Saturday, January 31, 2009

Malagasy Madness

Tso Drano - Samonina (from Tsapika Crazy unknown year)

Crazy little track from the coast of Madagascar. Totally has that Soca/Kuduro shuffle beat going on. Everything I hear from this island is the strangest.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Smokin That Peace Pipe, Smokin it Right!

The Wild Magnolias - Golden Crown (from The Wild Magnolias 1974)

Fat Tuesday is on its way and it's time for some carnival music, starting with my favorite Mardi Gras Indian tribe, The Wild Magnolias!

Every year the Big Chiefs in New Orleans strut the streets in heavy homemade costumes competing with other tribes that dress to impress, an event that has taken place since the 19th century. Elaborately sewn Native American beaded dresses, a whole flocks worth of feathers, and thosands of dollars and hours spent preparing the costumes for Mardi Gras. While shit talking gets flung around, Indian Masking used to be a rather violent event, as Mardi Gras was a day to settle scores between the tribes. James "Sugar Boy" Crawford's infamous Jock a Mo (aka Iko Iko) was based on the taunting chants rivals would throw at each other as they paraded through the city. The ruckus has calmed down and inner city black communities continue to meet up in Shakespere Park next to the C.J. Peete Projects and parade the city on Mardi Gras and St Joseph's Day in 150lbs costumes.

The Wild Magnolias tribe has existed since the 1950s and are one of the few tribes that have recorded material. Led by chief Bo Dollis since 1964, the group's music is a mix of streetwise New Orleans soul, Calypso, and Creole influence that have taken the group from the ghetto to Carnige Hall and the Smithsonian Folklife Festival. I was happy to find out they have one of those weird 90s looking websites with some insane pictures of their costumes, one of them looking to have spinners on it.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Chico Buarque

Hello there folks. I'm Grisha, and I'm from Tel-Aviv, which is in Israel. Dave invited me to contribute, so here we go. I'm doing a show for an Israeli web radio called Halas, and it's called "Tropical Truth", just like Caetano Veloso's book, which I unfortunately never had a chance to check out. Naturally, the show's focused on Brazilian music, so that's what I'm gonna write about.

Well. As probably most people know, end of the sixties / beginning of the seventies weren't the easiest of times in Brazil. Dictatorship / censorship, all that shit. Caetano and Gilberto Gil were forced to leave their country and moved to London, Joao Gilberto and Carlos Lyra moved to Mexico. Chico Buarque went to Italy, because he used to live there as a kid. There he recorded two albums in Italian. First one of these is "Chico Buarque Na Italia", which is just standard Chico singing in Italian. The second one is, of course, "Per Un Pugno Di Samba", his collaboration with Ennio Morricone. The record company didn't think much of this LP's commercial potential, so it came out only in Italy, and later became a much sought-after item. The version in Portuguese, that Buarque also recorded vocals for, didn't come out until fucking 2000, when it was released on CD as "Sonho de um carnaval", in France only. WTF.

Anyway, the album is all versions of his songs from his first four albums, and Morricone's touches range from good to stunning. My favourite song on the album is the version of "Funeral de um lavrador", from "Vol. 3". To make it more interesting, I'm also posting the original, which of course is not half bad also, but the Morricone version is guaranteed to blow your brains out. Both are in Portuguese.

Chico Buarque - Funeral de um lavrador
Chico Buarque / Ennio Morricone - Funeral de um lavrador

Lower Forms of Music

Semool - Essai 3 (from Essais 1971)

I'm no Mutant Sounds and I haven't looked at the Nurse With Wound List in years, but sometimes gross shit like this fills the holes in my brain rap music has caused. I had a lot of fun in high school tracking down acid casualties such as these, and with my recent listening to The Breadwinner and Shadow Ring records I was reminded of Semool, one of the dirtiest records I know. Recorded back in the late 60s by a Pink Floyd cover band who were too fucked up to realize it. Along with Mahogany Brain, Red Noise, and Horrific Child, Semool joined the ranks of Futura's red imprint of French "rock" records not totally removed from their free jazz releases. I don't think I know of an album cover that better suits the music as this does, for it's best listened to in the fetal position. The band puts music in its coffin and play Black Sabbath riffs on their guitars with the shovels they used to bury it. The tape loops in their delays must have been from the same studios Sly recorded There's a Riot Goin On. Recommended for fans of The Shadow Ring, Jason Lescalleet, Danny and the Dressmakers, and people that like feeling uncomfortable.

