negligent. I’m sorry. Since last week’s Round Up, I’ve planned on posting a bunch of things but haven’t had the time. A few things are in the works. A new Round Up is arriving shortly with plenty of goodies. Profiles of recent favorites Kendall Elijah and Pyramid Vritra are on the horizon. Review Session will be continued in a slightly altered form because I realized a) I don’t like reviewing albums I don’t enjoy and b) I think reviews are an antiquated conceit of music journalism in the twilight years of criticism as we know it.

In the meantime, here’s some Aretha. Because you can never have enough Aretha.
“Day Dreamin” – Aretha Franklin

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The Round Up (4/6/11)

In my ongoing attempts to bring you music that I love, The Round Up is going to provide a weekly window into the new (and occasionally not so new) songs that are the populating my playlists. Expect it every Wednesday. Hold me to my word. (right click tracks to download)

A bit pressed for time this week and I do enough blabbering anyway. Here’s what’s been occupying my headphones in the last week.

“Drive It Like You Stole It” – Wildabeast ft. Jelani

About four or five (maybe even six?) years ago I was introduced to Jelani by a mutual friend. I knew he was an ill rapper then and it’s nice to see him getting shine now. He’s dropped some really strong tracks over the last few weeks after taking a brief hiatus from rapping to work on his mixing and mastering. Here he and fellow NY emcee Wildabeast rip a fresh

“Too Tough to Die” by Sunni Colon

So this isn’t super new (dropped in mid-March), but in light of Sunni’s recent presence in The Round Up, I figured no one would mind a bit more dopeness from the man. Like “Shoota,” “Too Tough to Die” relies more on rock pyrotechnics and melodic force than traditional Hip-Hop drums. The percussion is propulsive, pushing Sunni and singer Martina Topley-Bird into inspired performances. Sunni’s first verse is a MONSTER. Listen to this shit and feel invincible.

“Orange Blossom” – Gardens & Villa (link will take you to Mediafire, was having some trouble with this one…damn internets)

All indie/alt-rock (I always feel like a tourist when I’m speaking about rock or anything vaguely rock-y) should have basslines this funky. The lyrics are a bit on the silly side, but the vocals do their MGMT-esque thing (does his comparison stick? maybe!) and the shimmery, synth heavy arrangement certainly satisfies, especially during that rainy purgatory as winter lurches to spring.

“Milky Syrup” – KC 2.0

KC 2.0 is a member of NRK, the talented Atlanta collective with ties to Odd Future. I recently interviewed Pyramid Vritra (rapper and producer in NRK, whose epic-length song “Elenor” you should absolutely check out and be awed by) and he brought up KC’s upcoming material a number of times throughout the conversation. The name wasn’t familiar, so I dug through ye old iPod. “Milky Syrup” was my prize. Dense rhymes over a dark, spacy beat. “Lost pyramid languages?” Yes, please.

“Kill the Boy” – Emeli Sandé

You can never have enough acoustic soul. It appears Sandé has had some success in Scotland (where’s she’s from) and the UK. Not sure what the market is for a song like “Kill the Boy,” but here’s to hoping a bit of that Adele magic dust rubs off on Sandé and she can find success stateside.

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