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Robosonic & Mat.Joe – Got Game

This is a bad to the bone, sexy, bass heavy, head nodding, club rocking banger. It samples one of the dopest Hip Hop tracks, 50 & Games Hate It or Love It, which Robosonic  flips with that classic deep house/hip hop flavor only he can bring. Got Game, I love that title because it represents everything I’m about right now.

Since the 3rd grade I’ve lived in a highly competitive performance based world – entertainment. It’s a world where your shit has to be tight or you don’t make the cut. You deliver or you’re done, you’re aware, you know what’s up, you’re really fucking good at what you do and that’s the bottom line. Often times the things expected of you are complex, i.e. deliver something totally subjective that a lot of people agree with, be compelling to strangers, predict the future, amaze and delight – you get the idea. It sounds rough but when it’s your lifestyle you learn the consistencies and you figure it out.

All the while you develop and appreciation for details because in this world it’s the details that separate the good from the great.  You appreciate when someone consistently delivers, you appreciate high level communication, when someone has intention and conviction, when they take care of their appearance, have wisdom, charm or anything else that represents an effort. It says they’re on top of their shit. I know what you’re thinking, materialistism, phoniness, etc but that’s a cope out; what I’m referring to is top to bottom excellence. We all dream about ideals right? For example in love, women want that tough, super sensitive, romantic, handsome, intelligent, highly spiritual and loving man. Guys want that homely, innocent yet sexual, beautiful, stylish and stunning girl who melts your heart with her looks, flowing fairy tale hair and smells so good when she leaves you can’t think of anything else.  That’s called game tight and let me tell you something, it’s real. What you want, it’s out there, it’s no fantasy.

Often times we settle for less because we undervalue ourselves! We don’t love or believe in ourselves enough to keep fighting and searching for what will truly make us happy, not just what’s right in front at the moment. On top of that, to get what you want you have to be what you want. You also have to understand that the world isn’t a fixed thing, you can literally create anything you want but first you have to get free.

I know many people hate on LA and for the right reasons, I know people hate on NYC, for the right reasons as well. Many people despise the entertainment industry but when you grow in those places you distinguish between the real and the fake and trust me when you find real in NY or LA or entertain, it’s real. Those 3 have shown me what game is, what truly being exceptional in ALL facets of life is about. Get game, enjoy.

Robosonic & Mat.Joe – Got Game

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Ponderosa Twins Plus One – Bound

I recently found myself climbing a massive hill that overlooks downtown Edinburgh, Scotland. This was after being invited on a girls weekend which somehow came down to two of us, packing our backpacks and running for trains to make a cheap flight up.

The best kind of last minute trip.

It was a 36-hour stint as a side trip on our one-year venture.  We arrive and almost immediately found ourselves in Cabaret Voltaire with stiff vodkas and attractive locals. A DJ hosted from the centre of the room and the crowd heaved in and out retreating to the smoking area only to emerge moments later on heavy rotation. Music in bars like this are always odd and enchanting. Like a dark music pulse that Europeans engage in on the cobbled streets and after hours.

The rest of the trip consisted of an ambitious pitcher, history lessons broken up by Scotch and rain. We woke up early to climb that hill which was Arthur’s Seat. My friend, clad in leotard and mini skirt and I, gnarly California shirt and hangover, made it to the top. Not before picking up a stray German tourist to take up.

The final destination was a bar directly off the hill and en route to retrieve our bags for the airport. It was the quintessential Scottish bar with dirty crushed velvet on all seats and Scottish sayings framed around the doorways. Blessing, cheers and others. “Whisky is liquid sunshine.” We had a sit and were all talking about bigger things. Apparently mountain hiking brings that out. Talks of bucket lists and where we wanted to go next or sometime or whenever was rotated around the table. These conversations are important to have once in a while. Sort out where you are. And where your mind goes. What you tell strangers over a pint says alot.

This song started to play behind us but it is not really a song you just talk over. You stop and think about them. A crush. New or old. Lover. Friend.

Heavy talk and lagers and at the end of a trip like that, I found myself flipping over the decisions made in the past day and year and five years. I think I am a romantic for the unexpected. Bound by a heart on the sleeve.