Trimothy Leary

Trim - Where I'm Ere(Screwed and Chopped) (from Soulfood vol 1 2007)

A bit behind on this one but I don't give a fuck it rules.

Trim aka Trimothy aka Trimbal aka Taliban aka hard rapper to google gets the codeine treatment from Radioclit. Not the standard screw tape phaser sound, but Trim sounding equally scary over the crazy accordion and ghost sounds concoction that Roll Deep cooked up. Dude is brazen and probably has more beef in London than anybody.

Inspired by this song I have been putting together a mix of all my favorite slowed down oddities in my collection. Lots of screwed up oldies, classic Houston joints and some total oddballs.

In other Grime news that I'm late on, that Gang Gang Dance and Tichny Stryder song is fucking terrible.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Jackie Opel - Push Wood (from The Best of Jackie Opel 2002, recorded 1965)

As obscene as any Dancehall or Soca made nowadays, I'm not sure if Jackie calling his junk "Mango Wood" or refering to his girl's as fire is better. Jackie worked with Sir Coxsone back in the day, travelling to Kingston from his home in Bridgetown. He is credited as the father of "Spouge", a hybrid of styles developing in the Caribbean at the time. To me, he's a dirtier Alton Ellis rudeboy, and rules pretty hard.

So Close to Weed

Ce'cile - Rude Bwoy Thug Life (Cure Riddim 200?)

My knowledge of ladies in Jamaican music doesn't really go further than Hortense Ellis so I'm happy to have finally paid a little attention. Ce'cile kills the Cure Riddim dead here. If you've seen me in Chicago within the last week with headphones on, there is a good chance I was listening to Waiting and pretending it wasn't below freezing.

Shoulder Leans

Diamond and D Roc - The Bankhead Bounce (bass mix) (from 12" 1995)

Forget that footwork, what can your shoulders do? The track that started the snap and all the geeking out on the westside, brought to you by Diamond and the dude who would become one half of the Ying Yang Twins. It's hard to believe a hip hop record this minimal came out between Illmatic and Reasonable Doubt. The Atlanta Heritiage of whisper songs is a lot clearer due to this fucking weird shoulder percolator of a dance that Michael Jackson did on TV once.

The Video.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Stop All This Boogaloo Rudeboy!

Safi Abdullah - Afrika is Burning (from Rebel Soca 1989)

An anti-rudeboy, anti-disco, anti-freaking, anti-boogaloo earlier Soca track from this weird CD I found at the Harold Washington Library. It's not very soca and not very interesting production wise, but the hook is "Africa is burning, and the black man here is doing the freak" and provides some contrast to all the fuckin songs pouring out of the Caribbean.

I'm definitely not anti-rudeboy though.

Steppin in Caracas

Pacheko - Bi Polar Bear (from Lo Dubs Analog Crash Mix 2008)

Venezuelan Dubstep that sounds like a flooded raquetball court if it were hotboxed. A little bit of the atmospheric side of things, and a lot of the wobbly "makes me feel like a gangster" sound too. The dubbier remix by Starkey is also nice.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Still Searchin

Junior Delahaye - Traveling Man (from Showcase 12" 1982 reissue 2001)

Some dreamy shit brought to you by Ray Barnes aka Bullwackie. A cover of an old rocksteady joint that's as Curtis as it is Basic Channel. Decaying Falsettos that sound underwater, best listened to in the bathtub while your taking a break from expelling duppies

Hit Em with the Mule

Lil Goldie - Act a Donkey on a (from Act a Donkey on a 1997)

A Drag Rap sample triggerman classic with some of the weirdest album art I have ever laid eyes on. Looks like a Pen and Pixel meets Michael Hurley design. Why do all the girls have tails? Shit is twisted.

Be sure to check out Kid Slizzard's new Bounce Breaks Archive for a great collection of sample IDs from all the top dogs in Crescent City.

