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EMPT Classic: The New York Groove Mix by Barry Poppins & Falcon Punch

I’ve been in the concrete jungle for a few weeks now with an entire month to go. The weather has been a fart sound. The people are on permanent red alert, darting up and down the street going nowhere fast. The trains are packed like sardines. What is it about this place that’s awesome again? I kid, I love visiting NYC, key word visiting. It’s one of a kind, vibrant with endless possibilities. It’s home but the truth is this city has changed so much it’s only a shell of its former self. The days of Andy Warhol, Basquiat, Downtown 81, Zoo York and the energy that made Hip Hop are long gone. NYC is due for a new renaissance and when that happens, truss me daddi I’ll be the first one here.

In the meantime, I’m reposting one my favorite EMPT Exclusives by former EMPT writer Barry Poppins as an ode to the beautiful city that once was.

Originally Published April 1, 2014

I’m not guilty
You’re the one who’s guilty
The lawmakers and politicians
The Colombian druglords
All you who lobby against making drugs legal
Just like you did with alcohol during the prohibition
You’re the one who’s guilty 
-Nino Brown, New Jack City (1991)

There are several things that I realize and think about every day. They’re all mostly spurred by the fact that I reside in and remain prideful of New York City, but they have to do with all facets of life. Today, I thought for a long time about the history of Ancient Egyptians. Many find the idea of Ancient Egypt extremely fascinating. It’s not even just Ancient Egyptians that have a rich history, but any culture that dates back to ancient times. When we really think about it, any culture that exists successfully today, is because of a struggle in the past. And while that is true for many, only some rise above to further expand on that name that their ancestors fought for.

When I think of societies that have conquered all to rise above, I can’t help but think of New York City. I could say that I’m biased, but even if I didn’t live here and even if I wasn’t such a proud born and practically raised New Yorker, I would still look at this city in awe as so many people do from other parts of the country and world. The city itself is built on precarious grounds, both physically and metaphorically. Everything about its history is evident in the way it carries itself every single day. No matter how many skyscrapers go up, no matter how many condos replace artist lofts, and no matter how many expensive urban organic markets try to weasel their way into my food loving heart, there’s always that organic flavor that seeps up through the cracks of the slightly slanted sidewalks, that remind us that we are walking on greatness. Every single day that I walk out of my apartment and onto my charming little block in Brooklyn, into the subway and onto the island of Manhattan, I remember that this city is also inevitably going to sink. And that makes me feel very real. Because that sinking, the fact that the end is always in sight even if it’s not exactly clear when, is a constant reality check. Maybe that’s just one reason for why we are such a rare and strange breed of human, here in New York.

This exclusive mix from our friends over at Weedmaps, speaks to all of these special little quirks that I’ve highlighted. It’s a beautifully real combination of human beings doing incredible things, and a classic style that is what so many have come to think of when they think of New York’s scene. It’s a unique and emotional roller coaster of the struggles, the joys, the beauty, and the ugliness, all at once. And those qualities, too, are what make this city so difficult and yet, so right, for so many people. Nearly every single one of us who lives here can emotionally relate to the fact that there ain’t no love in the heart of the city, and that it ain’t all good, and that’s the truth. 

You can stream below if you’re at work, or save it for later if you want to dance and love on this for the rest of your days.


1. Woody Allen – Manhattan
2. Gil Scott Heron – New York City
3. Roy Ayres – We Live In Brooklyn Baby
4. Walt Clyde Frazier – Acrobatic
5. Odyssey – Hang Together
6. Rayko – Broadway
7. Nino Brown – Aint No Uzis Made in Harlem
8. Bobby Womack – Across 110th Street
9. Digable Planets – Graffiti
10. NAS – NY State of Mind
11. De La Soul – All Good
12. Bobby ‘Blue’Band – Ain’t No Love (RollerRadio Edit)
13. Susanne Vega – Tom’s Diner
14. Boney M – New York City
15. Bill Withers – Harlem
16. Lou Reed – Take a Walk on the Wild Side
17. Stevie Wonder – Living for the City
18. Kiss – Back in the New York Groove

Metallica – Master of Puppets

I saw Baby Metal last night. Yes, that’s the Japanese girl metal band that sounds like Metallica had a baby with Korn who had a baby with 90s Anime theme song music.

