Beats And Rhymes
All links in this article have been redacted since original publication because all these groups are awesome.
So, you’re throwing a little end-of-summer party and you want everything to be just right. You spent all day yesterday cleaning your shit (cot damn, you really should scrub the floor behind your toilet more often), stocked your fridge with nothing but green bottles (Heineken and Tanqueray), and pulled out your only-wear-twice-a-year 1976 Nikes with the gold swoosh. You’ve got a few hours to kill before cats’ll start showing up, so while you wait for your Buck 65 baseball shirt to dry, you start putting together tonight’s playlist. You’ve been talking to this bird lately who’s coming through, and you know she’s up on her music, so you’re hoping to mix it up with some stuff she knows and loves, and a few joints she’ll have to ask you about. May I make a few suggestions?
First, you’ll need some hype Cali summer spirit. L’Roneous is a good choice. I’ve been talking about this cat for years, and with good reason. He’s got one of the most engaging voices in rap music, and an incredible new EP. You’re also gonna wanna throw Zion I’s new one, Curb Servin’, on there. These cats keep dropping doper shit each time out. A couple of compilations will help you get a variety of sounds, like Mike Nardone’s extremely good We Came From Beyond 2 (Razor & Tie) and Knock Twice, a collection of some of Cali’s super-underground’s finest.
For a bit of a darker, more complex feel, you’ll need some of that gritty NY head rap. You just picked up C Rayz Walz’s Ravipops, Angels & Insects, Brother Ali’s Shadows on the Sun, and your new favorite shit, No Surrender’s White Power Black Magic. Oh yeah, don’t forget Sensational’s new (fifth!) one, Natural Shine.
You got a couple of solid new mixtapes you might as well have ready just to make life a little easier: Blazin’, from the winner of the Best DJ Name Award, Skratch Bastid; Backyard Bangers’ Pardon My French; and Homonym & Tyrant’s All Mixed Up will all do the trick.
You now have the rap shit covered. Now you need a sweet playlist of dope beats for later in the night when the drugs are wearing off and you’re lazin’ around on your roof smoking kill with a few people (and hopefully that bird), watching the sun come up. You start with Omid’s (O.D.) Distant Drummer, then you grab some stuff off Req’s Car Paint Scheme and Prefuse 73’s Extinguished: Outtakes. Shit, don’t forget about Science Fiction’s Walls Don’t Exist, A Grape Dope’s Missing Dragons (Galaxia), and Spectre’s Psychic Wars.
So, there it is––you’re a few gulps in and it’s coming together nicely. Before you grab a quick shower, you round out your playlist with some cuts from the following: Jon Doe Meet Jon Doe, Idiom Creak Jet Powered Monkey
Navigated, Jack Cracker Hats Off, Beneath Autumn Sky Enki Du’s Mono, Phife “U Know U Want It,” Onry Ozzborn The Grey Area, Subtitle I’m Always Recovering From Tomorrow, Lightheaded Pure Thoughts, AD Misguided Recordings, Cashew Fenny Brought to You by Stacs of Stamina, Stark Reality Now, Sharpshooters Twice as Nice, Snafu Time Capsule, More or Les Only Stop for Red Ants, and Tableturns State of the World (Tableturns).
So there you have it. Everybody had fun, you didn’t scuff up your kicks, the sky is pretty, she’s staying over, and there’s even a bit of gin left. You don’t have to thank me. It’s my pleasure.
Top Nine (in no particular order)