The Ski Mask Way

Disco D - Keys to The Whip (from Booty Bar Anthem 12")

It is rumored that Disco D was making people fuck on the dancefloor before he had even had his own cherry popped. The frontman for Ghetto Tech, he put out dozens of 12"s on his own as well as producing and remixing 50 Cent, Pharrell, Dj Slugo, and 8ball & MJG. In any format, "If the music makes the girls want to take off their panties at the end of the night, then you know that the music was good" was the D standard. Strange pitched up Metroplex sounding techno dragged through the Brewster-Douglass homes by some skinny jewish kid. A pioneering force in the corruption of house music and a grammy nominated producer working with rappers, Brazilians and TV jingles, Disco's mental health caught up with him late in his career. Detroit lost a good one in 2007 when D was found in his NYC apartment with a belt around his neck at only 26 years old, who had suffered from Bi-Polar Disorder all his life. It would be rude of me not to mention Disco with all of the Ghetto House I have been enjoying lately, so here's 2002s gold digger anthem.

RIP my friend (1980-2007)

Saturday, January 24, 2009

One That Don't Give a Fuck

Backyard Band - Project Bitch Freestyles (from ?)

Mannie Fresh congo funk.

Hiding in Shadows We Don't Belong

VA - They're Gonna Find Us: The Sounds of Adultery (2009)

In 1967 while taking a break from cheating in poker, songwriter Dan Penn(penner of The Letter) along with Lincoln Wayne "Chips" Morman wrote At The Dark End of The Street, the tale of illicit love first made famous by James Carr. In under half an hour the two somehow created one of the finest songs of adultery in existence. Rather than a Trapped in The Closet kill the bitch situation, it's told through the eyes of the cheater with the shame of living in the shadows that is burden to both parties.

Inspired by Swamp Dogg, Luther Ingram, OV Wright, and my 15+ versions of said song, I made a short little mix of cheatin' songs to help ease the consciences of those guilty of breaking the 7th commandment. Scattered throughout the mix are versions of Dark End and other lies.


1. James Carr - At The Dark End of The Street
2. O.V. Wright - He's My Son (Just The Same)
3. Ann Sexton - I'm His Wife, Your Just a Friend
4. Dicky Williams - In The Same Motel
5. Percy Sledge - It's All Wrong, But It's Alright
6. The Flying Burrito Brothers - At The Dark End of The Street
7. Luther Ingram - If Loving You is Wrong, I Don't Wanna Be Right
8. Swamp Dogg - The Baby is Mine
9. Doris Duke - If She's Your Wife Who am I?
10. Percy Sledge - At The Dark End of The Street
11. O.V. Wright - Eight Men, Four Women
12. Dan Penn and Spooner Oldham - At The Dark End of The Street(Live)

(I think the tracklist might shift because my itunes is weird...but thats the order to listen)

Go Ahead Shuffle It

71 North Boyz - Cleveland Shuffle (from Hustle 101 year unknown)

The Cleveland Shuffle is some kind of odd dance in which you spin around in a circle to this weird looped version of Billy Jean. I have not found anything else on record by these cats, but there is a CDS of this track with some other joints on it. I'm too confused to tell if it's actually cool. See also the St Louis Pepper Step and the Mississippi Cha Cha Slide for more retarded spinning around. What the fuck.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Jukin for the Kids

DJ Deeon - Perc (from House Work!) 1995 Dancemania

"My grandmother is like...make some music without all the profanity in it for the little kids, but's hard as hell!"
-DJ Funk

A little girl singing the Percolator from Deeon's classic House Work! double LP thats great for DJing children's birthday parties. Juke ain't always about booty!

Also, a cool little early short with some commentary from DJ Funk, Jammin Gerald, Raymond Barney, ect on Ghetto House and Dance Mania Records.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Codeine Country

Just dug up this great article from the Houston Press during the Screwston boom of 2005 on Codeine music history in the city of syrup. The fishing for codeine story is pretty amazing. Been trying to re-find it for a while but it turns out it wasn't in the Chron.