 “Don’t try to resist
Cause you’re bound
Bound to fall in love”

Ponderosa Twins Plus One – Bound

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Fabolous — Thim Slick (Instrumental)

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This instrumental is from Fabolous‘s late 2013 mixtape: The S.O.U.L. Tape 3. It contains several samples and a great amount of groove, smoothness and chilled-out instrumentation.

Tuesdays, for me, are the day of the week that I find myself with the least to do. I guess that’s because Mondays are full of top-of-the-week meetings all over the city filled with pie charts, data review, bar charts, weekly stats, progress reports, new music submissions, new artist submissions, writing, phone conferences, and an hour long video conference every, single, week. But, on Tuesdays, I get to relax just a little more than my normal Sunday or Saturday routines because even my weekends are jam packed with work. And, why not work if you love what you do, right?

On Tuesdays, I like to come into the office bright and early and read as many newspapers as I can. I like to throw on some music in the background and mellow out to words because writing is another passion of mine that I have to progressively and continuously develop, and I love to do it. I think that if you are anything like me then you will appreciate the hell out of this fabulous instrumental because it’s as unassuming as a Tuesday can be.

Produced by Lewis Cullen & Street Fam Turtle, “Thim Slick” features several samples; from James Brown‘s signature scream on his 1965 “I Got You (I Feel Good)” song to Nice & Smooth‘s infamous “Sometimes I Rhyme Slow“, and the more recent “We Can’t Be Friends” by Dream Koala. It maintains the soulful feel of the concept mixtape that Fab wanted while hitting just hard enough with some lovely boom baps that allow Hip Hop Heads everywhere to feel it.

The instrumental, on it’s own, is a great display of the progressions within the Urban genres of the music business throughout its history, and an incredible show of great ears getting together and collaborating for the greater good.

That body perfect in my eyes
No matter what they say, everything looking just fine”

Enjoy the instrumental, or check out the original because both of these are worth their weight in musical gold, and, because when was the last time that you decided to listen to something for the first time?

Fabolous — Thim Slick (Instrumental) 

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The Ting Tings – The Wrong Club

For anyone wondering where music is going next, I’ve got two words for you – groove & vibe. As we came into the Space Age we  were like young children discovering new tools, making things go as loud, big and fast as possible. That will never go away and it shouldn’t, I mean I don’t know about you but nothing really hits like a big ass trap record at a festival. Sure the style and substance will change but that feeling won’t and that’s a good thing.

But something that’s been slightly forgotten in the midst of massive records is groove, those rhythms that get in your body, make you want to move with the performer, not just stand there observing. As of late there’s been a resurgence in groove, the most obvious and successful of course being Daft Punk but people like Devonte Hynes and acts like Disclosure have been making a strong case for an official comeback. The Ting Tings’ Duran Duran produced The Wrong Club is more evidence to the fact.

Did I ever tell you about the way I wanna feel?

I love that lyric and it’s a perfect example of what this music represents to me.

I think we worry so much about external things like our jobs, our cars, money etc but have you ever thought about the way you want to feel? Think about that for a second. It’s like we do things backwards, we work tirelessly on the outside looking for happiness but rarely think about it the other way around. Have you ever thought about the way you want to feel and made your decisions based on that? If you focused on yourself, loved yourself and valued your emotions, your DNA, the very thing that makes you unique, all the choices that make up your lifestyle would be different. You might not be willing to deal with that person anymore, you may not be ok with that job because the cost to benefit ratio would be severely disproportionate. It just doesn’t make you feel good so you don’t compromise like we all do. What might seem like the path no longer appeals because it just doesn’t make you happy and nothing external can give you happiness.

I’m a big fan of where music is about to go. I love it when records don’t have to try hard because when music isn’t trying to dictate the entire team it gives the listener space to interact with the music. This is Space Age Bachelor Pad Music evolved, enjoy.

The Ting Tings – The Wrong Club

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The Neighbourhood – 93 to Infinity (Souls of Mischief Cover)

The Neighbourhood has a signature sound. Sultry male vocals and a nearly hidden bass which rests in the back of all of their songs. Like the cool kid at the party. I have yet to hear one of their songs which doesn’t make you want to take your clothes off immediately. This cover urges you to do that once more.

