Swimming Pools (Black Hippy Remix) – Kendrick Lamar (ft. Ab-Soul, ScHoolBoy Q and Jay Rock)
[good kid, m.A.A.D city]
First off, let me say that it’s been over a decade since I’ve come across a hip hop crew whose members complemented each other as perfectly as the Black Hippy MCs do. Between Ab-Soul, Jay Rock, Kendrick Lamar and ScHoolBoy Q, there is no weak link at all. While each MC has their own distinct flow and style, none is weaker than anyone else in the group. It’s just up to you as the listener as to whose rhyming style you prefer. Not since the days of Flipmode Squad and Def Squad (when Jamal was still a member) have I been excited about a hip hop crew as I am about Black Hippy.
While “Swimming Pools” thrust Kendrick Lamar into the mainstream hip hop limelight, it was still a quality track, both in terms of beats, lyrics and flow. On this remix, Black Hippy just took the beat and ran with it. They make full use of the beat’s potential and make you fall in love all over again with hip hop. Each MCs verse bears their signature without overpowering the other members, allowing the track to be a posse cut in the truest sense. Even if the world goes to hell in a hand basket on 21st December 2012 like the Mayans predicted, it won’t really faze people as long as this is the soundtrack to the end of the world while you’re enjoying your favourite drink.
You recognise this song, don’t you? It really warms me. I’m so used to hearing the Hip Hop sample, all looped and loud, that this is entirely refreshing; it has a slow, measured and achingly beautiful novelty about it.
Aretha sounds like Autumn and unrequited devotion.
I don’t remember the first time I heard The Cinematic Orchestra. All I know is that that’s when I started seeing that much clearer.
It’s the kind of music that has never been always a part of my life. And this song particularly voices what I ordinarily can’t about my love for beautiful music.
And more so, my immense love for The Cinematic Orchestra. It carries me out to sea and swallows me into the deep, and comforts me. Every time I hear a Cinematic track, I mean every single time, I find myself thinking how much I hope they decide to come to SA and grace us with this soul lifting, soul cleansing, soul clogging music. I’m still hoping…
Like a synthesized punch in the face. There are a lot of things I would prefer to be assaulted with over electronica but this new brand of electronic industrial pop, with an eerie ambience and masochistic impression makes you feel like you’re doing something wrong by listening to it. And I like that. Canadian musician and video director, Grimes, contributes her saccharine vocals and piercing pitch over layers of ethereal waves and reverberating bass. The thread of experimentation and visual arts is so tightly wound around this track that I can just about see the horizon of this sensual dreamscape. And like all good songs, it has the decency to incorporate a thumping bridge with some head-bumping deep percussion.
Guitars on guitars upon reverbed guitars, drums on drums, synths on synths, harmonies on harmonies melodies on melodies and bass on bass on bass and some more bass for good measure. Oh my god, yes, that is the best way I can describe the sound Tame Impala.
This song comes from their debut album, Innerspeaker. Don’t y’all love songs with a slow build-up and towards the end almost sound like they’re on the verge of falling apart, but are kept intact by the sheer skill of the musicians - sort of like improvised jazz? That’s exactly how this song sounds. But the crazy thing is that it’s all played by one man. How he manages to make it sound like it’s four people playing together in a room is beyond me.
*Tame Impala are an Australian one man band - in the studio - and four piece for touring.
Oh but this is my latest titillation and guilty pleasure, Iggy Azalea. First came across her in a fun story off of the Complex Mag website talking about weird rap names. Obviously the song’s name caused serious eye drag, followed quickly by mouse click. I wasn’t disappointed, how could I be… I am only a man.
But the Grace Jones/Eddie Murphy intro straight off Boomerang is still rib crack funny… now think of Grace Jones doing that Hoola Hoop thing during the Queen’s 50th Jubilee Concert and tell me this song ain’t gansta… rish.
But musically its a strange mix of tequila and Cointreau… kick you hard but soothe you nice, and you are sure gona get effed, up good. There was talk of beef with some other Azalea blah blah blah, you know the rap game. So guess she is working on her rep or whatever. I love the irreverence of it all. I don’t exactly see a Marshal Mathers happening, but my summer sound track is gona be doep.
I’m listening to this song as I write this. And I am struggling with finding the right words to convey exactly just how next level this track is. Awesome. Cool. Tight. Dope. Those words just don’t cut it. DJ Khalil’s mesmerising beat paired with Jay Electronica’s deceptively Byzantine lyrics and finished off with the airy vocals of Erik Alcock & Liz Rodrigues is a layered sonic work of art.
Stoupe The Enemy of Mankind (of Jedi Mind Tricks’ fame) has done it again. After creating one of the most elegantly beautiful (non-hip hop) albums “A Bright Cold Day” I’ve ever heard with songstress Liz Fullerton (as the group Dutch), he’s forged another masterpiece. Teaming up with yet another velvety voiced and talented singer, Lorrie Doriza, to become Vespertina, they dropped “The Waiting Wolf” album.