Love Potion 69

The Clovers - Rotten Cocksuckers Ball (from If it ain't a Hit i'll Eat my Shit)

As Legend has it, the very same smelling like turpentine and looking like India ink dudes recorded this parody of Darktown Strutters Ball as an acetate for a record exec's personal collection which ended up on this comp along with other fabulous collections of ranch and roll for our pleasure. Really worth hearing the whole comp for such monster hits as Someone Else was Sucking my Dick Last Night, Fuck Off and two Johnny Otis/Snatch and The Poontangs joints that always cheer me up (one of which I previously posted and on somedays is my favorite song of all time). Sounds like it was a pretty great party that didn't require no goddamn taxi cab.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Ola Amazonica

Juaneco Y Su Combo - Ya Se Ha Muerto Mi Abuelo (from Chicha Masters vol 1 2008)

A heater from Pucallapa a dead grandpa. Juaneco was formed by a Chinese accordion player in the early 60s who's music has been featured on the Barbes' Roots of Chicha. A Chicha group who dressed like natives of Peru and played psych rock the Cumbia way and first in the Masters of Chicha series. I walked into a Boarders looking for a book they didn't have and felt obligated to buy a CD to avoid looking like a shoplifer and this was pretty much the only good one they had. Best experienced while looking at girls asses shaking.

Pussy and Fightin Music

The Go Go Posse - D.C. Don't Stand for Dodge City (12" 1998)

The Classic response to the violence going down at Go Go clubs with lots of police sirens. The Posse was a project by members of various groups around D.C. including Rare Essence, E.U., and Chuck Brown's band that made this collaboration record in reaction to clubs in the city banning Go Go bands from playing.

Where the Go Go blogs at?

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Before They Were Trapstars Part 1

Lil J aka Young Young Jeezy - Haters ft Lil Jon (from Thuggin Under the Influence 2001)

Another installment of the ongoing chronicles of rappers before they had blue lambos and black presidents. We started with pre-teen Weezy a few weeks ago and in honor of the inauguration I figured Jeezy was appropriate. Not always know as Jeezy, Lil Jay was the moniker pre-Boyz in the Hood that appeared on his first two street albums which independantly sold pretty well. It's pretty amazing how different he was before the days of movie beats, make note of his odd country rap tunes with Mystikalesque turrets outburts. To compliment the spaz attacks Lil Jon is on board for some of the production and raps/yells on this track I put up. Young jeezy can be a particularly good rapper, he takes after De La by rhyming pineapple with pineapple and remains one of the streets best motivational speakers. His problems come with trying to make the unepic moments epic by hiding behind big loud midi orchestras that sometimes overshine his abilities as a rapper. It's interesting here to see the results when he's matched up with a whole different set of drum patterns, even if hes nowhere near the lyricist he is today.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Bellowed Creole

Unknown Artist - Minina Si Bu Dan n'ta Coré Mo (from Cap-Vert Un Archipel de Musique)

Real strange accordion driven track from the Cape Verde islands (or island really, people only live on one of them) that's kind of permanently stuck in my head tonight. At one point it just stops for some reason and I thought the 2nd accordion was a synth at first. Morna is the offical sound of Cape Verde like Tango is Argentina, a Creole spoken music with similar traits to those living in areas affected by the French such as Louisiana and Madagascar. These tales of ship crashes with accordions on board (Colombia ect) effecting the music and culture of an area are pretty nuts. A real shame these Ocora releases have been out of print since CDs were invented, the recording quality is always swell especially for the times (I believe this was recorded in the early 80s). While read as english the title suggests Cap-Vert the Peninsula of Senegal, the music is definitely from the islands.

Enjoy your MLK Jr days!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

The Doo Doo Wop is Strong in Chad

UGK - Game Been Good to Me (from UGK for Life 2009)

Just relaying this from everywhere else on the internet. Supposedly the album is out early February, and this track makes me pretty psyched. Pimp is on some grown man shit.

Friday, January 16, 2009

The Year of Our Lord Two Thousand and Eight

A bit late I guess but this is my loose 2008 list of music that made some kind of impact on me good, bad, or ugly. I really have never finished such a list and it was a bit harder than I expected. I probably listen to too much old music and am terrible with dates. There is no order to these lists. Some have 10 entrees, some have 1. I didn't do a favorite singles list because I don't keep enough track. 2008 was pretty successful, yet there are some serious concerns especially when you look at the lists other people made. I look forward to this year, and hope that it will be year of the Fabo rather than last year as year of the Weezy. We shall see.

PS in 2009, you bitches better leave more comments.

