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.
By now you have probably read 5-10 “Best Albums” lists compiled by your favorite music conglomerates. This list is different for several reasons. First, this is a list of my (Arjun’s) personal favorite projects from the year. I did not have to dilute my taste through a group dynamic. This is my unfiltered opinion, which I think makes for a more honest list. Secondly, I did not include any artists for political reasons, which larger sites are prone to do. Lastly, this list is a bit unusual in that it combines albums, mixtapes, and EPs under the blanket term “project,” which in the age of long EPs, free albums, and high quality mixtapes is a necessity.
I am not going to write about every album on the list. Nobody has time for that. Instead, let’s hit the highlights and the lesser known projects.
Mac Miller‘s sophomore LP Watching Movies with the Sound Off will be out on June 18th along with Kanye West’s Yeezus and J. Cole’s (already leaked) Born Sinner. To garner some sort of hype for his album, the Pittsburgh native dropped probably the most highly anticipated song from the album. “Suplexes Inside of Complexes and Duplexes” contains a rare Jay Electronica feature and gosh darn it:
Jay Electronica won me back with his verse on that Mac Miller joint. I’m so weak. 🙁
— Arjun (@THEArjunGrover) June 8, 2013
So here we have a video for Mac Miller’s latest track “Objects In The Mirror” off of his sophomore effort Watching Movies With The Sound Off, and to be totally honest I have no idea what’s going on. Just like most of you, when I turn on a Mac Miller track I expect a catchy beat with a huge, poppy hook that I can immediately envision white, sorority girls pre-gaming to. But much to my very pleasant surprise, that is certainly NOT the case with “Objects In The Mirror.” While the album’s official tracklisting has the track as featureless and produced by Pharrell, the video has make laying down his surprisingly-serviceable singing voice down on a live-backing by Odd Future’s The Internet, which leaves me feeling like I’m listening to a Phony Ppl track. And I LOVE Phony Ppl. Of course, I know a person or two on Twitter that would tell me that this has been the case, but whatever. WMWTSO is due out on June 18th, and you can catch Mac on tour this summer with some of my (and probably your) favorites.
Yeah, it happened again. I fell in love with another singer. I guess I must have a soft spot for raw and sexual female voices hailing from Chicago.
My latest crush goes by the name of Njomza (that’s pronounced “nee-ohm-za”). Not unlike her fellow Windy City crooner Nylo, Njomza’s sound is full of fuzzy, Weeknd-esque production with thumping, hip-hop sensibility.
But, it’s her vox that’s the real standout. She roars like some awesome concoction of Christina Aguilera blended with Neon Hitch. I mean, she’s got that real bad bitch behavior about her, you know what I mean? Like a singer with a rapper’s mentality.
Peep her standout single , “Tell Me A Lie”, from her mixtape Gold Lion below. It’s produced by none other than Larry Fisherman aka Mac Miller’s beatsmith alter ego.
Oh, and if you don’t get pregnant by the end of the song, you’re doing it wrong.
Njomza, call me.
Mac Miller has a couple alter-egos. Sometimes he refers to himself as Mac, but some days he prefers to call himself Larry Lovestein & The Velvet Revival. Other days, he’s Larry Fisherman. Typically, when the name Larry is present, Mac leans more toward smooth jazz music and some soulful croons than what most of the world knows Mac for: his rapping. Whatever. Who cares what the kid goes by. What’s more important, in my opinion, is the music that’s released. So today, in the spirit of 4/20, Mac/Larry released the 4th annual 4/20 mixtape called S.H.O.WTIME (Super High Off Wax Time) with features from Mac and all his alter-egos, Ab-Soul, Smoke DZA, Hodgy Beats, Freddie Gibbs, and more. Smoke weed everyday.
It’s been a long time since I was watching a Big Sean uStream where he said that he “fucks wit” Mac, but only today did an official collab between the two happen. The art for this track is just like that of the Sean/2 Chainz track that dropped back in the fall, making me think that both of those tracks are going to be on Sean’s pre-first album mixtape that STILL HASN’T DROPPED. But I digress. Grab the new track, and check out the lyrics, courtesy of RapGenius. OH GOD.
Spotted at MostlyJunkfood who spotted it at IllRoots
Well, I guess you’ll never know what to expect on Twitter After Dark. While most people were tweeting about their eventful (or not) Friday night, Mac Miller decided to drop a random song that he recorded back home in Pittsburgh. Apparently, he produced it too. This track doesn’t have a home right now, and I doubt it will, but stay on the lookout for Mac’s collab EP with Pharell called Pink Slime, coming soon.
Mac Miller & Pharrell are joining forces to bring you a brand new EP called Pink Slime. This is an interesting combination and I’m curious to see how this plays out. To be honest, I haven’t been impressed with Mac lately, but this is a good start to reconciling things with me.
Anyways, here is their first effort off of Pink Slime, Onaroll. Drop a comment and let us know what you think!