“Feel the good vibrations.”

The boys from California don’t use the same lyrics as the ’93 original release from Souls of Mischief, but they have adapted the song which slips in to their talents like a glove. I really like this song. I feel like I can’t articulate the elements which make it pop that can’t better be expressed by just listening to it. The guitar plays simple chords reminiscent of ’90s grunge rock. You can see the guys in their white shirts and black jeans, their aviators and bravado dangling from their faces playing along with it and then getting really in to it and letting you fade out at the end. Like a perfect summer romance.

The song is perfect for summer.

The Neighbourhood – 93 to Infinity (Souls Of Mischief Cover)

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EXGF – Idle Hands

People always talk about how music speaks to you but for me the best kind of music is the type that speaks for you. We’re all growing, trying to realize ourselves, find our paths and often times there are certain ideas and things we feel and believe that we simply don’t know how to effectively communicate, not just to the outside world but more importantly to ourselves. You seek those answers but can’t find them and then suddenly a song or lyric comes along that summarizes it perfectly. That’s what the lyrics from EXGF’s Idle Hands were to me…

You, you don’t have the answers and think that we all do…

There’s something wonderfully profound about that. It’s easy to look at the illusion of someone else and desire that, it’s even easier to look at yourself and feel like you’re in a constantly nebulous existence in comparison. But those lyrics capture the beautiful truth, that we often look to and at each other for the path…

And we, we don’t have them either, we make them up and break the ones that don’t agree with how we see it…”

It’s human nature, tribal instincts, how we’ve grown and survived. At dinner last  night one of my oldest friends said something very profound, that a leader is just another position. It’s no less or greater in importance than any other position. Humans have expectations of reciprocity, that means we all look to each other for answers, inspiration and guidance, the leader just plays the role of pushing forward and brining all those things together. I love that feeling, the feeling of community, shared interest, doing things for love; the feeling of the collective. That’s the feeling I get when listening to this record, it’s built in.

Pied Piper, you’re not the leader…

But not everyone standing behind the booth is worth the admiration, fit for leadership so see through the illusion at all times.

But that’s just part of it, all in all this song is about the vices that come out of boredom, the need to escape and elevate. For many it’s unfortunate that the path leads to destruction. For others the state of mind alteration isn’t real and I don’t blame them, it’s hard to alter your vibrations and distinguish between your real emotions and feelings vs what’s enhanced, it’s not for rookies that’s for sure.

Idle hands are the devil’s workshop.”  When bored we do destructive things, dangerous things, ill-advised things.  Drugs, sex, vice; excess is the simplest way to escape.  Some get lost and never find their way back,  but some find inspiration in seductive new highs and ambitions leaving us to wonder…is overdoing really such  bad thing?”

But somewhere in the verge is the place where EXGF resides, the place where you sky dive to learn how to walk better. It’s a dangerous place, it need realness to function because it redefines the commonly accepted notions of right and wrong but it’s life, it’s adventure and I love it. There’s nothing like a feel good summer record that makes you dance, feel, think and groove, enjoy.

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La Roux – Uptight Downtown

Sometimes I sit down to write about certain songs and the writing just comes out of my brain. There’s a certain process to writing, that I don’t want to talk about right now. I haven’t fallen this hard for a sound and pop-funk in a while, so I figured I may as well have some fun today while writing about it.

I used to work downtown. Like down, downtown in the Financial District of this fantastic city. People used to ask me what it was like. If you know me in real life (and virtually, I’d hope that my writing is some indicator of my personality), you’ll know that I rarely wear dresses, I live for the spontaneity of an unplanned experience, and rarely say no. (This mode of life was inspired by the Jim Carrey film, “Yes Man” — one that I think often goes overlooked among his works.) So working downtown was interesting. It was a change of pace. Quite literally — every time I got off the subway, I shuffled with the other shufflers. It was always really interesting to me because I never once felt like “a part of the crowd” moving all at once in one cohesive manner. Strangely. But no matter what, I was still an ant in a skyscraper, built for the purpose of funneling workers in and out, daily.

Streets are lined with people, people who want to move, move, move.

