Metro: US hip hop mixtapes

Here's a round up of US hip hop mixtapes that I penned for today's Metro. I can't recommend the Jazzy Jeff/Mick Boogie mixtape enough. It's done the rounds of my friends, and their friends, and their friends, and it's a unanimous WIN.



DJ Jazzy Jeff & Mick Boogie: Summertime

Asher Roth & DJ Wreckineyez: Seared Foie Gras

Das Racist: Shut Up, Dude
Mishka/Greedhead Entertainment

The Hood Internet: The Trillwave

There’s something about summer that suits hip-hop mixtapes, maybe it’s summer’s fun, carefree spirit or barbecues needing a soundtrack as this selection of free downloadable mixtapes, highlights.

Ohio mixtape maestro Mick ‘The Commissioner’ Boogie and exalted DJ/producer Jazzy Jeff’s Summertime (www.undrcrwn.com/summertime) is a 70-minute, 49-track mixtape encompassing blissful hip-hop, sweltering soul, lazy funk and sultry R&B.

Opening with original songs sampled in hip hop anthems (the psych-funk of Quincy Jones’ Summer In The City is the basis of Pharcyde’s Passin Me By), Summertime revisits vintage hip hop including Ice Cube’s languid g-funk, A Tribe Called Quest’s bright and breezy jazz-rap, and Black Moon’s combo of dreamy production and punchy rhymes. Seductive R&B (Montell Jordan, Jodeci), iconic soul (Dionne Warwick, Maze), and early- Michael Jackson, melt into the heady mix. Summertime’s nostalgic but so is summer, it’s also edutaining, brimming with timeless music and shows hip-hop’s golden age was built on sturdy foundations provided by the 24-carat era of American black music that came before it.

Hip-hop freshman Asher Roth revels in his outsider status as a ‘burb-raised, graduate rapper. Roth’s Seared Foie Gras mixtape with DJ Wreckineyez (asherrothmusic.com/#/exclusive) consolidates his wisecracking, prep-rap persona, as he takes on instrumentals by Madlib, RZA, Pharrell, J Dilla and Just Blaze, and veers between deadpan funnyman, and insightful analyzer: Con-Fid-ence switches from eulogizing getting high to achieving goals to celebrating humanity as one. SFG shows how mixtapes can offer more of an appreciation of an MC’s character and prowess than a commercial release, and shows off a witty, accomplished MC, with a broad frame of reference (James and The Giant Peach, Buddha, Dr Octagon). However, it seems Asher’s caught between being the hip-hop boffin and playing the class joker – he is, of course, more than capable of balancing both.

Brooklyn trio Das Racist, Himanshu Suri, Victor Vazquez and Ashok Kondabolu, has stirred the Stateside music press and bloggers-nest with hipster dude-rap (breakout hit Combination Pizza Hut and Taco Bell, is two stoners shouting, ‘I’m at the Pizza Hut’ ‘I’m at the Taco Bell’). Debut mixtape, Shut Up, Dude, (dasracist.net) is a curious blend of more brainless rap (Chicken & Meat), commentary disguised as torrents of consciousness and genuinely funny efforts such as Fake Patois, highlighting affected Jamaican accents from Jay Z to Jim Carrey. Das Racist’s frame of reference is far broader than most hip-hop thanks to their Indian and Cuban/Italian heritage – they must surely be the only rappers to reference Nehru, Gandhi, Maya Angelou, MoMA and rapper Bow Wow in a single (Hugo Chavez)? The debate as to whether Das Racist is ‘retardo’ (their own words), a joke or something more meaningful continues to rage…

The Trillwave (www.thehoodinternet.com) is a 25-track strong, hour mixtape of subtle, considered mash ups. As with most mash ups, there’s no middle ground, it’s either a fail or works spectacularly well: Southern rapper Mike Jones’ slurry drawl strangely suits Air’s soporific La Femme D’Argent, Ice Cube meets Ibiza as It Was A Good Day is spliced with CFCF’s spaced out Balearica, and Gucci Mane’s bling-thug style fits Lindstrom and Christabelle’s glossy disco. Alt.rapper DOOM’s macabre tale of falling for a girl missing a chromosome to an eerie Flaming Lips backdrop, and conscious hip-hop saviour Jay Electronica’s thoughtful reflections dovetail with Toro Y Mos’ floaty hip-hoptronica, open up a world of possibilities. In this age of unusual collaborations and crossovers, perhaps these combinations aren’t so far fetched.


