Mixtape Monday: Injustice Edition -- Afropunk, DJ Akiin x Hands Up Don't Shoot, DJ Underdog For Eric Garner, Diplo, Chairman Mao + More
This Mixtape Monday edition carries a bit more social weight. To say that it's been a distressing time lately in America is putting it lightly. After the word came down Wednesday that the NYPD officer that killed Eric Garner would not be indicted for any wrongdoing, thousands took to the streets across Manhattan and across the nation, screaming to the world--Black Lives Matter. And as citizens marched the hip-hop community took action as well. We heard Yasiin Bey, The Wu-Tang Clan and none other than Stevie Wonder raise their voice against what appears to be yet another blatant and lethal policing injustice.
But speaking out against police injustice--against the quotidian abuse that black men and women endure from cops--isn't a new subject for hip-hop. "Hands up don't shoot!" and "I can't breathe!" are but the newest, sadly necessary slogans for a movement that has a long-standing musical foundation. The mixtape community didn't sit still during the last six weeks, and so we have for you a new grip of mixes that push back against the system's corruption. You'll hear plenty of reminders to fight the power and more than a few shouts of "Fuck the police!" But there's more than just the classic go-to cop-busters; DJ Akiin spun J. Cole and Shing Shing Regime into his Michael Brown tribute set, and Afropunk's new "Public Unrest" volume is loaded with interview clips and new material galore. If you've been looking for the sweeping sonic response to all this unjust bullsh*t, it's right here. For good measure, we've also added in the latest and greatest mixes from Diplo, Chairman Mao and more.
This one isn't an easy listen. DJ Underdog has been known to craft mixes that hammer away non-stop at a specific aesthetic and/or mood, and now he's already turned that technique on the tragedy of Eric Garner. Garner's last words are the first thing you'll hear on the tape, and as the African-influenced beats fly by we catch lines from Malcom X and pause occasionally for soul cuts a la Erykah Badu's "Telephone." The tension never fully releases, though, and that's the way it should be. A man was killed with no justice given, just like so many others before him.
The inaugural edition of Afropunk's new series, Public Unrest is a sampling of new subversive offerings. The 45-minute set was compiled by Matthew Morgan and Nathan Leigh, the set homes in new music coming from the black counter-culture and strikes a broader, pro-change message. This isn't quite a "Fuck the police" mixtape, but more of a "This is what democracy looks like" compilation. Genre stylings vary from rock, to hip-hop, punk to electronic, and interview clips from the likes of Mykki Blanco and Neneh Cherry are also sprinkled in to further help set the tone.
RDGLDGRN - "Elevators"
Aligns - "Fight The War"
Interlude: Interview with Mykki Blanco October 2014
Mykki Blanco - "Baby's Got Big Plans"
Big Joanie - "Damaged (When The Homewrecker Moved In)"
Magnificent Shit Hawks - "Dayman"
Interlude: Interview with Neneh Cherry March 2014
Neneh Cherry - "Spit Three Times"
WILLS - "Going Through It"
Bibi Bellatrixx - "No Place To Call"
TV on the Radio - "Lazerray"
Interlude: Interview with BLXPLTN February 2014
BLXPLTN - "Train (Get Out) Raphael Radna Remix"
Ibeyi - "Mama Says"
Interlude: Interview with Benjamin Booker June 2014
Benjamin Booker - "Violent Shiver"
The hardest-hitting tape comes from under-the-radar Toronto DJ Akiin, who put in major work to compile a mix of hip-hop tracks criticizing unjust, aggressive police work. The result is "Hands Up Don't Shoot (The Mixtape)" which touches just about all the essential cop-verse bases, while at the same time bringing in new cuts that might be destined to become future classics. Akiin released the mix in early November, before the non-indictments of the men who killed Michael Brown and Eric Garner, which makes it even more powerful (and needed) this week. Sobered by the opening lines of J Dilla's "Fuck the Police," Akiin expertly weaves N.W.A., Public Enemy, BDP, Dead Prez, Tupac and more into an amazing soundtrack of urban resistance; this might very well be the perfect #BlackLivesMatter set. The mix is also expertly blended and produced--were it not so newsworthy, it would still be an excellent mix in its own musical right.
With wide ears and a keen eye, Jeff "Chairman" Mao continues to impress with his Across 135th Street mixtape series, which has been picked up by Red Bull Music Academy. While his recent offerings have focused on the moody tones of Blue Note records and the wild party tunes of summer, his new '135th' is all about rap music. Freddie Gibbs, Run the Jewels, Your Old Droog, Skipp Coon and many more all lock horns in Mao's sonic rodeo. You can read a little more about the mix (and check out album art for each track) here.