Best Albums:

Jason Lescalleet and Graham Lambkin - The Breadwinner (Erstwhile)

Campfires, tape machines, and the sound of a monster snoring, this was the weirdest thing I heard this year. The Breadwinner puts Reel-to-Reel fondler Jason Lescalleet up with one third of his favorite band. Lambkin, former member of UKs The Shadow Ring released Salmon Run to the world in 2007, breathing new life back into the sound collage genre. The trans-Atlantic collaboration between the two resulted in something not unlike Robert Ashley's Automatic Writing, a record sans sound installation that makes your room alive. If these walls could talk...these walls are talking. And snoring for that matter. While certainly Ashley inspired (the cover itself is a replication of 78's Private Parts ) The Breadwinner doesn't sit still and provides a real challenge for both the listener as well as the acoustics of the space your in. One of the most perfect meetings of musicians these ears know, and I am fully satisfied I spent my beer money on this CD.

E 40 - The Ball Street Journal (Reprise)

After 40 Water brought the under-appreciated bay back into view with "Tell Me When to Go", things looked good for Earl and his crew. Unfortunately the bay still can't compete with it's successors out east and in the confederate states, and I doubt The Ball Street Journal will change anything outside of northern California. For years there's been a heavy weight put on 40 to do for the bay what "Still Tippin" did for the south, but with the state that hip hop is in post-Weezy it might be a while or never before California gets back on the map. On first listen pretty much an extension of My Ghetto Report Card with more non-bay appearances, maybe just being a huge fan of the dude made me like it regardless. Multiple listens resulted in Earl selling me a flat tire for my bike, going to a 40 Water intervention, and being beamed up by father-son spaceship the Droop-E machine. The guy has put in almost 20 years in the rap game and is still the most out-there dude on ether side of the Mississippi. File under Yay Area minimalism and progressive thizz.

Chancha Via Circuito - Rodante (ZZK)

Yall already know about my love for ZZK records and I already did a review of this Cumbiastep jewel a few weeks ago so no need to restate why I like it. That motherfucker is nice. Ride that circle train!

Z Ro - Crack(Rap-A-Lot)

Your favorite emo rapper pretty much hasn't made a bad album and continues to provide us with the dark side of the screw. Still as "relentlessly bleak" as the Village Voice says, still as good as goth rap gets. ..."But Them broads I deal with got me still singing I hate you bitch". Dude just doesn't like people very much. Him and Trae's ABN album is an honorable mention, but I'm more interested in Mr lonely by himself than two assholes doing Houston throwbacks. My one complaint, he did not use this brilliant cover for the final product. Hang in there buddy and come out of your room for once, some humans are pretty decent.

G Side - Starshipz and Rocketz (Slow Motion Soundz)

This space rap doesn't come with ice cream sneakers or yachts but rather memories of freestyling at the lunch table. Slow Motion Soundz and the rest of the Huntsville crew of raver-hoppers got picked up through the powers of myspace, soon approaching Weezy level freak hype for both the white collars and the white belts. Bama is nuts right now. Whether or not you want to admit it, the most anticipated (by myself included) Fear and Loathing in Huntsvegas consisted of songs that were already on other mixtapes or mediocre remixes of them, so it was nice that Starshipz and Rocketz was there to provide relief for those of us with the hunger. It's rather unfortunate how this crew has been a victim of so many blogremixes, because the originals are key. I'm still trying to figure out Block Beaterz, some kind of Organized Noize-Psy Trance wooziness. What drives these guys to use techno and Enya samples is beyond me. I guess this is the era where it's ok to turn nu-metal bands into Baltimore house tracks so I'll leave it at that. Southern rap has really been creeping out of all the corners lately and Alabama has proven to be another hot spot for creativity in a genre of music with more than sub-genre plagues the Pharaoh of Egypt.

Salem - Fuckt (Disaro)

Three like-minded cats with an upbringing in northern Michigan; this is what happens when some goth kids get a hold of early Three Six Mafia. Think Late Night Tip playing as your banging a crack whore. Salem is a breath of fresh air for those of us dealing in Screwgaze, a slowdive into Middle America's bleak landscape. Coldwave with a cold chain, and more exciting than most outsider interpretations of the purple stuff. Fuckt is a CD-R collection of mostly older tracks, including their cover of the bosses Streets of Philiadelphia and their best rap track to date Trapdoor. Not very clear on the details, and those of us that heard it found it in Rapidshare links. "Not-Rap" with the clap, and living proof that the Midwest is a scary place.

