Tag Archives: Mos Def

One Sunday Morning: A Playlist

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“The making of a good compilation tape is a very subtle art.  Many do’s and don’ts.  First of all, you’re using someone else’s poetry to express how you feel.  This is a delicate thing.” (High Fidelity)

Over the past few weeks, one of my work projects has me thinking about playlists a lot: about how they can capture a mood perfectly, about how they can change your mood more effectively than almost anything else, and how they indeed are a very subtle art.

As the first of what might become a regular feature of this blog, I’m going to share a playlist.  This one seeks to capture the feeling of the song title that wraps it up: one Sunday morning.

Here’s the screen shot of the songs and artists; below is a link that will take you to the music itself (technology willing).  Enjoy.

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One Sunday Morning

Travel Micro-Mix

As I try to power through the fog of jetlag, I can’t muster much more than a micro-mix of travel-related songs.  But if you don’t yet have them, each and every one is highly recommended.  Nothing new, but each essential.

I’m back home and plan on staying for a bit.  More to come soon.

Hey London, Chiddy Bang

Travelin’ Man (Remix), Mos Def

Paris,Tokyo Remix, Lupe Fiasco (with Pharrell, Q-Tip, and Sarah Green)

We Are Hip Hop

Eight years ago, in the lyrics to his song “Fear Not of Man,” Mos Def (yes, the now-actor), said the following in defining hip hop:

People talk about hip hop like it’s some giant living in the hillside coming down to visit the townspeople.

We are hip hop. Me, you, everybody.  We are hip hop.  So hip hop is going where we’re going.

So the next time you ask yourself where hip hop is going, ask yourself where am I going?

And today, unexpectedly, hip hop is taking us to the Portland Cello Project.

Culture ripples across boundaries that once existed.  Enjoy.

Oh, and Portland, my only request would be to get another drummer or two in the mix.  But I suppose in fairness it’s not the Portland Drum Project.

Fear Not Of Man, Mos Def

Day 26: A Song that You Can Play on an Instrument

With the digitally driven democratization of music creation, what can we call an instrument these days?  Who qualifies as a musician?

As it often is, the purist’s argument is tempting.  It’s easy to clear one’s throat, gather the right gravitas of righteous indignation, and proclaim that instruments are what instruments have been: the presence of a demo version of Garage Band on your Mac doesn’t create music any more than does Guitar Hero.

As a music fanatic, I almost feel compelled to take a stand on this side of exclusivity.  The respect I have for live musicians borders on reverence, and its rarity elevates the impact of this talent.

But here’s the thing: I have (almost) enough respect for what people can create through the re-mix.  The ability to take create an entire song around a sample is the background of hip-hop music.  With that fact, the turntable became an instrument.  And the more recent technology that enables us to create music from a hyper-kinetic tableau of pop culture (think Girl Talk) has turned the laptop into an instrument.  Yes, it has.

Now just because you know how to loop a beat doesn’t mean that you have musical talent.  Trust me, I know this from experience.  Aside from spectacularly futile short-term jaunts with the clarinet and the guitar, I’ve had no success whatsoever with traditional instruments.  I guess that’s one of the reasons that I’ve been drawn to dj-ing: considering my creation as the selection and sequencing of music.  Using ideas and juxtapositions and builds to create and bend moods and atmospheres.  I’m still somewhat amateurish at it, but it’s quite fun and quite the creative challenge.  Here’s an old mix that I hadn’t shared digitally prior to now.  Enjoy this mix from 2003, I’d imagine for some of you it will be a nice bit of nostalgia and for others perhaps a bit of a musical discovery.  If all goes well, you should be able to click here and download the zip file with the music.  If that link doesn’t cooperate, try this one: http://www.mediafire.com/file/ujvy1tnzydo/Holiday%20Mix%202003.zip

And here’s the track list.  Do hope you enjoy it, holler if there’s anything that you’re particularly liking.  Am I a musician?  Probably not.  But an improving dj?  Perhaps.