Filled with extraordinary tracks that make love to your ear drums, my current favourite on the album is Devil’s Dance. The word ‘vespertine’ means ‘of, or occurring, in the night/evening’. While the outstanding beat cooked up by Stoupe on this track certainly sounds dramatic and foreboding, it’s offset by the gossamer tone of Lorrie Doriza’s voice. I really don’t know where Stoupe finds such talented vocalists. But wherever the factory is, I hope it stays open for business.
The first time I heard Kimbra , her sound and style reminded me of a modern day Nina Simone. Her vocal ability is unexpected. Yes , I never thought it was possible that folk from Australia had soul. She has and still blows me away.
This track is a clear indication of what happens when forging your own brand of music that used tradition with unique and unexplored realms of jazz. Mr Charles Mingus was one of the few jazz musicians and composers that were capable of doing it with ease.
I attended the Little Dragon concert in Cape Town last month. I’m suffering with the reality that I can’t just go to the Old Biscuit Mill and see them again. Their energy was insane. I am hooked on this song because of the dope beat and sweet lyrics. The chorus reminds me of the beginning phases of having a crush.
"Cause she winks at you
You feel your legs shake You blow a kiss back Then time stops until she turns her back”
I discovered this track after having heard Label Love Volume 3. I just knew I had to get Volume 1 and 2. And there Jono McCleery was, wrapping up Label Love Volume 2.The first time I heard this track, I immediately felt hopeful without having really listened to the words.
It just had this sure-ness about it, like ‘hey, don’t bother yourself with such petty things, everything will be just fine.’ And having listened to the lyrics, I became even more hopeful.
"Tomorrow at the same time. The same feeling will rise."
Jono became a part of my music. And ever since I found him, I’ve been sharing him with as many people as possible. Which is where you come in - Like I once said, music is like blunt, you have to keep passing it - So, Enjoy!
Look, when you hear that DOOM and Jneiro Jarel (Dr Who Dat? ) are making an album together, you shut up, sit still and listen.
Key To The Kuffs is an incredible piece of work from both artists. They gel so well together and the album takes you on quite an expansive journey of varying musical styles from an 808 laced beat to DOOM’s usual dense style. It’s also in a way what you would expect from MF DOOM, he doesn’t let you into his music very easily. I don’t even think it has anything to do with discernment but rather him creating some sort of a puzzle. It’s as if he wants you to make an effort to REALLY listen with not just your ears, a huge part of it is cerebral. I think that’s what I love most about him.
Anyway, this song is a banger!! I can never ever play it once, it demands at least one repeat. It’s about genetically modified foods and how they begin to change the nature of human beings.
Question: Will the frankenfoods kill us?
Or turn us into thangs off Thriller, or dang gorillas?
Breeds of a needless variety
In the name of greed we in a seedless society
Flounder genes in your tomatoes
Cod in your potatoes, playin’ God, retarded’er than Plato
When Joey BADA$$ says he’s indubitable I believe him. The first time I heard ‘Waves’ I was so impressed, I posted it on my tumblr and stated that he was single handedly making me fall in love with hip-hop again. Just because Joey BADA$$ is so simple in his approach to his music. He isn’t trying to reinvent the wheel, or be part of some post hip-hop genre or anything. Not that there is anything wrong with stepping outside of the boundaries of rap. I however love the fact that he is just making good ol’ honest hip-hop music.
This song is cramped with punchlines. He’s super smart and witty but in a way that suits his age. His childlike demeanor is extremely charming and even his references to ‘disney’ movies make me feel all fuzzy inside. At the end of the day he’s just a kid who loves hip-hop and wants to rap.
[ Give Me My Flowers While I Can Still Smell Them ]
I’m trying to be alive again
Wanna feel like I can fly again
They say the limit is the sky, but I’m sick of getting high
I don’t want to have to die, just to feel like I’m alive
I used to STAN so hard for Blu. So hard. The first couple of times I heard ‘Below The Heavens’ I was completely taken by him, and mesmerized by his rhymes and the way he eased onto a beat. I loved his super mellow demeanor and his average man raps. I loved how he wasn’t afraid of showing how vulnerable he was and for pouring out all his insecurities and beauty out onto a track. I loved his mysterious nature, and an almost darkness that haloed him.
And then. I saw Blu & Exile live in SA I think in 2010 or something. You know when you turn someone into a demi-god and then you’re suddenly confronted with the fact that they are intensely human. I was so disappointed because I had imagined a performance that would affirm my passion for this dude’s music. Instead what I got was so sub-par that I couldn’t bear to even listen to any of his music for a very long time after that. Everytime I heard the beginning of ‘Dancing in The Rain’ my heart would sink because the only thing that stuck was that terrible performance at Zula.