Diplo's still a big name in Mixtape Monday, no matter what Lorde may have to say about him. The dancehall denizen recently turned out a spectacular mix of tunes that demand to be bumped do. Things escalate early with Cyril Hahn's infectious "Perfect Form," which blends perfectly into some 2 Chainz. Later we catch bits of Ta-Ku, Kaytranada, J Dilla, Jai Paul and even Radiohead Diplo's masterful mixing skills are on full display throughout, as this set touches on house, hip-hop, dancehall, and indie rock without ever feeling strained or stilted. It's proof that Diplo's still one of the reigning kings of the DJ realm. Give this one your undivided attention.
Deadboy - "Wish U Were Here"
Cyril Hahn feat Shy Girls - "Perfect Form
2 Chainz - "Employee of the Month"
London Grammar - "Strong (Shadow Child Remix)"
DVA - "Gang Gang Riddim"
Labrinth etta band raf riley - "EXR TREATMENT"
Ta-ku - "I Miss You"
Gustavo Cerati - "Cáctus"
sully - "givemeup"
Sibian & Faun - "I'm Sorry"
Goldfinger - "Contact"
Two Inch Punch - "UP IN YOUR MIX (TIP TWEAK)"
Radiohead - "You And Whose Army"
Pharcyde - "She Said (Jay Dee Remix)"
Diplo - "Big Lost (Eprom Remix)"
Massive Attack - "Protection"
Jai paul - "dont fuck jai paul"
Two Inch Punch - "Love You Up"
Kaytranada - "Free Things in Life"
Love - "And More Again"
Heaven 17 - "Let Me Go"
Bonobo - "Cirrus"
Sully - "Bonafide"
Hard to believe, but Def Jam has been around now for over three decades. The little label that could, founded by Russell Simmons and Rick Rubin in an NYU dorm, has been a cornerstone of hip-hop for the last 30 years, and to celebrate its anniversary the label has commissioned 30 days of new mixes from some of the best DJs in the business. This week we saw the drop of DJ Premier's contribution, and it's a magnificent offering. Remixed Jay Z, throwback Ludacris, LL Cool J and plenty other Def J artists get the cut-and-scratch treatment from Premo, and the outcome is 33 minutes of hip-hop par excellence.
This one's extra-special. It's rare that we at Okayplayer present our own mixtape in this here roundup, but that's about to change. We've been busy making ties with DJs and selectors across the globe and plan to bring you OKP-made mixes at an increasing frequency in the future. With that in mind, it's time to take a bite out of Chocolate Sundays. The longest-running DJ night in all of Miami, Chocolate Sundays is run by a collective of ace DJs and was the first Miami group to book the likes of Dam-Funk and Mayer Hawthorne. Their mix is proof the all that expert knowledge and keen foresight--you'll hear samples from Kanye West and Notorious B.I.G. torn apart and reconstructed, plus snippets of amplified J Dilla, flipped Tupac and the Minnie Riperton track (you know the one) that set millions of heads nodding. Dig in deep and enjoy--this one is the soundtrack to the best beach party you could imagine.
Far be it from us to leave the dancehall and reggae riddims out of this week's roundup. In a new mixtape for Foreign Exchange Chicago, DJs VoodooKiller and manoymano have put together a feverish, pulsing blend of new(ish) African and Caribbean tracks. Filled with brilliant dancefloor-ready cuts from El Guincho and DJ Paparazzi, the mix is a slice of globalized heat.
Holding it down for the West Coast, DJ Spinna has delivered a batch of Left Coast offerings so delicious it makes us wonder if we should relocate out of Brooklyn. It's loaded with Casual, Tupac, Ice Cube and more. Spinna's "West Coast Flavors" mix was commissioned by the folks at Footlong Development, who are getting ready to hit LA with a dynamite DJ night. Dubbed "Flavors," the night will bring Spinna and J.Rocc together for a head-to-head turntable showdown, all for the benefit of the Los Angeles listening public. You can read the full event info below, and if you're lucky enough to be in LA this weekend we highly recommend rolling through:
December 12, 2014
FLAVORS LA 7
The Best Of 90's HipHop & RnB
DJ SPINNA & J.ROCC
1154 Glendale Bl.,Echo Park 90026
21+ 9pm-2am $20 Door
The Tried+True Store
507 N. Fairfax Ave., LA 90036
We have to end things on a tender note. O-Wang aka DJ O-Dub has been steadily amassing a re-furbished digital catalog of his dynamite vintage mixes, and his latest upload might be his best yet. "Love Me or Leave Me" is a compendium of top-notch soul ballads that are just the kind of aural salve we could use right now. Cuts from all-female singers are on tap with this one, and Asha Puthli, Jennifer Lara, Aretha Franklin and many more only sound better side-by-side. You can read much more about it here. It's been a rough week for all of us--remember to practice self care. Put this one on, hold someone you love, and hold out hope for tomorrow. We'll see you next week.