This was last summer by the way. I never spent so much time pondering my physical location on this planet, as I did during the summer. I’d take the elevator up 36 flights, sit in a room with my esteemed colleagues, and enter a different brain world. Every once in a while, I’d step outside the building in the middle of the day to make a phone call or catch a breath of fresh air (that high up, you realize, there’s no actual “fresh” air entering your lungs anymore, just recycled) and take note of the surroundings. I’d sit on the stoop of an old historical building nearby, and watch the amount of stress that people carried in their furrowed brows and lips.

I don’t think La Roux had my experience in mind necessarily when this song was conceived. But I think that’s why I love this song so much. On one hand, there’s a literal interpretation. The association that we have with “working downtown” and how it is potentially a place for only a specific type of personality. A certain mold that one fits into. Not always true, but still. I recently used this song in a playlist that I put together, and left it as the ending song. The playlist, themed after the trials and tribulations of love/relationships, ended with this song because I thought despite its fun and catchy sound, the word “uptight” in the title, really stuck out like a sore thumb. And it spoke to so many different types of people. We use it to describe people that we can’t necessarily connect with sometimes, I know I have. Or, within the context of my playlist, the way a person might transform after the demise of a relationship. An unknowing, difficult to associate with human who you once knew in one context, suffering from the shake-ups of an equilibrium, now quaked.

I hope when you dance to this song, that you let it get into your bones. Allow it to permeate the cobwebs of areas once forgotten in your mind, blindly dancing into the night with a new consciousness for that which you may not necessarily relate to. Unwind.

La Roux – Uptight Downtown

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Zeds Dead – Lost You (ft. Twin Shadow & D’Angelo Lacy)

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There was a time, not so long ago, when dubstep was a novel and exciting new rhythmic frontier. Born from the musical traditions of reggae (dub), jungle, d&b, and garage, dubstep began in the late 90’s, early aughts in England (always ahead of the curve). The term was literally coined by Ammunition Promotions, a company that promoted the ongoing Forward>> club night (now at the Shoreditch hot spot Plastic People).

The “Forward>> Sound,” it was said, would “make your chest cavity shudder.” It was all bass, all the time, but utilized space and ambient elements to cast a patently evil, lurking impression. The sound had its own radio show, hosted by genre pioneer Kode9, which featured many early pioneers, from Plastician and Digital Mystikz to Skream and Benga, who were arguably the first crossover acts.

Skream’s “Midnight Request Line” was the nascent genre’s first radio hit, and led to influential Radio 1 DJ Mary Anne Hobbs dedicating an entire show to dubstep. Though the acts were barely known outside of underground circles, the Hobbes show was the start of dubstep’s global march. Within a year, Burial (who was still anonymous and totally unknown to 99.99% of global audiences) was appearing on “Best Of 2006” critics lists and dominating the soundtrack to Alfonso Cuaron’s hit film, “Children of Men” (One of this writer’s all time favorite films).

Over the next three years, audiences grew (via torrent, for the most part) in the USA and beyond, and artists like Joker and Coki gained name recognition. Labels sprang up to capitalize on the new sound’s (though it was almost a decade old already) popularity.

And then it happened.

Britney Spears, of all people, was one of the first pop acts to feature dubstep elements (though I’m sure it wasn’t her choice, but rather the tuned-in producers she worked with). But the blogosphere, which itself was still finding footing in ’07, finally caught on when La Roux released Skream’s remix of “In for the Kill.” Truly, that track was the first international mainstream dubstep success.

We all know what followed. Every pop artist under the sun, from Snoop to Rihanna jumped on the bandwagon, and suddenly top-40 stations sounded an awful lot like a dank warehouse at 3am, except bombastic and recycled, rather than rebellious and grimy.

And soon, tragically, brostep was born. Skrillex is the obvious poster boy for what I describe not as music, but as “Transformers f*cking.” Frat bros all of a sudden “loved raving.” People who would have never listened to metal were, well, listening to metal, albeit in electronic format. Rusko, who had been a legitimate dubstep pioneer, should shoulder some of the blame for this trend, but his dedication to reggae roots gains him some forgiveness. Once Korn got involved, fans of “real” dubstep knew that the genre’s epitaph had been carved.

