Category Archives: Blog

Audio: Black Milk – “Gold Piece” & “Grey For Summer” [Instrumentals]

Two of the instrumental backing tracks off of If There’s A Hell Below have been doled out by Black Milk, via his soundcloud page, the uptempo soul cut “Gold Piece” and dusty, jazz piano ballad “Grey For Summer.” Heard back to back they offer a great mini-portrait of the LP, which at many points cuts hard with bone dray snares, and at others glides a bit more gently over a soft, lackadaisical loop. Black Milk just wrapped a major leg of his 2015 U.S. tour, and will go back out on the road in June in support of If There’s A Hell Below. Find those future venue dates below, and listen to his morning instrumental double shot.

Black Milk Tour Dates:
6/16 Washington, DC at DC9
6/17 Philadelphia at Johnny Brenda’s
6/18 New York at The Studio at Webster Hall
6/20 Detroit at TBA
6/21 Chicago at TBA
6/22 Minneapolis at 7th St Entry
6/24 Missoula at Urban Lounge
6/25 Calgary at Sled Island Festival
6/27 Vancouver at Fortune Sound Club
6/28 Seattle at TBA

Audio: Earl Sweatshirt – ‘Solace’ [Mini-EP]

There’s a certain bravery behind Solace, the new 10 minute mini-EP from Earl Sweatshirt. It’s a woozy, meandering piece of work that leans on itself, a patchwork of pianos and drum fills tucked amongst tape static and reverb. Solace was uploaded by Earl to Youtube only hours ago with a terse description, “music from when i hit the bottom and found something.” Listen to it in full above, and see if you can keep it together.

Audio: Kanye West’s First Beats (Disc 1)

Back in 2001 when they thought pink polos would hurt the Roc, Kanye West was almost completely unknown, a young hard-working producer with big dreams, shopping around his beat tape in a cutthroat rap marketplace. Early in his career, West came to be known for his soul-inflected approach. String interludes and classic drum sounds filled his MPC to the brim, and vocal lines were laid atop nearly ever track, many times sped up and distorted. Now, a bit of that old Kanye has resurfaced in the form of a beat tape, allegedly from 2001.

The tape was uploaded to Youtube Sunday after being reportedly rediscovered in Jensen Karp‘s garage. Karp attests to the following: “I was stumbling through my garage, searching through old storage bins, when I came across some old beat CDs from my days as a signed Interscope rapper. I was shocked to find that two of them, both given to me in ‘01, had the name Kanye West on them. These two CDs, which I believe are the oldest Kanye beats ever released. I think this collection of early Kanye beats shows you where he came from, even if it doesn’t necessarily sound like ‘Kanye’ now. He kept at it and became the incredible producer he is today. I remember he even had to leave the studio sessions early, so he could make the last train back to his mom’s house.”

The 70-minute tape is a brilliant reminder of West’s creative approach, and features plenty of classic samples that fans of other great producers’ work will recognize. Pull your favorite backpack out of the closet and listen to the full tape above.

Audio: Chance The Rapper & The Social Experiment x Jeremih – “Planes” (Remix)

Chance The Rapper and The Social Experiment resurfaced this weekend to drop the “Planes” (Remix), their smooth take on Jeremih‘s ode to the mile-high club. The lush take on the slow-burning track comes a few months after the first “Planes” landed. The remix full of swelling synths, subtle horn lines and soulful organ is set all the way off by a lilting verse from Chano.

Audio: J.Rocc x LeFtO Show #620 Mix

Show#620 ++ J.ROCC (Beatjunkies) GUEST SET + New Hudmo | Nosaj Thing | Mono/Poly | and more ++ by Lefto on Mixcloud

Stones Throw stalwart J Rocc stopped by LeFtO‘s regular program to spin a guest mix of top-notch material. Mixed with LeFtO’s own selections, including Hudson Mohawke’s latest, some classic McCoy Tyner, and the latest Vic Mensa x Kanye joint, J’s moves are as excellent as ever. Check the tracklist below and let us know what you think of this exclusive mix…

vernessa mitchell – no more tears
mocky – tomorrow maker ft. moses sumney *
too many zooz – mouse trap
breakdown brass – monmouth
hudson mohawke – ryderz
l’orange & jeremiah jae – ignore the man to YOUR right ft. homeboy sandman *
nosaj thing – let you
illa j – strippers
anderson paak ft. nocando – the fif
vic mensa – u mad ft. kanye west
ltgl – catharsis
mono/poly – low end theory
mura masa – are u there? *
casssandre – sifflant soufflant
mcCoy tyner – opus
mieux – rush *
jessie ware – champagne kisses (darius remix)
quiet dawn – new dawn ft. oddisee

Audio: Now Futur x MF Doom – Origins of a Villain Mix

The Parisian geniuses Now Futur put in a mountain of work tracking down original MF Doom sample materials, re-chopping them to drum beats and essentially composing their own versions, like a feast made home-style with the help of the villain’s recipe cards. Now Futur really went and did the damn thing by setting the entire 45 minute mixtape to some vintage video clips. It’s a creative, slightly-unorthodox way to remind us of the brilliance of Doom’s production work. Watch the full video piece above, or enjoy the audio-only mix file below.

