Hip Hop

[Sunset Mixtape] No Mans Land

New Sunset Mixtape!

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.



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Best New Songs of October 2016


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…

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[Sunset Mixtape] Notes on Improving the Universe

New Sunset Mixtape!

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.



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[Video + MP3] Joey Aich Releases New Video & Feature

joey aich

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!

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[Premiere] Cameron Murdoch – Title Track


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.

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Nick Gray – Playless

New Nick Gray!

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.


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Best New Songs of September 2016

September was scorching! While we tend to cater our Best of The Month playlist towards what’s available for free on SoundCloud, there was a plethora of phenomenal music that dropped this month. We’re talking the likes of Bon Iver, St. Paul and The Broken Bones, Francis and The Lights, Solange, Danny Brown, Travis Scott, Mac Miller, and Young Thug (last few days of August). So fire up your Spotify, or Apple Music (or Tidal I guess), and check out those albums. In the meantime, peep out these glorious 17 tracks below!
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GoldLink – Rough Soul (Feat. April George)


If you’re looking for some soul on a Thursday, GoldLink and April George have enough smooth vibes for all of us. GoldLink has been on fire since the release of his album And After That, We Didn’t Talk and hasn’t stopped since. “Rough Soul” is another chapter of GoldLink’s love story, which always makes for some of his best work. The track may be about heartbreak and connections lost, but its chill sound gives the impression that everything will be okay in the end– that’s how life works, right? Check out GoldLink and April George’s special collaboration below.

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[Sunset Mixtape] It’s Not That Serious

New Sunset Mixtape!

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.



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Best New Songs of August 2016


Today is my 24th birthday. The significance in this year is that it’s my year of the Black Mamba. This has absolutely nothing to do with music, but not much needs to be said other than the fact that both Frank Ocean (finally!), and Young Thug dropped new albums this month. Check out Best of August, as well as, Best of July below!

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[Sunset Mixtape] Goodbye Summer: One Last Go

Goodbye summer

You may be currently sipping a cocktail in the backyard and tanning your skin away, but we all know the inevitable is coming — the end of summer. I know, it burns our ears too, but let’s not forget all the good times basking in the sun quite yet. We’ve compiled the perfect playlist for your last minute BBQs and days at the park. There are songs literally about summer (Kate Nash), songs that just make you want to get down at the labor day party (Roy Woods, Mac Miller), and some tracks that are simply light and catchy (Big Baby D.R.A.M., Kali Uchis) for those “windows down” car rides. Before you kiss the sun and warmth goodbye, take this playlist for a spin and just live in the summer moment.

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[Sunset Mixtape] Reality Distortion Field

New Sunset Mixtape!

I have been reading Walter Isaacson’s authorized biography Steve Jobs, and in it he describes Jobs’ “reality distortion field,” in which Jobs appropriated reality to fit his own singular focus. It is a tool Jobs used to speak things into fruition and to empower his employees to make the impossible possible. His colleagues often despised his rigorous, borderline irrational demands, but in the end, these high expectations often benefited the final product, and for that, the surviving workers thanked him.

I think anyone with unconventional goals needs to occasionally bend reality to fit his or her vision. You can’t lose grip on reality, but a blind faith supported by hard work seems like a tried and true recipe for success.

This mix is the soundtrack heard upon entering your own reality distortion field. It touches on spirituality and features dancehall sounds with some obvious sounds of digital distortion — just to remind you that you are momentarily dissociated from reality.

Are you working or just wasting your time? Did I mention that you’re still on my mind?

NOTE: This mix was meant to include “Somewhere in Australia” by Louis Val as track 6, but the track was removed from Soundcloud.


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