Everything about them is pure blasphemy but let me tell you something you old jaded haters, it was absolutely lit. Had I not been with label people I would have been right there in the mosh pit. A true rock & roll concert, believe it or not. Awesome, alive, anarchy.

It was the most mixed crowd I’ve seen in a long time. Very few bystanders, no one was too cool to get down It made me think of just how cool change is. When people think of the future they do it in terms of what they already know. Babymetal makes absolutely no sense. It’s rooted in the past which is awesome but no one on earth could have predicted 3 teenage Japanese girls would be selling out shows playing this culture clashing version of metal. That unpredictability is wonderful.

One of my biggest ongoing battles with my friends is getting to accept the music world beyond what has already been validated or nostalgic. They see music for it’s details and technicality instead of it’s energy.

My life is so co-dependent on music that I don’t really have the luxury most people have with music. That is, I can’t get comfortable with the music I grew up with. I can never indulge in the comfort of nostalgia or say things like the “music from back in the day was so much better.” I have to know what’s going on, feel it like someone who loves it and most importantly be there. If you talk about how much you don’t like Playboi Carti and haven’t been to one of his shows then your opinion is fluff. Same goes for this very strange Japanese metal band I saw last night. You have to be there to see the absolute madness the music brings out in people. The details make no sense. The energy is as clear as day.

It’s really good to see Metal coming back in the stream. In the age of social justice warriors and trigger warnings we need something hard. I realize many have no idea what I’m talking about which is why I’m posting Master of Puppets, one of the greatest metal song of all time.

Whose your master? These days our strings are pulled by so many hands. Be it money, drugs, celebrities internet ghettos like Facebook, nanny state governments, our jobs, relationships, you name it. Every where you turn someone wants your mind. Companies want you to define yourself through their ideals and on and on.

Master of puppets
 I’m pulling your strings
Twisting your mind and smashing your dreams

Blinded by me
You can’t see a thing
Just call my name ’cause I’ll hear you scream… Master!”

First you have to call your master by name. Then you have to cut the strings and be your own ruler. Once again, this is not bystander, sit around like a vegetable music. To quote Samuel Adams –

If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace.”

The animated contest of liberty. Man that’s fu&%king poetry, beautiful humanity. This is for the strong-willed whose fire is the flame of rebellion. Those who are not ruled. That’s the energy, enjoy.

Rain Man – Bring Back The Summer (INSTRUM Remix)

Summer used to mean a lot of things to me.  I used to call it “freedom”, freedom from school, freedom from the long Winter, freedom to let loose, but now I realize that I am more free than I have ever been in my entire life.  I have a baby, I am single, working, so wouldn’t that mean I feel trapped, that all my freedom has disappeared, that my entire life revolves around her?  Yes, my entire life does in fact revolve around her, but her life is so innocent, so new, and so free.  I get to start over with my little angel, I sort of feel reborn in a sense, the way we feel the moment Summer starts, like we have a new beginning with endless possibilities, we feel like children, no one can judge us, we peel off the layers and we are as naked as we were the moment we entered this world.  That’s what Summer is to me, that’s what having a child is, it’s freedom, it’s adventure, it’s endless possibilities that you both get to create together without anyone else telling you how to do it.

I think it’s time to start peeling off those layers if you haven’t started to already, prepare for the Summer, for what freedom means to you and the endless possibilities within it’s meaning.

INSTRUM has done a beautiful job of giving me the energy in this track to peel off my layers and let the cold months melt away with ease. INSTRUM has made a name for himself with his tropical deep house tunes, but for his latest remix he decided to switch it up completely. Drawing influence from artists such as NGHTMRE and Vanic, INSTRUM has gone the future bass realm with this new remix of Rain Man’s “Bring Back The Summer”.

I’ve got some adventures to start planning with my babe so press play and I’ll catch you all later.

Xavier Dunn – Scattered (Feki Remix)

You don’t find yourself, you create yourself. This whole thing about being the same forever is non-sense. It’s a cognitive-bias we hold on to because we like the comfort of familiarity. But growth doesn’t come in that place, it happens in transition. Think about it. You didn’t grow while you were in a bad situation, you grew after it. As hard as it was to move on, that’s what needed to happen and you’re better because of it. It’s nearly impossible to see that in the moment but intensely clear in hindsight. Now, you might have regrets that things didn’t work out but that’s a different story.