And then I heard ‘Give Me My Flowers While I Can Still Smell Them’ and it made me smile. It reminded me why I fell in love with Blu ( and Exile ) in the first place, and now I’ve made peace with the fact that some artists should really only live in my ears. And you know what, that’s perfectly ok.
This weekend we were out in the middle of deepest darkest Limpopo in the bush. Ok, maybe not deepest darkest, but honestly at the risk of sounding like a silly tourist, that place is like the epitome of Africa. Limitless blue skies that bring so much promise, green green green everywhere, even in the dry winter it looks bee-yoo-ti-ful, wild animals, and next to no people.
Anyway I digress. J Dilla seemed to be what made everyone the happiest, so we played A LOT of J Dilla. So then I got to thinking about what my favourite Dilla song is.
And I can inequivocally say without stuttering that this song is hands down my favourite J Dilla song. Anytime, Anywhere, Anyhow.
I remember there was a time in my life when I was completely averse to any ‘spacey’ sounding music. Don’t ask me why, but I reckon it had something to do with my youthful restlessness. Now all I want to do is listen to spacey music.
I am totally digging Com Truise, not only because I think his name is the best spoonerism I’ve heard in ages, but mostly because his music is the ultimate to space out to. Best to listen to this song loudly on a drive in the middle of the night with no cares in the world and only this ethereal sound to intoxicate you.
This is a song that I bumped into that I thought would be shit.
Cause it was one that I got from a music dump from a friend. And we all know that when you get a dump of new beats, you find one or two albums you dig and you don’t pay attention to the rest because they wont live up to what you already heard. I eventually put Martina Topley Bird on and this first song got me gripped. The rest of it is shit. But this one is the one.
I don’t know if you do this, but there are some songs that I bump when I’m by myself and I bump them loud. And while I do that I just have this stupid ass mean bass face while I’m getting down. And I just hope nobody walks into the room. This is one of them. Makes me wish I could rap so that I could freestyle and spit over this beat. But I cant. So, its just me and bass face.
This song reminds me of a very special time in my life with 3 people. This was our theme song. Constantly. There was a point when I thought that we lost the fight for real hip-hop. Well, apparently not. Don’t talk to me when this comes on, I wont hear you.
All Things To All Men - Cinematic Orchestra ft Roots Manuva
[ Everyday ]
Last night my awesome lover and I, and two of our awesome lover friends drove back home from the most amazing peaceful, laughalicious, stimulating, lazy, food-fun-and G&T filled weekend. We listened to this song on our way home and I totally zoned out to it, my head floating on it for all of its ten minutes. I’ve never really been a big Cinematic Orchestra fan, I mean I dig them but rarely am i moved.
But. This. Song.
I woke up this morning and it was like my head hadn’t stopped floating on it since last night. It’s pretty much been on repeat all morning, and will no doubt be a reminder of a very special weekend.
There’s a question I like to ask guys when testing them out for possible chemistry: “So…who’s your favourite artist?”. Seemingly simple, yet deceptively complicated and revealing. I’ve had all sorts of responses - usually in a bid to impress he’ll list 3-5 bands/artists that he thinks I like. Sometimes I’ll get a slightly more genuine “Queen/Aretha/Tupac/Hendrix totally shaped my life…” twaddle. Errrr…Wrong answer, buddy. The correct answer here is THAT IS AN IMPOSSIBLE QUESTION TO ANSWER. It’s all circumstantial. But in contradiction to my own rant, my favourite artist is Thom Yorke. I whined with him in high school, grew up with him through my early 20’s, and now I’ve watched him dance with a bear to Lotus Flower for 16 months, pretending to concentrate while daydreaming of more challenging days. Existential harmony.
To say I have one favourite artist would be a gross misrepresentation of my wide and maybe even weird music taste. I love a lot of different artists for a lot of different reasons and moods. However. D’Angelo would definitely feature in my top 10 list, top 5 even. He would also definitely feature in that ‘last day on earth’ playlist if I was ever to make one. Supremely talented with godly songwriting skills and the most soothing and soulful voice ever D’Angelo managed to carve such a musical niche that his absence from the music scene for the past decade or so left a hollow place in my heart.
This is one of my favourite D’Angelo songs. This live version is all kinds of magic.
Flava In Ya Ear ( Remix ) - Craig Mack ft Notorious BIG, LL Cool J, Busta Rhymes & Rampage
[ Bad Boy’s 10th Anniversary:The Hits album ]
So in a desperate bid not to do any work, never mind that I was here since 5am, I think Craig Mack’s Flava in your ear - the remix has got to go down as a legendary track. Basically if all the rap stars on this joint were a commando unit they would have a high body count and be responsible for amazing feats. From Easy Mo Bee’s production, Puffy’s music video antics, Funk Master Flex’s cuts, this thing was unstoppable.
