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Music

Freestylers – Signs ft. Tenor Fly and Spanner Banner

Hunter Thompson on the beach

The wonders of the Internet mean you’re reading this even though I’m far away, deep in the woods with no connection. It’s about fucking time. I really wish someone would have told me as a kid that vacation isn’t a right.

There’s a difference between a vacation and a trip. On a trip, you’re waking up early and going hard all day – hiking, sightseeing, eating food that may or may not make you sick as a dog. On a vacation, you’re sleeping in, kicking back and hopefully sipping a mixed drink at 2pm.

Trips usually make the best memories, and are definitely my personal preference. But right now, I’m on vacation, chowing on lobster and picking blueberries and not thinking about work or traffic or blogging.

I hope you all get a chance to get away this summer, because we all need a break from the usual (hence this Freestylers song, an unusual choice for EMPT but an instant chilla classic)

Ahhhhhh.

Freestylers – Signs ft. Tenor Fly and Spanner Banner

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Music

Ace of Base – The Sign

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While flipping through my music library last week, I came across Ace of Base’s “The Sign.” It’s a cheesy track, but at the time was groundbreaking in its fusion of reggae and pop melodies. This is the kind of song that everyone kind of knows, but no one knows anything about it.

Let me give you the lowdown. The album that featured “The Sign” (“Happy Nation”, 1992) sold 23 million copies worldwide. 23 MILLION. It’s one of the 50 or so best selling records of all time, just ahead of Oasis’ seminal “(What’s the Story) Morning Glory?” and Madonna’s “Like a Virgin.” Overall, Ace of Base has sold over 40 million records.

This quartet of Swedes (three siblings and a guy named Buddha) are one of the most random musical successes ever. You never hear about them in the media, and rarely hear any song other than “The Sign” on the radio. And yet a laundry list of big name and indie artists site them as a valuable influence: Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, Robyn, Yeasayer, Trust.

It’s moments like this when you realize just how big the world is. There are Chinese and Indian artists who have hundreds of millions of fans, yet most Americans have no idea who they are and will never hear their voices. The music industry – the economic profit model of music sales – is crumbling. But the music industry – the unending production of new music across the globe – is larger and more successful than ever. How wonderful!

I recently had a very random job filming a high school wrestling tournament for Fox Sports. Fox put me up in a hotel overnight, and as I arrived back after a long day behind the camera, I ran into a very masculine looking guy walking a tiny Chihuahua with its nails painted pink. I legitimately thought I was hallucinating, even more so once we got to talking and he busted into one of the best freestyle raps I’ve ever heard.

Every moment, someone around the world is making music. From the Chihuahua freestyler to the grandmother singing the children to sleep to Ace of Base, our lives are played out to a soundtrack created by those around us. Whether their songs stay locked behind closed doors or sell 40 million records without attracting notice, we owe all music makers our gratitude.

 

Ace of Base – The Sign

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Music

Adam Tensta – My Cool (Al Azif Remix ft. Dr. Alban)

Due to some administrative confusion, my earlier post on Autograf’s “Gust of Wind” remix has been taken down…as the track was written up already yesterday! Ah, the pitfalls of an international remote team sharing a Dropbox account.

So in the interest of keeping all you EMPTers satiated with Sunday summer jams, I offer you this rare example of good dance rap. It’s very Euro, and I never heard a peep out of any of the artists after I initially discovered the track a few years back. But fuck if it isn’t the perfect soundtrack to a sunny day. I’m a major sucker for elated reggae vocals and happy-hardcore synth lines, and this little number has both in excess.

Regular readers know that I’m all about the summer jams, and I advise you to be on the lookout this week for my entry into EMPT’s nascent playlist series, “Les Auteurs.” It will be beachy.

Adam Tensta – My Cool (Al Azif Remix ft. Dr. Alban)

 

Categories
Music

The Partysquad – Rising Sun

No music has the universal appeal like reggae music. Reggae’s pure, unrelenting optimism transcends every culture, race, and continent. Even when the saddest of lyrics about the bleakest of topics (although rare, think Marley’s “War”) can feel like the happiest of songs when coupled with some steel drums and a reggae beat. Because reggae simply equals good vibes.

As I write this, I’m on a boat motherfuckers. Cruising through the Caribbean and en route to Jamaica for the first time. Likewise, I want nothing but “Irie” emotions and tropical music blaring at all times. While the ship I’m on isn’t providing too much beyond elevator music and Party Rock, it’s given me the prime opportunity to make a dope ass playlist to blare while I read and sip on Red Stripes and maybe venture to Bob Marley’s home tomorrow. The Partysquad is a welcome addition to this playlist.

When it comes to modern, dubstep-infused reggae, the discussion kind of starts and ends with the current king of EDM: Major Lazer (I wish I knew more…). The Partysquad’s “Rising Sun” is as close to the Major Lazer sound I’ve found on the Cloud, and the Dutch outfit does either a damn good imitation or were a precursor. They were actually featured on “Original Don,” so the link between the two sounds makes perfect sense. No restraint, just pure love

Take me away on a journey to the rising sun,
stay on that high till the morning comes…”

This song is nothing but a breath of fresh, wobbly air, carrying out reggae’s “Don’t Worry Be Happy” motto with a distinctly modern twist. I love music like this that moves us forward while reminding me of so much of what I’ve loved in the past. All I want to rip out the boat’s music, insert my iPod, play this song followed by Major Lazer, and just see people’s reactions.

It’s just impossible not to smile, relax, and get lifted when listening to reggae, and that’s why I always find myself coming back to it. Even if you’re stuck in the snow for the New Year, this “Rising Sun” will shine some light reggae vibes into your life.  Close your eyes, and conquer those duppies.

The Partysquad – Rising Sun