Cause I don’t wanna lose you just because you’re in my past.”

That’s a powerful lyric. Being the concept romantic that I am, my mind went to a thousand places when I heard it.

The truth is very few people actually know your past. Usually, it’s your family, that’s it. Others come and go, in and out of our lives during certain periods. The opinions we formulate on people are based on limited time frames. On top of that, the interactions are usually limited in scope, usually involving few others. The point is, when we speak of people’s past, we’re for the most part talking non-sense. We refer to our minds movie, in which we played the starring role and dominated the perspective. I don’t and wouldn’t claim to know any of my friends. Not only would that be unfair to their growth and limitless capabilities, it would also set me up for a massive let down. Better to be good at riding waves…

Anytime I win I go back to zero, I won’t forget myself.
Anytime I win I go back to zero, had to reset myself.
Channeling the waves…” – Che Lingo

I’ll be honest, I’m not into sad sounding music these days. I recently learned to travel past clouds in my mind. So when anything or anyone tries to take me to stormy weather I jet the other way tell them…

First I drop my top aye, then I swerve my coupe aye
Counting all these bands aye, Who the f$%k are you aye? – Lil Uzi Vert

But Feki caught the vibe with this one. Xavier Dunn hit the nail on the head. There’s no reason to bring the past into the future. Instead of making a new movie, you’re just pressing replay on an old one. Enjoy.

Andrew Luce & Graves – Up to You (feat. Chelsea Cutler)

“Go break a leg…” Those words echo distantly out of the pensive and eerie intro to Andrew Luce and Graves new beauty. Chelsea Cutler’s chilling melodies dance around for a minute before you realize the gravity of them. “It’s all up to you….anyway.”

It’s one of those concepts that we hear throughout our lives, we talk about it, we think about it for a few minutes, but then the concept is forgotten. Most people just don’t really understand what it means. In our moments of confidence and fearlessness, it’s easy to accept the notion that “it’s all up to you.” You’re empowered, excited, looking forward to things in your life, and you grasp it – you realize that it really is all up to you. There’s nothing else in the entire universe that can make your decisions for you or take the controls out of your hands. You’re on top of your shit, you’re making good decisions and all the cliche’s about feeling unstoppable begin to resonate.

But then something happens that shakes your confidence and bursts your bubble. Like ants crawling through a tiny crack in the wall, all of your old fears and worries stream back in, and you buy into every single one of them (again). Those old thoughts tell you that your confidence was just temporary and fleeting. They tell you that your true state of being is one of anxiety, and now you’re back home again. All the momentum is halted, and you sit there feeling defeated and deflated in every area of your life.

Now compare these two extremes – what really is the difference here? Why in one moment do you believe that you can become the greatest version of yourself, and in the next moment feel doomed to shrinking into the worst version of yourself. It’s because you forgot that “it’s all up to you.” It’s that simple, you just forgot for a moment. But some people forget for their whole lives, and those are usually the people who claim that they’re always the victim. “I can’t believe so-and-so did this to me!” “I can’t believe this bitch said this to me!” “I can’t believe that asshole just cut me off!” When you think this way, you’re giving power to everyone else out there but yourself. You’re turning over control of your thoughts and your life to random people you see out in the world. The jerk behind the cash register, the loser who bumped into you at the mall. You’re really going to let them “ruin your day?” Don’t be that weak.

“It’s all up to you…anyway.” When something is left “up to you,” you still have to tend to it. It doesn’t just happen automatically. When your parents leave town and leave the feeding of the cat up to you, you still have to feed the cat. But the point is, YOU CONTROL THE OUTCOME. You can either feed the cat, or you can neglect feeding the cat. We all know the outcome of both scenarios. So when you truly believe you control the outcome, than the little actions that come with controlling the outcome aren’t such a hassle. In fact, those little actions create your life. And soon you realize that you’re controlling all aspects of your life. And when that happens, you realize you’ve morphed into an extremely successful person who attracts awesome people and incredible opportunities.

Why in the world would you pass up that kind of opportunity? It’s a pretty simple choice, but you gotta make the choice. Nobody is gonna force you to do anything, because, it’s all up to you…….anyway. Many thanks to Andrew, Graves and Chelsea for reminding us.