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A R I Z O N A – I Was Wrong (RAMI x Jiinio Remix)

To me, this song sounds like vintage EMPT.

Before I ever wrote for this site, I was listening to it. I would stay up late and scour the internet for trails of music that inspired me. Combing the deep crevasses of the internet, listening to mixed tapes, suggestions from friends, embarking on the never-ending quest for songs that I would have to listen to on repeat. If you are like this, then you know the relief of finding the tracks that would give a brief moment of optimism for the music scenes of the world. I found that on Hec’s site.

The draw of this site is the diversity of the tracks, the love for new artists we try and instil in the ever-hungry readers and for soulful writing, the soul searching we do publicly here.

This one has gotten internet love, but for very good reason. I feel like Saturday needed one of the “vintage EMPT” tracks, reaching for the roots of the site that made me fall in love with it and eager to be apart of it years ago.

Happy Saturday, fam.


Great American Canyon Band – Crash

What is it that you seek in someone you want to be with?

A conversation led to this as a friend said she missed that “heart racing, butterflies in your stomach” moment when you start to fall for, chase that feeling for someone. They loved the clouded mind, reacting like an addict to the other, craving the time together like the heroin they seemed to be.

The other said they wanted something else. It is the love when you realise you can finally relax. You can sit in the moment and then realise it has been years since you have taken your eyes off each other. Heart beat calm, mind cleared.

The duo behind this song is a couple that transcends music together. Sounding more like the latter love mentioned. The perfect sound for summer and one that evokes feelings of rolling around with your person. The pair have a beautiful story that resonates through their music. They travelled the US with a story that is remniscent of those of the Beats poets from hotels to Grandma’s basement and then back. Finding a salvation in each other and the exhale of that union breathing through their music. The song sounds like that, an exhale. Like the relief you feel in that love.

The gentle guitar slides effortlessly in the song and then you can hear it embrace the lyrics the more times you listen to this song. Like an addict, I have come back to this track over and over.

How do you want to crash into another? Is it slowly sinking together or a rush to your veins? Either way, this song will fill your body with an etherial high.

Check out the EMPT Alt Chill Playlist for more like this here. Super chill. Also check out their whole album if you need more of a fix here.

Goldchain – No Sleeping Now

I’ve been listening to a Josh Waitzkin interview recently that’s pretty much changed my entire culture. It’s about as deep and loaded as it gets but one of the main themes in it is the cultivation of quality and creating empty space as a way of life.

Think about how you spend your time right now. Think about how at almost every single moment most of us are taking in some sort of input. Tumbler, Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, Netflix. Pick your poison, the point is we’re always doing something. Always feeding ourselves information and occupying every second of our lives.

But what are we neglecting in the process? When your mind is always occupied, always seeing and hearing something. When there’s always noise, what can’t you hear? Yourself.

Once I heard that I immediately went on a consumption diet. Choosing to reflect on my own thoughts instead of the habitual internet time killer. What I’m finding has me a bit uneasy.

I was laying down in bed yesterday, in my mind. Finally listening to my internal voice and paying attention. During my reflection I had a vision that my own mind had become a ghost town. All the store fronts and homes represented neglected ideas. Once a bustling town, now abandoned and forgotten. I was walking around seeing questions I no longer asked, dreams I haven’t seen in years. Then I remembered myself playing as a child, I remember when this place was thriving. Man, I I haven’t been present in my own mind.

I’ve been taking in too much information and not creating enough empty space to sit and process it all. Uploading all my thoughts to computers. Sharing would be visions with Snapchat instead if my own mind.

In the dream, I sat down on a bench with my hands to my face asked – where have I been? Where is my mind? Like most of us, I’ve been living in corporate cyber ghettos and completely consumed by work. Culture is in constant go mode, the expectations of our jobs are intense. Little in our culture tells us to stop and reflect. It’s all reactive, no wonder it’s all so much harder than it needs to be.

So I realized that with so much noise coming in I haven’t been able to hear my mind. That realization hit me hard at about 3am last night. I couldn’t sleep. Being a fully immersed in culture is my job. It’s a hard realization when that takes you away from yourself. Enjoy.