Audio: Vic Mensa x Jarreau Vandal, Mr. Carmack, & Sam Gellaitry – “D.O.M.L.” (esta Remix)

Soulection sound man Esta serves up his take on Vic Mensa‘s pulsating club jam “Down On My Luck” with the arrival of “D.O.M.L.”, featuring Jarreau Vandal, Mr. Carmack and Sam Gellaitry. The track from his latest collection of remixes is a mash of satin chords and heavy synths driven by Mensa’s echoing, pitched down vocal and the irresistible hand-clap rhythm of the OG. Check the track above to stream “D.O.M.L.” (esta Remix), and stay tuned for more from Esta.

Audio: Tyler The Creator Feat. Kali Uchis – “Yellow”

Tyler’s new loosie “Yellow” features the vocals of Colombian songstress Kali Uchis. It opens with sloppy hi-hat, lazy guitar and a lazy-day flow from the Creator, before continuing into a fuzzed-out instrumental solo. Any listeners who had written Tyler off as a weirdo shock-rapper will most definitely be surprised by its mellow manner; listen to “Yellow” above.

Audio: Raekown & A$AP Rocky – “I Got Money”

The Chef serves up another piece of ear candy with what may be his most opulent offering yet in “I Got Money” with fellow 5-borough representative A$AP Rocky on the assist, making for a dynamite pairing of cross-generational microphone marauders. This new joint is loaded with Golden Era sonics, flecks of kalimba and a low-end treatment that’s all too proper. Raekwon’s Fly International Luxurious Art will be landing April 28th with some high-profile features, including the aforementioned Doggfather and the head of the A$AP Mob, as well as Ghostface Killah, Rick Ross, Scram Jones, Estelle, Busta Rhymes and plenty more.

Audio: Knxwledge – “Jstowee” [Instrumental]

Knxwledge shares a brand new instrumental off his upcoming Hud Dreems LP. Entitled “Jstowee,” the short but sweet cut is a flurry of ideas all locked within a single hypnotic groove. The Stones Throw producer sets things off with a ambling funk bassline wrapped in looping vocals and popcorn claps. Shakers clatter, snares roll, and the track somehow syncopates in all directions while never losing focus; textbook Knxlwedge if we’ve ever heard it. Only 70 seconds into the track, everything changes, and we’re doused in the breeze of a jazz interlude. Knxwledge pulls back on the drums, brings up the xylophone, and lets everything gradually coast back down to earth. “Jstowee” is a golden coin with two very different sides. It opens hot, closes cool, and is at all times buttery-smooth. Listen above an let us know your thoughts…

Audio: Wiz Khalifa x Curren$y Feat. sayitainttone – “Weed Nap”

Wiz Khalifa and Curren$y link up once again for “Weed Nap” with sayitainttone, the latest leak off their highly anticipated upcoming mixtape, #2009. ID Labs and Frank Dukes handle the production as Wiz and Spitta exchange verses. These two always seem to bring the best out of each other, musically. Hopefully #2009 will be coming our way soon.

Revolutions On Air: The Golden Era of New York Radio 1980 – 1988

The ever-tasteful and diligent Red Bull Music Academy, has outdone themselves with the new mini-documentary Revolutions On Air: The Golden Era of New York Radio 1980 – 1988. A 17 minute trip through time and space, soundtracked by 808s, the film retells the story of DJs like Kool Red Alert, Tony Humphries and Marley Marl, figures that took matters into their own hands bringing Hip-Hop to the airwaves.

Amidst jarring imagery of tagged-up subways and dirty vacant lots, Revolutions On Air brings us b-boys, boomboxes, block parties and homemade mixtapes. “It was freedom to play what you want, versus being tied down by a programming director,” Humphries remembers in the doc’s opening minutes. “Nothing was off limits.” At the center of it all is Frankie Crocker, the earliest champion of Hip-Hop in the radio arena and, accoring to DJ Spinna, a one-man cornerstone of black music as we know it today. Whether it be learning to play two beat-heavy records at the same time, splicing looped grooves with an xacto knife, or tri-boro treks to find obscure records, New York City’s “golden era” DJs stopped at nothing to hone their craft. Now RBMA’s brilliant doc has given their pioneering work its due props. Watch Revolutions On Air in its entirety above, then grab your Lasonic TRC-931 and meet us in the park.