Flying Lotus - new single/video/UK dates

Flying Lotus is a total genius and all round nice guy. I've had the pleasure to interview him twice and what a gent and all round interesting, spiritual and open minded guy.

Here's his MmmHmmm music video. Blurb/dates etc... below

A second cut from his self-proclaimed “space opera” Cosmogramma, MmmHmm features renowned bassist Thundercat (Sa-Ra Collective, Erykah Badu, Suicidal Tendencies), who contributes vocals as well as bass to this sublime track and also stars in the video. Directed by Special Problems and commissioned by Warp Films. 'Mmmmhmmm' is out August 16th.



Three very different and special London shows in a week – two of which are already sold out – we are delighted to now announce the full line-up of future-bass leading lights for the Brainfeeder club night, (curated personally by Flylo) which opens the series. To refresh your memory, Brainfeeder will take place at Hearn St. car park on Saturday 14th of August:

Kutmah – Amazingly the first ever London show for the UK-born Kutmah, one of the most influential and accomplished DJs and inspirations in the LA scene and key contributor to the renowned nights Sketch Book at Little Temple and Low End Theory at Airliner.

Lorn (LIVE) – After the massive response to his début album Nothing Else (the second release and first ever full length album on Flying Lotus' Brainfeeder imprint), Lorn appears for the first time in London with a new live show.

Actress (LIVE) – Representing this side of the Atlantic, London’s Darren Cunningham is likely to air cuts from his thrillingly innovative second LP Splazsh and the stunning début Hazyville.

Kode 9 – Hyperdub label boss. Needs no introduction!

Teebs (LIVE) – Debut London show after his amazing live contribution to this year’s Brainfeeder Radio 4/20. Will soon release his début album on the Brainfeeder label.

Dr Strangeloop (LIVE) – Having released a mini-album of electronic psychedelics Are We Lost Mammals of an Approaching Transcendental Epoch? on Brainfeeder, Strangeloop (Dave Wexler) is also a long-term visual collaborator with Flying Lotus, performing Heaven & Earth Magic with FlyLo at the Tate Modern (16th) as well as Brainfeeder on this trip.



Saturday 14 August

Flying Lotus presents BRAINFEEDER

@ Hearn St Car Park, 9-5am

Flying Lotus (live)
Lorn (live)
Actress (live)
Teebs (live)
Dr Strangeloop (live)
+ special guests

Tickets available now at Bleep.com / Seetickets


Monday 16 August

Flying Lotus LIVE FILM SCORE: Harry Smith’s HEAVEN & EARTH MAGIC (1962)

@ Tate Modern Starr Auditorium


Wednesday 18 August

Flying Lotus presents INFINITY

@ Institute of Contemporary Arts

Featuring contributors and players from Cosmogramma including:


Miguel Atwood-Ferguson

Ravi Coltrane

Rebekah Raff

… and more

Mumdance releases killer mixtape: Different Circles

So Mumdance is a name you're probably familiar with if you're into grime, funky, or Mad Decent-style global ghetto dance music. I had the fortune of interviewing him for his biog notes and Jack is a top top lad, who's genuine in his passion and commitment to cross fertilise sounds and styles.

He's the man behind Jammer's 10 Man Roll and has loads of music coming out in the next few months including an EP on Mad Decent and a killer Trim/Jammer collab on No Hats No Hoods.

Here's his Different Circles Mixtape - which is actually a great taster of what he's all about as it's 17 of his past, present and future riddims. And bwoy are they dancefloor!

Blurb here:

Mumdance - Different Circles the Mixtape

Mumdance's Different Circles mixtape is a mission statement confirming his kaleidoscopic tastes. With 17 original productions spanning ethnic tinged drum funk woven into 1980's synth-pop, Balearic-tinged minimal techno, Baltimore gutter colliding with grime, calypso, tribal guarachero & his very own home grown genre, 'kerplunk'

Collated as a pre cursor to his Forthcoming "Mum Decent EP on Mad Decent (Released August 23rd) as well as showcasing a host of other releases on Trouble & Bass, No Hats No Hoods & Big Dada, this is a definitive guide to whats next.