Zeds Dead emerged as a genre powerhouse in ’09, with the backing of influential producers Kissy Sell Out and Skream. The Canadian duo took a brief step towards brostep, but thankfully stayed out of the truly offensive fray and instead charted a different path focused more on glitch and hip-hop stylings. Their remix of The Rolling Stones “Gimme Shelter” remains one of the best dubstep remixes ever, and their aggressive collabs (“Undah Yuh Skirt”, for example) with modern reggae greats like Mavado give them a serious street credibility.

I’m no longer the dub-head I once was, and had basically lost track of Zeds Dead until recently. I’m glad to report that “Lost You,” their latest release featuring Twin Shadow and D’Angelo Lacy is a brilliant showcase of their ability to blend genres without alienating fans on either side. This is a track that can drop in a top-40 club or an underground warehouse party without breaking the mood. Twin Shadow’s disco vocals fit perfectly with Zeds’ garage beat, and of course, the drop is dubby as f*ck, but with a “slappa da bass” pop that keeps it from veering into bro-territory.

Zeds Dead – Lost You (ft. Twin Shadow & D’Angelo Lacy)

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Stylo G – Move Back (Grant Nelson Remix)

London, man. Some of the house coming out of there makes me want to pack up my drum machines, leave it all behind and hit the streets. Anyone who remembers the Noctambule parties will also remember our affinity for dirty dance music. It’s not that I don’t like Top 40 when I’m partying, I just like the way darker records can make the environment mysterious, dangerous, sexual and exciting. That feeling you get when you hear something new, that challenges you and is extremely dope at the same time. I know not everybody is on the constant hunt for something new but you don’t really get that feeling when “Happy” comes on, you know. 

This remix by house legend Grant Nelson is exactly what I’m talking about. Those 909 drums and that classic Jackin House bass line makes you move, there’s nothing else to it. For those of you not familiar with Grant Nelson, his productions during the early-mid 90′s literally created Garage. He’s one of the most influential figures in the UK house scene period. It’s no secret that all those new guys you love (i.e. Disclosure, Gorgon City and the likes), take huge influence from this dance music OG. Those Monday blues can’t handle bangers like this.

Stylo G – Move Back (Grant Nelson Remix)

 

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Bleachers – I Wanna Get Better (RAC Remix)

This mix doesn’t differ very drastically from the original, but RAC tones it down by adding a catchy upbeat guitar and bass. It’s interesting to hear layers manipulated and moved to different parts of the song. You’ll notice the elements of the initial 5 seconds were moved from the background of the first verse of the original. I’ve been a fan of RAC (Remix Artist Collective) for a few years, and have vivid memories of riding my bike around campus jamming to their remix of “Carrie” by SPEAK and “Boy” by Ra Ra Riot. Coincidentally these are two of the first bands I’ve seen live. Luckily I went to a college (Hook ‘em Horns) in a city that prides itself on being the “Music Capital of the World”. It turned me onto music in the best possible way. I suddenly had access to countless concerts, from $5 backyard shows, to huge music fests like Austin City Limits; I was in music heaven. My eyes were opened to the wonderful world of live music- music in its natural state.

After listening to this song a few times, it was stuck. Not the whole song though.. just one line: “I wanna get better!” I even found myself singing it aloud as I was waiting for the elevator at the end of the work day. It was somewhat uncontrollable, and only after the words left my mouth did I realize my actions. Catchy! But it also made me think.. What makes us better? How long can we stay stagnant before realizing it’s time for change? I grew up with a childhood of constant change. We moved around a lot, so I had to get used to being uprooted. Now that i’m independent, and in a stable environment, it’s on me to motivate myself to change, to get better, and evolve as a human being. Learning about other cultures is valuable to me, and it’s one way I’m getting better at living in this crazily diverse world. What motivates you to get better?

Bleachers is made up of the lead guitarist from Fun., and you’ll recognize those prevalent happy beats. “I Wanna Get Better” should be perfect for summer road trips, you singing loudly with your best friends…or not. In which case you can blast this through your headphones and drown out your fellow passengers. RAC does a great job of turning any track into a danceable jam you’re bouncing on your heels along to.

Bleachers – I Wanna Get Better (RAC Remix)

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