Home > 2012, dancehall, hip hop, House > Picks of the week 10/7/12

Picks of the week 10/7/12

I’ve been needing to get back into writing and I feel a little guilty about my record habit these days. so I figured I’d offer some words. Every week I’ll pull records that really did it for me, the records that really make me happy that I’m a digger. Old and new, from jazz to cumbia to house to genres too new for names – here’s to new beginnings.

Pulled from a trip to Amoeba and an order from Chemical Records.

Nas – Life is Good (Def Jam, 2012.)Yo! Pick of the Week!

If at any given time you ask me what my favorite album of all time is, without hesitation the answer will be either A Love Supreme or Illmatic. And that’s really the deal with Nas; although wayward since the mid 90s, he has that intangible ability to transcend the medium and connect on a spiritual level. The man has conviction in his voice, and whether he is offering a tmi confessional on a track like “Daughters” or talking tough hood tales on “No Introduction,” Nas sounds relevant and hungry, just like he did back in the day. Aside from the reinvigorated Nas, the production on this record also embodies the updated take on gritty NY tracks of the golden age. Defiantly not settling into trap tropes, drug hymns, or cloud aesthetics, Salaam Remi and No ID assert their vision of classic NY hip hop instrumentals with mafioso strings, dusty drums, and forlorn soul samples. Almost every track features live instrumentation, from clarinet to drums to a full orchestra section, creating an earthy vibe that parallel’s the humanity in Nas’ voice.

KW Griff – Bring in the Katz (ft. Pork Chop) b/w L-Vis 1990 Dub (Night Slugs, 2012)

This track is absolutely huge. A pretty minimal track with huge subs and swagger that do little to betray the streets of Baltimore. Although almost 15 years old, this record is just as heavy today with its few elements creating an incredible swell of tension. It’s literally sub, clap, monotone synth tone, a dusty break and… well, fucking Pork Chop. Chop is unbelievable, this guy absolutely dominates, taking center stage and acting as a ring leader for Griff’s booty bass party. Yo, and do I have to mention his shoutout to Big L? I’ve been salivating over this track ever since it showed up in a few mixes over the summer and I’m happy to finally have it. Close runner up to pick of the week.

Vybz Kartel – Kingston Story: Deluxe Edition (Mixpak/Vice, 2012)

To start, this has been my hype music as I get ready to go out for the past few months. Rude, raunchy, seeped in autotune and loaded with trunk rattle, this is still totally different from what we’re used to hearing on American Radio. At first listen I didn’t get it, the vocals were autotuned deep into the red and the beats were stadium ready – not my typical fare. But the riddims called to me, Dre Skull hits hard and swings low. This is dancehall for 2012, simple and effective, subheavy low end and instrumentation to compliment the vocalist. But for being simple, Dre Skull really has a talent for production, whether its crafting P.Diddy action movie club tracks (“Go Go Wine“), g-funked Stepper’s tracks (“Money“) or sneaking a little extra hype to a Vybz-minded Lover’s track (“Half on a Baby“). Like all Dancehall before it, the music is all about the swagger of the riddims, the voicings come second and it’s up to the vocalist to propel the hype – to take the party and the dancers further. It’s not possible to go through more than a couple of tracks of this album without some freak dancing going on, trust.

Joe – MB b/w Studio Power On (Hemlock, 2012)

This funky little track starts off a lot like a 70s European jazzfunk groove – simple electric keyboard groove, funky guitar picking, and out of the way and in the pocket drumming. And then the bass line comes in. This is a fat, full, throbbing bassline from the oh so present. You really need to hear this on vinyl and nice speakers to get the full experience. “MB” could’ve been made by any of the great jazz influenced Detroit guys (Theo, Andres, KDJ) making dance tracks today, but it was made by some weirdo out of the UK. Seriously, THAT BASS. Also, check out Joe’s unbelievable remix of Scuba’s “So You Think You’re Special” from a while back.

L-Vis 1990 – Forever You (ft. Shadz) b/w Reprise (Night Slugs, 2010)

I heard this track on a mix a while back and I finally got around to picking it up. I’m not really big into vocal tracks, but Shadz has a really wonderful voice and excellent delivery. L-Vis 1990’s production is a perfect match to the soulful vocals, balancing the beautiful divide between melancholy and jubilant. This track is simply fresh and fun. It’s a really versatile mid-tempo funky house groove, expect to hear me play it out quite often.

Trackman Lafonte & Bonquiqui – Pacific House (L.I.E.S., 2012)

Simply wonderful analog house and techno. “Pacific House” is the huge jam on here, it perfectly embodies the tongue-in-cheek “surfer house” genre with its warm summery synth lines and playful vocal samples. This is real deal, Cali vibes boombox dance music. Perfect for a backyard party, skate park sesh or spliff on the porch – this 12″ is a big win. Don’t get it twisted, the silly monikers only add to the goofy vibes that producers Legowelt and Xosar are dealing in. Both producers craft marvelous retro-leaning/forward-facing analog house and techno like only few effectively do. Apparently this project was born out of the challenge to create music with third-rate Casio keyboards, I say give me more.

Categories: 2012, dancehall, hip hop, House
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