Any one opening up their remix with Biggie just ain’t playing.Throw in some LL and the deal is done… (as a teen it helped greatly that the girl dancing next to LL kept flashing her panties too). And then Busta surfaces like a belligerent 1/4 life crisis some where mid mix… Case closed.
This track kicked into the next level with every new voice and no one had an answer to this remix. Actually those spacey sounds in the track were a clue where this track was headed all along. Outer space.
I can’t think of classic hip hop and not think of ODB or Wu Tang. ODB specifically because I just loved his dizzy vibe so much! And how about him bumrushing the stage at the Grammys "I went and bought me an outfit today that costed me a lot of money, because I figured that Wu-Tang was gonna win…Wu-Tang is for the children!" . LOL
[not sure which album it was on, but this cover will do]
It won best rap SAMA!
Hehehe, I’m luuurving all the classic hip hop posts, but last week a friend sent me the link for this song on Youtube. I giggled for about 20 minutes, especially when I repeated it and heard the ‘yooopeee yooopeee yo!’
When we agreed on a theme for the week, I knew I had to post this up.
Dangerous Ground (featuring 50 Grand) by Keith Murray from 1996 of the “Enigma” album was anthem! No doubt! This album was the very first CD i bought! Yes!! Dont front like ya’ll didnt have TDK’s out in this place, trying act all Brand Nu (bian) on a brother, i see you. This was the bomb though!
Big L takes me back to when I was in grade 9 and skating and graffiti was all I loved doing day in and day out. My house was like where everyone met, and my brother and I had a little CD rom which we converted to a CD player with computer speakers for when we wanted to skate outside my house with Mpumelo Macu, Vuyo and the rest of the gang…
"I feel great even though we got mad things to deal with,
Happiness is all in the mind, Let’s unwind, and find a reason to smile,
I’m just glad to be livin’, feelin’ fine, Leavin’ my bad times behind
And no, we can’t escape from the realness,
Happiness is all in the mind, Let’s unwind, and find a reason to smile
I’m just glad to be alive, feelin’ fine Livin’ life one day at a time
It also reminds me of a really cool time in my life. When i was in high school, I’d leave school each day rushing to get on my skateboard. I’d hook up with the Mukheli brothers and another friend of ours and we’d skate all day and spent most of our time doing graffiti.
[ People’s Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm ]
From their debut album in 1990 titled “People’s Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm”. This has to be the ultimate classic jam for the fellas and the ladies! reminds me of Playas Bash 1 and 2! Goodness, those were the days - to think that L-Tido, Moral and the Glitz Gang were all part of the shenanigans out at the Dungeon!! i can hear them shouting “DUNGEON STYLE!!!!”
This has got to be one of the catchiest, bounciest tunes ever bumped out of D&D Studios. For me, classic hip hop will always be synonymous with DJ Premier and this track is a master class in the school of “less is more.” The simple groove is irresistible and you can’t help but nod your head to it.
Das EFX take that beat and ride it with ease and precision. Their unique stiggity-steez has been copied by loads of emcees, but never with the same conviction or fresh attitude. If you drop this on a dance floor you get the ladies and the fellas dancing. And let’s face it, if the ladies aren’t getting down, then your party’s not doep.
"So honeys shake your figures and show me whatcha got (blow the spot) / Das Efx with the Real Hip Hop
For the longest time I didn’t even know what Cap was saying but that beat had my full attention,initially.
Also Kenzhero played this track at all his Party People jams for a number of years, was telling friends just last night its arguably one of the reasons I kept going.Hear this song in a small yet crowded dance floor, smokey enough to add to the song’s general hypnotism.
All I know is that when I heard “The outdoors. The fresh outdoors” that was my cue, BUCKNESS!
Most hip hop diss tracks are filled with anger and palpable hate that almost leaks out the speakers. Not so with Common’s diss track targeting Ice Cube. I’m not sure what started the beef but I do know that Common won this fight with this track. Cool, calm and collected, Common breaks down why exactly Cube is a “bitch” in a laid-back manner. Common’s wit and punchlines are showcased to their true ability when he disses Ice Cube’s label and label mates. Lines like “Hoo-Bangin? You aint banging shit but the table” just make you see Ice Cube’s aggressive and macho posturing for the hip hop façade that it is.
The title track from Outkast’s debut album still gets heavy rotation from me. Outkast for me is one of the dopest and most original hip-hop duos of all time. Andre 3000 has this mystical way with words, I mean the man can do no wrong in my opinion. His rhymes are always dense with the wildest imagery and his use of language both written and verbal is intensely metaphorical. He is in my opinion one of the best lyricists after Biggie.
This is one of my favourite Outkast songs, they sound soooo young but still sooo hot!