F&%k it, the same thing make you laugh make you cry
That’s right, the same game that make you math could make you die…” – Jay-Z

From EMPT Radio: March 2016

Vokes – Value

The 80/20 Principle in brief means that 20% of your actions, inputs, or products or services will create 80% of what you want – whatever you want that to be.” – Tim Ferriss

That might sound like business jargon but it applies to just about anything. It’s the difference between all the things you have and the things you use. The difference between your friends and the people who show up when you need them.

Put simply, it means that there’s a huge disproportion between what we spend most of our energy on and the return we get from it. Honing in on this allows you to cut the fat and make the most out of your time, money, relationships and life in general.

The larger issue at hand here is value and consequently appreciation. For me, that’s what it comes down to these days. Consumerism has us so twisted that we don’t understand just how amazing some of the most basic things we have are. If you want water, all you have to do is lift a handle. Did you have to create an entire water system to make that possible? The answer is no.

Your car, be it a run down Honda or a Zonda can get you from point A to point B. You sit inside a machine and it takes you where ever there are roads. Did you have to invent the combustible engine? The answer is no. These are some of the things that fall in that 20% category that add 80% of value to your life.

Now think about some of the things you stress about that don’t fall in this category. If it makes up 80%, it’s most of those things. You might be working your ass off for a lot that adds very little to your life. That’s no way to live.

RIP Phife Dawg

The five-foot assassin made it all ok for me. He single-handedly sorted out all of my confusion, and boy was there a lot. I was a 14 year old jewish kid living in Boulder, Colorado trying to make sense of my raging obsession with hiphop. I knew I loved the beats, I knew I loved the rhyming and the flows, but none of the topics or content resonated with me at all. I couldn’t relate to Public Enemy’s need to fight the power, though their passion and talent spoke to my soul. Like Two Live Crew, I too wanted some pu$$y, but I was years away from that fun stuff. Easy-E’s voice was really cool, but his album, and NWA’s scared the shit out of me, and honestly I never found the beats/production/west coast vibe all that hot.

But then Phife came to the rescue. He was short, like me. He was a Jets fan, like me. He felt insecure around girls, like me. He loved hanging out with his friends and talking shit, like me. He was simply a cool ass kid that rapped in a way that was so clear and pure it was impossible not to relate to him. Q-Tip always got most of the props because he was way more outgoing and had incredible producer chops to go along with his lyrical talents, but I’ve always believed the soul of A Tribe Called Quest was Phife. He kept it low-key on “People’s Instinctive Travels” while Hippie Q-Tip took front and center, and that worked perfectly for them at the time. But you could tell there was a lot more to Phife than his background guy role on that debut album. Thank goodness that Tip allowed Phife to take on a bigger role for “Low End Theory” because he morphed into an absolute beast on that record. He reeled Q-Tip in from hippie-town and ATQC became the poster children for swagged out east coast hiphop. Plain and simple, there was nothing cooler in music. The beats, the flows, the every-man lyrics, the fashion, their crew (Native Tongues), it all came together with these guys like no group before them, or possibly after them. I truly believe that “Low End Theory” and “Midnight Marauders” are and always will be the backbone of what we know as hiphop, but frankly thats a redundant statement at this point.

My point is, it was Phife that tied it all together, like the rug in Big Lebowski. His simple but wise words allowed anyone and everyone to become a listener of hiphop. I remember playing Phife’s verses for my parents when trying to convince them that hiphop was a real form of music. If you’re reading this and don’t know what “Microphone check 1-2, what is this, the five-foot assassin with the ruff neck business” means or where it comes from, go back through ATCQ’s catalog immediately and absorb the greatness of a sorely underrated MC that inspired a generation of kids not only get into hiphop, but to start rapping themselves (me included). He provided us kids – white, black and every other race – a true connection to hiphop by simply talking about life in general. Most of us couldn’t relate to a story about a drive by shooting or a drug deal gone bad, but we sure could relate to taking our nephew down to Kay-Bee toy store or getting benched by the high school basketball coach cause our jump shot sucked. RIP Phife! But let’s not be too sad, instead let’s be grateful that he’s given us yet another reason to revisit his legendary music.