This week’s mix is a laid back hip hop affair, great for lazy summer days. Though this may not resonate with all of you, rest assured these tracks are a far departure from the rap suffocating today’s radio airwaves. Featuring beats formed from classic funk, soul, and jazz records, each of these tracks epitomizes the core re inventive spirit which defines the genre. Though most these songs have been out for sometime now, their classic vibe will never cease to be relevant, or serve as the perfect sound scape for times when all is well.
Tracks, previews, and reviews after the jump.
“The Light” by Common
Sampling “Open Your Eyes” as performed by Bobby Caldwell in the chorus, this funky head nodding track is one of the only hip hop love songs you’ll never feel sheepish about keeping on your playlist. Though no one will ever be certain, this love letter of a track is believed to be written about Erykah Badu and it’s staccato piano and grooved melody are sure to remind you of fond feelings for those in your own life. Play it while they’re around, or when you’re just looking to be reminded of all the good things going for you.
“People Everyday” by Arrested Development
Few songs scream summer barbecue turned spontaneous dance party like this infectious uplifting 5 chord loop of guitar and storytelling verse. Biting it’s chorus lyrics from the appropriately named 1968 Sly & the Family Stone hit “Everyday People” , this popular remake from the early 90’s flip’s the title and the sound into hip hop gold. My only knock is that the female backup singer slowly devolves into an over used parrot-like echo of Headliners verse. It’s more humorous than irritating though. Plus chances are you’ll be too enthralled with the song to notice for the first 40 listens.
“Back in the Day (Remix)” by Ahmad
Though many of our summers may have differed significantly from Ahmad’s Lewis’ own memories of sun baked youth, I think we can all relate to his sentimentality. Created when he was 18, this slow nostalgic tune takes its hook from Teddy Pendergrass’ “Love TKO” and reminds most of us how different life was, before jobs, bills, and responsibilities. While somewhat whiny at times, over all his message is one many of us ponder while nursing a beer with friends.
“Like It Like That” by A Tribe Called Quest
Any talk of laid back hip hop must always include A Tribe Called Quest. That’s because they basically invented the style, combining jazz, hip hop, and r&b into a smarter, more universal sound that people of all backgrounds could get behind. “Like It Like That” may not have the same recognition as other hits made by the triumvirate, but that doesn’t mean it lacks for style. Short and to the point, muffled warbles perfectly back Q-Tip’s straight stated verse and rhetorical chorus. All that’s left to be found is a scene cool enough to play behind.
“On and On” by People Under The Stairs
As one of the last remaining analog bastions of hip hop, People Under The Stairs or “P.U.T.S” are a constant reminder of how good rap might have been if the word “bling” had never enter our vernacular. Still dedicated to record crate digging, well timed scratches, and care-free funny machismo, its easy to mistakenly believe they were there at the beginning of it all. “On and On” is a quick footed ride of a life lesson, preaching all American notions of “do your best”, “have fun” and “value what you have”. Per usual, the sampling is superb and the verse a clever mesmerizing play on words if you have the ear to pick it out despite its speed.
Cost: $15 for album
Got your own quick mix or just a track you like? Send us the song and artist to Open Forum with “Quick Mix” in the title. We’ll choose the best ones to include in future Quick Mixes.