Audio: DJ Jazzy Jeff – Beyond Wonderland Mix

There’s a reason why DJ Jazzy Jeff is renowned the world over as one of the best to lay hands on a mixer. In only an hour the Jazzy one manages to conceptualize D’Angelo, Toto, Q-Tip, Steve Miller, Parliament, Kendrick Lamar, Mark Ronson, Stevie, and just about every other dope figure in Hip-Hop and R&B. The Beyond Wonderland mixtape bobs and weaves through its playlist like an underdog boxer, finding the perfect moments in each track before jabbing in for the knock-out. It’s a mix so playful and expertly done that it’s got us reminiscing on Mr. Jeff’s yearly Summertime sets. It was put together for Insomniac’s Beyond Wonderland festival, and word is 200 lucky attendees were given physical copies. The rest of us can thankfully listen above, so strap in and get to it. This one comes correct in every respect.

Pharrell Williams – “Happy” (Stromix)
Tropkillaz – “Badman”
The Procussions – “Track 10”
Toto – “Africa”
D’Angelo & The Vanguard – “Sugah Daddy”
Mayer Hawthorne ft. Kendrick Lamar – “Crime”
Q-Tip – “Gettin’ Up”
DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince – “Summertime” (Jazzy Jeff’s Mix)
Phil Collins – “In The Air Tonight”
Q-Tip – “Let’s Ride”
Stro Elliot – “Kamaal Coltrane”
Steve Miller – “Fly Like An Eagle” (Jorun Bombay “Fly Like A Dub” Edit)
MM – “Superstition” (Remix)
6th Sense – “Do You GO BACK To Cali?”
Parliament – “Flashlight” (Chopped Edit)
Steve Winwood – “Higher Love”
Kendrick Lamar ft. Anna Wise – “Real”
Oliver – “Night Is On My Mind”
The Jackson 5 – “It’s Great To Be Here” (Jorun Bombay Edit)
Survivor – “Eye of the Tiger”
LL Cool J – “Mama Said Knock You Out” (Jorun Bombay Remix)
Run-DMC – “Beats to the Rhyme” (Jorun Bombay Remix)
Bill Withers with Studio Rio – “Lovely Day” (Studio Rio Version)
Jay-Z and Pharrell Williams – “Change Clothes” (Latin Version)
Tropkillaz and Leo Justi – “Deixa Eu Dizer” (Desabafo)
DJ Day – “A Place to Go”
RJD2 – “All for You”
Jorun Bombay – “Jorun’s Way”
DJ Katch – “The Horns”
Stevie Wonder – “Sir Duke”
Cece Peniston – “Keep on Walkin’”
Soho – “Hot Music” (Hott Ffej Edit)
Soho – “Hot Music”
Mark Ronson ft. Keyone Starr – “I Can’t Lose”
Slave – “Just a Touch of Love” (Moplen Remix)
Usher – “Good Kisser” (Disclosure Remix)
Mark Ronson ft. Mystikal – “Feel Right”
Mark Ronson ft. Bruno Mars – “Uptown Funk”
The Rebirth – “Evil Vibrations”
De La Soul – “A Roller Skating Jam Named ‘Saturdays’”
The Young Punx – “Harlem Breakdown”
Bunji Garlin ft. Nigel Rojas – “Differentology”
Disclosure – “Latch” (Lido Remix)

Audio: De La Soul & Nas – “God It”

Queensbridge and Strong Island connect as De La Soul and Nas relinquish the loose new joint “God It.” This track will be omitted from their forthcoming crowdfunded record, which saw its goal met in less than 24 hours, and with that kind of love being show it seems only right that they celebrate the success of the initiative with some new heat. This is like one of those dreams-really-do-come-true moments in the OG realm, where legends collide and we reap the rewards.

De La Soul: “While busy at work, we also like TO PLAY! This song is not from the new album, but an indication of the good music to come… Just a little appetizer until we complete the main course. You may recognize our featured guest. Enjoy.”

Audio: Your Old Droog – “Hidden Persuaders”

After throwing down his debut LP late last year, the Ukrainian-by-way-of-Brooklynite MC followed up with this year’s Kinison EP. Now we’ve just been bestowed with another brand new track, “Hidden Persuaders.” Rest assured–it’s textbook droog. Over slow and sparse drums and a simple blues guitar riff, Droog spits bar after bar of deft wordplay, referencing Brooklyn-bound Q trains, Kris Kross, Jack LaLanne, summer camp, and more. Just as with many of the rapper’s previous outings, DJ Skizz is credited with production. Nod along to “Hidden Persuaders” above.