A mix made for high school students who participated in a writing program at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. It contains a blend of Hip Hop and R&B with a thematic message of positive thinking, togetherness, and urban political ideas. The other side of the game.
Look Beyond What Is
Love Of My Life - Erykah Badu with Angie Stone, Queen Latifah, & Bahamadia (to start with the voices of women so that the young women are immediately involved...& I grew up with 6 women under one roof so many of my days were full of the voices of women who loved me)
The Renaissance - All Natural featuring Lone Catalyst (included for the Jazz piano loop and lyrics that are personal, informative, and instructive. Also, the mention of getting by without stimulants is an idea that needs to be in the mix of it all)
Hip Hop - Calvin Harris featuring Maine (American Hip Hop listeners generally let the accent stop their interest in UK Hip Hop - if they did not do that, they would hear the kinship and shared experience of appreciation of legendary contributors to the art of Hip Hop, or simply get a kick out of a guy in a British accent name dropping the ledgends)
Steel Contraption DJ BMF featuring Swamburger (Nervous about the downward spiral of literacy and poetics coming from the south around the time this was made, I thought it cool to include an alternative flow and viewpoint on everyman's perspective...just to juxtapose next to the bass and crunk of the time...clever & connected also exist in the dirrty - although I should mention that BMF is from Orlando and Swamburger's from Chicago)
Doin Something - Soulive with Jurassic 5 and Me'Shell N'Degeochello (just another reminder that the Hip Hop idea is beyond local "ghettoes." BKNY is the target audience, here the West Coast voices are not on the same ole same ole gang related blunted superthug theme...other expressions come from the badlands - a nice mix of medley rhyming, beats, live instrumentaion and smooth soul singing)
Family - Jaguar Wright (before rhyme fatigue sets in, back to melodies, harmonies and relatable lyrics about what's most important from a fierce Philly soul singer better known for her strong voice on stronger, less pleasant, topics. Everybody's got another side..."So remember your family")
I Can (a capella) - Nas (from a Hip Hop artist mostly known for either representing the true grit or the excesses of shine, words of encouragement via history aimed toward the youth)
Oh You Want More - Ty (I love UK Hip Hop for the accent and the enunciation and the freedom that some artist there still exercise to say what they want to say and not what they think you want them to say. This is sneakily personal, as during this time, 2005-ish, I'd literally be ambushed in clubs by no-class fraudulent machismos accosting me for 'real nigga shit.' I'd drop this and then watch the chaos in their eyes as they tried not to like this thump and confidence and overt acknowledgement to their wanting more - the only tough guys in the world, to me, are those on front lines in wars or who run into burning buildings)
Witness (1 Hope) - Roots Manuva (this devastatingly unique beat elevates the energy. Most waste this outstandingly captivating production on more about themselves, but Roots is giving you the all world perspective, if you can't follow the flow, than understand the English: http://www.metrolyrics.com/witness-1-hope-lyrics-roots-manuva.html)
New Man Theme - Mr Lif (from the Q-Tip, Guru-esque school of thought - vocabulary, flow, personal perspective on confidence of self via intellect...alternative viewpoints like this get submerged in the tsunami of the irreverent)
Let It Shine - Baba (this gent was part of the Brooklyn Reads Program and it was only appropriate to include his thoughts and groove on the mix that would be given to 100 of his students. From down under, this gent gave his time to Brooklyn teens and teens globally, shine for his shine http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vRV9BO-EyRA)
Louder than a Bomb (Jam Master Jay Mix) - Public Enemy (my only bit of self-indulgence as I had to play something by PE because their music was on auto-reverse on my walkman all the time when I was younger. Radio has no responsibility to offer old school voices or ideas to an audience that prefers new and now - it is a simple business decision. There are other ways to make sure that these artists are heard, like this mix)
Money - Will I Am - (Unbeknownst to masses, Will I Am was more on the groove side of the vibe before Fergie and club beats redirected the Black Eyed Peas. Anyone into the 90s sound of jazz and soul samples/instrumentaion would enjoy his album on the UK based BBE records http://www.bbemusic.com/data.pl?release=BBEBGCD003 Look beyond what you see now and you find that he has other ways to say what he has to say...then)
A Charmed Life - J-Live (incredibly nimble lyracist over a beat that every (c)rapper would ask out of. Respects first to him rhyming over jazz then to his story of a 'regular guy' (like me) with irregular talents commencing in the way he came up and was brought up. He lets us in instead of just telling us what he has and what you do not. This was released as a single and was on Jazzy Jeff's BBE album, The Magnificent and I'm from Philly and directly influenced by Jazzy so this is a subtle nod to all kinds of personal pleasures and all that Jazz)
Excursion - A Tribe Called Quest (testimonial and instructive = constructive. No way you don't want to build after hearing these words http://www.lyricsfreak.com/a/a+tribe+called+quest/excursions_20001783.html seminal)
Groovement - Ty (after those doses of heavy information, a song that hearkens sounds that remind me of songs like Chaka Khan's Ain't Nobody, Stevie Wonder's Boogie On Reggae Woman, and Common's GO - the thing is about this is that the dope musical production is worked wondrously with dexterity and rhythm by Ty. More perspective that takes into account what so many do not. "Seek us" is my subliminal for them to find more like this for balance against the tidal wave of N's for hire - Ty instructs with fiya "Handle your business!")
Umi Says - Mos Def (I'm a reluctant of any rapper that just plays a gangsta character because they discovered that there was money to be made from the vast majority of Americans and people worldwide who prefer redundant egocentric raunchy N's and product placement. I feel like they get enough support from wanna be liked DJs and the commerce machine that presents them. Since I know that it is an act, and that they can't sing, and that they can't play an instrument, I put them in the category of capitalists, not artists. They are going to get theirs while caring only about themselves. Mos Def's lyric "I want my people to be free" most definitely assures you that he cares about more than himself)
Life Is Like a Park - Lisa (Left Eye) Lopes - (Most know her for her TLC days and her personal wild rides. This song, never released in the states, was included for that very reason. Only with this question: why not?)
Love & War - Amp Fiddler (Kwasi Asante introduces this and gives the benediction. This is included to let the youth know that the DJ that was part of their program has been to other places in the world because of his developing of his gift. There's affection in the applause of the Londoners and I hoped they heard that and then realized that this live set ended with something from ME and my mind, regardless of what they wanted to here. The war in Iraq started that weekend and I felt it important to let the people there at this gig in London that I, for one, stood for something)
I am so idealistic.
I hope that some of the Brooklyn high schoolers got through this entire mix.