Dope production…obviously because its Pharrell.
Let’s be honest. Everyone has that ONE Justin Bieber song they like. Mine happens to be “U Smile.” Whether you hate the kid or not, someone has caught you at some point singing one of his tunes.
I happen to think Boyfriend is an okay song. His rapping is awful, but the bridge and chorus are great. Specifically the bridge because he channels his inner Justin Timberlake.
Anyways, this is an official remix as 2 Chainz, Asher Roth, and Mac gave The Biebs a remix treatment. In order of best verse: Asher > 2 Chainz > Mac. Not saying Mac’s verse was bad (I actually enjoyed it), but 2 Chainz is on a hot streak with his ad libs (TRUUUUUE), and Asher brings us back to middle school days.
Spotted at IllRoots
Today, Free n Losh released their newest mixtape, MVP, which stands for “Most Versatile Producers.” True to that statement, the tape is riddled with all different types of styles–house, dubstep, and even hip hop, with a track they produced for Mac Miller called “Got You.”
The Mac song is really dope and sounds like Mac’s vintage style, in comparison to the overly poppy stuff he’s been releasing recently. We’re the first blog to release this Mac song, hopefully people pick up on its release. Not too long until Macadelic will be here!
The entire mixtape is pretty great, and they remix a bunch of artists that are rarely remixed–Pink Floyd, Frank Sinatra, Led Zeppelin…it’s all awesome.
Check them out and download the mixtape–it truly has something for everyone.
Just as with the rest of the world, the music world goes in cycles. Artists creating hit songs today are often building off of their predecessors’ creations. Sometimes I hear a song and think to myself ‘Damn. What an incredible song. Sounds timeless.’ More often than not, it’s because they’re borrowing from a song that was created before their time. Ah, the art of sampling.
So often today, artists use samples that we come to know and love, and I think the origin of the sample often goes unnoticed. The idea of samples has always interested me, particularly in cases when producers dig up samples that I’ve never heard before and turn them into something suddenly so popular. I imagine producers going into old record collections, dusting off cases open cases of records, placing the vinyl on the record player, and hearing a snippet of a song that suddenly inspires them to create something with that bit of a song. I’d be interested to know what they listen for, and whether they’re often looking for something to begin with or they tend to find something while in the act of searching, but I assume each artist goes about it differently. If you’re reading this and you’ve been sample searching, leave a comment with your method of discovery. Either way, I thought I’d introduce (or re-introduce) you guys to some of the songs that have been sampled in popular music today, just so we can take a second to appreciate the origins of those clips.
1. Perhaps the textbook case today. AVICII samples Etta James in his hit song “Levels.” (Disclaimer: Pretty Lights had sampled it before in his song “Finally Moving,” but the song didn’t take off as rapidly as “Levels.”)
MP3: “Levels” – Avicii
2. Kanye West, in his popular song “Champion” off of Graduation, borrowed from Steely Dan‘s song “Kid Charlemagne.”
3. In some examples, artists take a sample and flip it into something that sounds altogether different. In this example, though, Kanye West and Jay-Z stick pretty close to the original in their sampling Otis Redding in their song “Otis.”
4. An artist who’s taking off these days is A$AP Rocky. You may or may not know that he used a sample of The S.O.S. Band‘s “No One’s Gonna Love You” in his song “Peso.”
MP3: “Peso” – A$AP Rocky
5. Love the instrumentals in Drake and Rihanna‘s “Take Care?” Me too. Again, not an original. It’s sampled from Gil Scott-Heron‘s “I’ll Take Care Of U,” but is actually the Jamie xx remix.
Sampled (Jamie xx Remix):
MP3: “Take Care” (ft. Rihanna) – Drake
6. Bet you think that LMFAO knocked it out of the park with their “Party Rock Anthem,” hm? It’s cool, they did. But they had the help of Steve Winwood and his original song “Valerie.” (Sample appears at the 1:02 mark.)
7. Even Common chooses to use samples in some of his songs. In one of his latest efforts, “Blue Sky,” he picked a piece of Electric Light Orchestra‘s “Mr. Blue Sky” to craft his sound.
MP3: “Blue Sky” – Common
8. Eminem dug into the 1975 records to pull out Labi Siffre‘s “I Got The” for his popular song “My Name Is.” Incredible original song, and great use of the sample by Marshall Mathers. (Sample can be heard at the 2:10 mark.)
9. One of my favorite songs recently is Gotye‘s “Somebody That I Used To Know (ft. Kimbra).” I was fooled originally, thinking this was 100% Gotye’s creation. Turns out, they sampled a Latin song from 1967 by a man named Luiz Bonfa called “Seville.” Incredible find, Gotye and Kimbra!
10. This one is a bit of a more modern sample (2010), so it may to come as obvious to many, but it’s a great one nonetheless. Young rapper Mac Miller borrowed from popular indie-rock artist Sufjan Stevens in his jam “Donald Trump.”