Lazy Sunday: 1/27/19

In addition to posting music that I'd put in my rotation on Fridays, I think I’m going to post internet videos/content of note on Sundays. We’ll see how this goes.

First We Feast’s Hot Ones is probably one of my favorite interview shows because of its seemingly simple premise: let’s eat some spicy food and bullshit for 25 minutes. In that simplicity, it makes the interview subjects compellingly vulnerable through the relatable discomfort of biting off more than you can chew. It succeeds in making the interview subjects vulnerable without putting them down. Best of all, the vulnerability is real. The sweat, discomfort, the pure heat is honest.

In a world where interview shows seem so manufactured and/or sanitized for the benefit of sponsors, where you get systematic and forced fun out of Jimmy Fallon and Ellen Degeneres—Hot Ones occupies a space more akin to Graham Norton’s eccentric-yet-casual fun.

I’m glad to see that they were able to open their most recent season with an increasingly uncomfortable Gordon Ramsay, who was entertainingly prepared for the task at hand.

There’s something entrancing about watching artists go through their creative process, and with this vide, it’s simply a lot of fun to watch artists react to each others’ work. All of these producers are given a short music excerpt that they’re tasked to sample and build a song with. Each of these musicians has a wildly different style, and it’s worth hearing how a 15 second piano riff could be manipulated in different ways. Andrew Huang seems to have a knack for creating music from places you wouldn’t expect it.

Also on the subject of flipping samples, Mass Appeal has had a long running series featuring hip-hop producers grabbing three random vinyl records and having them create a beat from those records. It’s particularly thrilling when you see a producer grab a record that seems like there’s no way to find anything worth sampling, and then they quickly build a hot joint off of it.

I lost my Game Boy when I was a kid, but I still remember how iconic of a gaming device it was. There’s something incredibly serene about watching The Retro Future refurbish broken Game Boys. He has recently branched out into refurbishing Walkmen, and has done refurbishments of other gaming controllers, as well. That being said, if you enjoy seeing the inner workings of retro electronics or if you enjoy the simplicity of seeing neglected electronics getting cleaned up, this is a lovely series to watch.

I’m writing this the day after NXT TakeOver, and just hours before WWE’s Royal Rumble. Given my proclivities toward scripted combat, I’d be remiss not to reference it at least once on this list today. Josiah Williams has made a name for himself by flipping various wrestler entrance songs and laying verses down over those beats. In his most recent edition, he raps over the entrance music for Matt Riddle, who is coming fresh off of the independent wrestling circuit and had a heated match at last night’s TakeOver event.

I Should Start DJing Again

There was a brief time when I DJ’d at a local hookah bar. Life happened and then I stopped.

I’ve gone through a few different DJ controllers, and I almost sold the Reloop Mixon 4 that I’d gotten the other year. On a whim, I decided not to sell it. Maybe it was because the resale value didn’t seem worth it, maybe it was because I figured I didn’t get to really use it to its full potential. In any case, I really want to start DJing again. The more I DJ, the more I’m inspired to write my own music.

So, here we are. I want to DJ again, but I don’t really listen to a lot of radio stuff, and I need to stay somewhat up-to-speed on what the hot new-new is. I’mma do my best to post a handful of new-to-me and generally-new joints every week, okay? Cool.

The Warm-Ups

I’m naturally drawn to hip-hop sounds that hearken back to my childhood. That being said, I wouldn’t expect these late 90s vibes to come out of Nottingham, UK. I’m not much for the trap sound, unless it’s real good, or if I’m in a particular mood for a Migos joint. Juga-Naut is a UK-based rapper and producer, and I’m a sucker for a decent flow over some sweeping strings and a throwback bassline. I’m getting Camp-Lo vibes on this one.

Juga-Naut: Bandcamp | Instagram | Twitter | Spotify | Apple Music

Another one for the warm-up set. I don’t know much about Zock. In fact, I don’t know much about a lot of the artists I’m stumbling upon, except that I’m really into the sound. I like to keep the warm-up parts of a DJ set pretty chill, but the kind of thing that you can have a conversation over while getting your first couple drinks. This song does just that.

Zock: SoundCloud | Spotify | Apple Music

Little Simz made it onto my best of 2018 list. Given that the first joint I featured was from a Nottingham rapper/producer, Zock is from Spain, and Little Simz hails from London, I’m really into some Euro-vibes right now. I can’t sleep on what they’re doing on the other side of the Atlantic.