Featuring Vocals from Esser, Trim, Jammer, Mc Sparks & Kie, Badness & Boy Better Know, as well as collaborations with Drums of Death, Shortstuff & Brackles, Toy Selectah & AC Slater

(Zut) Alors on Danse

Originally blogged on this three weeks ago - single's out on September 5th and so is the LP.

Weird. But good. Press release here:

Even more remarkable, he created his buzz when filming homemade ‘lessons in how to make a hit’ for his Youtube channel, starting in January 2009 (‘Les Leçon De Stromae’ or ‘Stromae’s Lessons’). Lesson no. 8 ‘Alors On Dance’ became a viral sensation and then a real hit on Europe’s radio airwaves, getting to no.1 across the continent and running up 7 million Youtube plays.

It started when the internet excitement from his music production Youtube shows caught the attention of DJ Julie on the dance specialist NRJ Mash Up Show of France’s biggest radio station in June 2009. Getting rave reactions on the specialist show it was moved to playlist rotation proper and from there it shot to no.1 in both France and Germany.

French language blog Fluo Kids described ‘Alors on Danse’ as like ‘Calabria X tranxene’. ‘Calabria’ referring to Alex Gaudino’s 2007 dance hit and tranxene referring to the anti-depressant pills proscribed for anxiety.

Stromae (born Paul Van Haver) fits his smart stream of consciousness lyrics into dance music. He has reimagined the sound of his native Belgium’s late 80’s New Beat. Groups like Snap! And Technotronic produced worldwide hit records by retooling Chicago house with European je ne sais quoi.

Stromae’s has had the first #1 single in Germany in the French language since 1988. With English speaking clubs and blogs worldwide already heating up for ‘Alors On Danse’ this product of global list of influences could end up sitting on a global hit.

ProGreen Launch Party

Live PA from last night's Pro Green launch party - as Ara Jump Off has been tweeting, it's overly emotional to see how far Steve has come since being Jump Off champ around four/five years ago. Good to see natural talent succeeding, kind of restores your faith in the sometimes grossly unfair music industry.

Brassroots - new band alert and dates

Here's the press blurb:


An illicit love triangle between Michael Jackson, Gnarls Barkely, and a trombone.....

An 8- piece horn and percussion ensemble born on the streets of East London, Brassroots oozes a groove and energy fed by musicians from a England, Israel, France, Greece & America.

With the noble aim of re-establishing a flourishing brass band scene in London, the group has unleashed knock-out shows at Scala, Glastonbury, Secret Garden Party and an amazing 7 shows at Bestival. Continuing to blaze a trail through the London music scene in less than a year of existence, Brassroots have already earned radio play on BBC Radio 1 with Rob da Bank and plan a full world takeover by next year. Witness the start of the revolution!

Leaving fans screaming at the top or their lungs for more is the calling card of Brassroots, who are poised to bring a brand new energy and appeal to the hugely under-rated genre of Brass music.

Brass bands are cool again. You heard it here first.

Additional Tour Dates: (details & ticket info at www.myspace.com/brassroots)
23rd July Secret Garden Party Festival Cambridge Midnight
24th July Tramlines Festival Sheffield 2pm
28th July Pure Torquay Cornwall 11.30pm
29th July Ride Plymouth 8pm
30th July The Koola Newquay Midnight
31st July The Watering Hole Cornwall 3pm
6th August Hootananny, Brixton London 9pm
11th August Rich Mix, Bethnal Green London 7.30pm
11-12th Sept Bestival Isle of Wight 7.30opm & 8pm respectively
www.myspace.com/brassroots // http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iC1_8HOr47s


Jay Electronica in Nepal II

The more I see and hear from Jay Electronica, the more excited I get. True-school hip hop is coming back. If you haven't downloaded his Victory mixtape, do it, do it, do it - it's my most listened to record of '10.


Rusko - Hold On

Rusko - Hold On (feat. Amber Coffman) from Mad Decent on Vimeo.

Controversial stuff - this vid has been banned by MTV and Youtube. The documentary style video was shot over a hectic 5-day period during Rusko’s recent UK tour. Currently banned by MTV and removed from YouTube.

The single – which features vocals from Amber Coffman of Dirty Projectors and remixes by Sub Focus, 12th Planet and Tom Stephan – is released on 12th July via Mad Decent.

Rusko returns to the UK this August to perform at Creamfields and Reading & Leeds festivals.