January is the first month of the year. It, quite reliably, presents the opportunity for change — a new year and a new you. Only, this year is a bit different, because, at the tail end of what was a particularly bleak year, we, collectively, lost faith. We lost faith in the system, in each other, and in the ability of new ideas to propagate change. I named the mix We Lost Faith (following the lead of ATL guru Nessly) to elucidate this fact. After all, we can’t combat a problem unless we know what it is. Our generation is one deeply affected by 9/11 and other random acts of terror, the Great Recession, and the most contentious presidential election in the past hundred years. A fundamental lack of faith in institutions is built into our DNA, yet this is clearly a losing point-of-view. We have to regain control of our collective destiny. Thankfully, we live in an era where it is easier than ever to communicate with one another and activate the fellow disenfranchised. So, yes, we lost faith. For a blip on the timeline, we fucked around and elected a megalomaniac into the most powerful office in the world. That… was not the answer, but I am confident we can contain the damage and begin rebuilding our faith.
I’m tryna tell you how it all restarted ’cause of Reagan / You walk out and the cops tryna shoot you like Cary Fagan
NOTE: Original image by Alessandro Ruggieri. Edit and design by Arjun Grover.
Jazz Cartier is ringing in the new year with some fresh tunes which we can never resist. “Tempted” could have been a perfect party track to dance to on New Year’s, but who says there isn’t still time to add it to the playlist? This “love” party song will become a hip-hop earworm real quick with its addictive chorus, “Feel like I can’t get enough/ If you keep dancing on me/ Girl, I’ll be tempted to touch“. Jazz Cartier is bound to bring it in 2017 and this one is just the start. Check out the catchy track below.
We have finally hit the final month of 2016. Despite this being a November playlist, the early parts of December have been FIRE. The Weeknd, Childish Gambino, Drake, CuDi, & J. Cole?! What did we do to deserve this? While we’re working hard to provide you a list from our favorites from the year, enjoy what we’ve prepared for November, and the influx of quality albums! Hopefully, this will keep you busy until then. Stay tuned…
It is always exciting when a new president is elected in the United States. Between election day and inauguration day, speculation runs rampant, as the President-elect decides who will run the government with him or her for the next four years. During this time of great intrigue, people begin to get a feel for what their country will look like under this person’s leadership.
Earlier this month, Donald Trump was elected to the highest office in the land. Most people who voted for him did so in the hope that he will institute laws that will work better for them and their family. However, so far, during this transition period before taking office, Trump has put questionable people in positions of power, while tweeting thoughtless lies and failing to properly address the global conflicts of interest caused by his company (He has also suddenly reversed his position on many issues, making it seem like he previously never learned the details of, say, climate change.). Right now, the way his first days as President-elect have gone, it seems like Donald Trump will not work for the people who voted for him or for “all Americans,” as he claims; it seems like he will work only for Donald Trump.
That’s why I named this mix No Mans Land. It is a really, really dumb way of saying that I don’t think Trump is going to be a good president.
These lights sparkle but they might hurt you
NOTE: Original cover image by Natasha Jen.
October 2016 is in the books! 21 new tunes for you to vibe out too. This month, Francis & The Lights released one of the best albums of 2016, and as a result, is a frequent artist you will see on the playlist. We try to start fires for you with all this music that deserves to be heard. Check it out, share with your friends, spread the love, and start your own fire. Have you started thinking about your favorite tracks from 2016? We have…
I recently finished Ashlee Vance’s authorized biography of Elon Musk, CEO/founder of Tesla and SpaceX. The book paints a detailed portrait of an extremely smart and determined man, who cares less about making money and more about impacting the world in a positive way. His driving motivator, the one that causes him to work most hours of the day, is to make humankind a multi-planetary species and to give us the tools to shift our energy consumption to clean energy. The idea of working toward a larger goal, such as Elon’s, is fascinating to me: not working to live, not working to make as much money as possible, but, rather, working to improve the universe. And it is not about winning some make-believe competition of who can be the noblest lad in all the land; there’s a fundamentality to it.
We have “x” number of years to live and reproduce →
Our planet has a laundry list of unresolved problems, and our species is confined to it →
So, let’s improve Earth for future generations, while reducing our dependence on Earth (for future generations).
Ironically, I also learned that, with hard work and proper execution, big money often follows such ambitious purpose. There is not a shortage of big thinkers, there is not a shortage of money, but there is a shortage of people willing to assume large risk for an abstract but basic idea.
NOTE: The SoundCloud mix is missing track 12 (“O&D” by Louis Val). Original image by Spencer Tunick.
Joey Aich gives his latest, GED 7249, the visual treatment with a unique concept that accompanies the track fairly well. Joey continues to grow as an artist, flexing his abilities over a smooth backdrop in what proves to be an easy listen. GED 7249 is off of his forthcoming project, If Money Grew on Trees, due out towards the end of 2016, early 2017. In the meantime, take in the visuals, and check out Joey’s latest feature (where he sends the instrumental to the ER) below!
Sounding like the prodigious prodigy of Kid Cudi and Drake, Cameron Murdoch has carved out a space for his self reflective raps with a slow drip of singles starting last year. With his EP release eminent (I Love Me Too – due out tomorrow, October 7th) the MC has treated us to a premiere of the album’s title-track. The bombastic mix of future bass, chopped and skrewed drums and impassioned lyrics makes for a knockout listen that rivals anything currently spinning on terrestrial radio. An added bonus is that Murdoch actually has something constructive to say about our evolving consciousness and the way we can relate to others as well as ourselves.
When he released “Favors” toward the end of last year, Nick Gray joined the scores of Boston rappers on the come up, including but not limited to Cousin Stizz, Michael Christmas, Cam Meekins, OG Swaggerdick, Vintage Lee, and Big Leano. The song blew up and did for Nick Gray what “Shoutout” did for Cousin Stizz: it gave him an audience. From there, Gray took on the role of a rap scientist, experimenting with sounds, releasing songs, and analyzing how they were received.
Eventually, he crafted an album, and “Playless” is the best song on the album. The track finds Gray breaking away from raps about dealing drugs and into much more personal territory. To me, it is the centerpiece of the project, which also hosts highlights like “Today” and Northside,” and it puts on display Gray’s purpose as a rapper, which, in conjunction with the occasional drug rap, is to paint a picture of his anxieties from his unique perspective.
Listen to the rest of Nick Gray’s debut album Northside HERE.
There have been a lot of weird, laughable moments in 2016 — a lot of overreactions over tweets and the like. A root cause of these reactions is people taking themselves way too seriously. The world is full of big problems, and little things seem to irritate people and consume their daily thoughts. In music, too, you feel people driving themselves crazy with their own seriousness. The reason so many people get into music is, of course, for self-expression, but also to entertain. It is easy to forget that, and important to remind yourself. It’s not that serious. You might want it to be, but it’s really not. Just have fun with it while it lasts.
NOTE: The SoundCloud mix is missing track 4 (“Moon II” by Louis Val) and track 16 (“Movie Screens” by Rory Fresco). Original image by Damon Casarez for NYT.