Little Simz: SoundCloud | Twitter | Spotify | Apple Music

The Bops

2 Chainz is starting 2019 strowng. The Ghost Town DJs into is a bit of a swerve, but it’s refreshing as hell to hear a mainstream rapper like 2 Chainz do something relatively stripped down but is still a banger. The being said, I’m kinda stoked that he sampled this gem from 2009:

I’m really into this. Really, really into this. Also, I can’t help but hear the influence that Outkast’s “Spottieottiedopalicious” had on this, from the bassline to the last little sax riff toward the end of the track. For those not super familiar with the Outkast joint, firstly, shame on you, secondly, maybe you’ll remember it from Beyonce’s “Flawless”. Either way, I wasn’t expecting a couple white kids from Chicago to be reminding me of Outkast.

Wild Belle: SoundCloud | Twitter | Instagram | Spotify | Apple Music

Aminé dropped this one a couple weeks ago, and I’ve steadily been into it. Maybe it’s the casual interpolation of Justin Timberlake’s hook from “Signs”, or that the beat slaps while being super chill? Whatever it is, it makes me hate living in Portland a little less.

Aminé: SoundCloud | Twitter | Instagram | Spotify | Apple Music

I always loved the Godzilla sample on the original iteration of “Simon Says”, but I also really love this drum-n-bass take on it that I can’t help but want to spin this and drop it on a crowded dance floor to see a bunch of people get mad ignorant.

Bryx: SoundCloud | Instagram | Spotify | Apple Music

Dance Flow

Disco/funk vibes are timeless. The thing that seals the deal for me is that disco piano on the low-end of the sonic spectrum. I’mma drive a little deeper into this Los Angeles-based funk band. They kinda remind me of Escort, and well, a lot of classic disco/funk bands like Chic and anything else Nile Rodgers ever touched.

Orgone: SoundCloud | Twitter | Instagram | Spotify | Apple Music

80s-inspired funk? Let’s do this! Swedish pop-disco can’t go wrong. Following in the lineage of Robyn and The Cardigans, Hips is coming strong with fun, dancy, retro-inspired pop and I’m here for it.

Hips: SoundCloud | Instagram | Spotify | Apple Music

Pretty much, I feel like once I start DJing again, I think I’ll hit my stride once I get into the disco portion of my set. In this case, we’ve got some more Euro-dance vibes with Jerry Folk, a young producer from Norway. Seems like this kid is gonna make some waves this year. I’ll be staying tuned to see what he’s bringing to the table.

Jerry Folk: SoundCloud | Instagram | Spotify | Apple Music

Blogging Today.

There has been a phrase that I’ve been somewhat obsessed with for the past week. The truth is, I think I’ve been thinking of this phrase for years, but I haven’t made it a point to really meditate upon it for the last week. That phrase is:

What’s your story?

To be honest, I’ve never been able to really answer this. Not for anyone else, but more importantly, not to myself.

The reason that I’ve been really thinking hard about this phrase is because I’ve really wanted to make it a point to start blogging again. On top of that, I’ve wanted to start shooting video more often. I’ve done music my whole life. I’ve been shooting photos for the past several years. Video is a bit of a new frontier to me, and it excites me.

I’m hedging on 35. I’ve been blogging since I was in high school. Motherfucking high school. I’m talking about Free Open Diary. Then LiveJournal in college. Then MySpace. Then Blogspot. Then…look, if there was a platform, I was there.

My blogging hit its absolute peak in the early years of Tumblr. I was a 20-something drunk and I felt like I could just blog about anything I wanted. But since I was generally blogging in a wildly altered state, I don’t really feel like I can look back at that and say that it was quality blogging or a format or modus operandi that would work for me today. It’s not something that I could at least take pride in today.

All I know is that there’s something that I want to express, but I don’t really know what it is. It’s been like this for the past several years. It’s weird to live a life where there’s something constantly on the tip of your tongue but you’ve forgotten what you were going to say.

So, the thing that really helps ground my focus, especially as I start taking steps toward blogging/blogging is the phrase: What’s your story?

Social media, for the most part, is a vanity project. I can accept that. What I cannot accept is that it is largely used as a tool to showcase a highly-edited version of everyone’s idealized life. The toxic aspect of social media creates this need to draw the comparisons of the quality of your own life to a life that is presented to you. That makes me feel pretty shitty when I realize that the peak of my blogging popularity was when I was drunk 95% of the time…but when I get real, no one really cares.

Moving forward, I just want to showcase portions of a real life, whatever that looks like. I just want actual authenticity. Life is hard, and the hard things tend to yield some meaningful rewards in the long run.

The point is, I think somewhere along the way, I forgot how to express myself in a meaningful way on a regular basis. I want to get back to that.