Not actual cover art

Maga Bo - Archipelagoes (Soot)

A hitchhikers guide to Shantystep. Ridiculous genre names aside, Rio de Janeiro based DJ and producer Maga Bo is keen on providing us pretend urbanethnomusicologists with bass in times of relief. Hard to pin down in any kind of feasible category, Archipelagoes is global force to be reckoned with. A Capoeira circle of fire and an index of beats with no classification. So Much respect is paid towards the music surrounding him in his travels but not a case of the Graceland Paul Simons. With a massive array of mixes from Samba to Soca under his belt, his nomadic sound system keeps giving.

Crucial Conflict - Planet Crucon (Buckwild)

The same guys wearing overalls talking about hay in the middle of a barn are back 10 years later and they are just as weird. Theres a place in Chicago called Lawndale, but most know it as K-Town due to the N/S streets all starting with the letter K. It was this neighborhood that MLK Jr marched for equal housing, Willie Lloyd started the Vice Lords, and the first wave of Chicago westside rappers shaped that Chicago gutter sound. The Adrenaline Rush sound that along with the Legendary Traxter and Twista, Crucial Conflict created. I was at a huge warehouse party in Chicago last May in which I found myself talking to Kilo, complete with two C sideburns and sunglasses with only one lens. He encouraged me to check out the new album whether I download or buy it, and a few weeks later I did. This album is a great revamping of that west side heart pounding, funkier than it ever was complete with the Funkateer himself on board. With so much attention pointed towards the No I.D. and Kayne schools of Chicago, the west side remains forgotten for most, which is a shame for one side is channeling Parliament, while the other channels Lionel Richie.

The Magic ID - Till My Breath Gives Out (Erstwhile)

Once upon a time in the 1960s, revolutionary electro-acoustic group AMM played a party in London in which all four Beatles were sitting on the couch. Paul McCartney has cited said band as a main influence on their studio experiments at Abbey Road, and the scraping cymbals and tabletop guitar would be mimicked by Syd Barrett and co on Piper at the Gates of Dawn. This influence of improvisation and unconventional means of making music has floated around the realm of pop for years, so it only makes sense that these four Berlin musicians would give a record like this a shot. Giving birth to the newest Erstwhile imprint Erstpop, Till My Breath Gives Out is a tighter, more songy extension of Christof Kurzmann's Schnee project that somewhat makes me think of the third Velvets album if it were produced by Sister Ray. The are of music under discussion needed some twee, and The Magic I.D. show us that electro-acoustic pop music is something to be excited about.

El Remolon - Pibe Cosmo (ZZK)

Marching along with a murguetón band drunk as a skunk through the post-economic crash Argentinean landscape, Pibe Cosmo is an environmental barrio record leaving no stoner behind. As if Alan Lomax had a pot leaf keyboard and a bottle of cheap Chablis, this is the sound of tin roofs shaking. Really feels more like a Reggaeton record more than anything, but with a set of rhythms that don't tend to any rules. Another great ZZK record once again renewing my slavery to the stomp.

Honorable Mentions:
English and Toshimaru Nakamura - One Day
Scarface - Emeritus
A.B.N. - It Is What It Is
The Bug - London Zoo
Buraka Som Sistema - Black Diamond

Best Compilations:

VA - ZZK Sounds vol 1 (ZZK)

Pretty obvious from my list that I dig on Cumbia and all the ZZK guys. Mr Chancha gave me one of these and man if CDs had grooves they would be warn out. More than just an intro to the digital Cumbia going down in Argentina and elsewhere, a great disc of music showing how versatile the music can be. Everything from Cumbia Villera to Cumbiastep to Cumbia Concret, that slow step from over 100 years ago is still banging hard.

VA - Black Stars Ghana's Hiplife Revolution (Out Here)

Lovely collection of what modern Ghanians are up to these days. With all the old (yet lovely) Highlife and African rock comps pouring out these days, it's great that this one caters to the music that is actually being made in present day. African's didn't stop making music in 1979, and their vision of hip hop and electronic music is important too. Attention has certainly started shifting towards Kwaito and Kuduro within the last year or two which definitely makes me an even more overwhelmed African music geek. Contains the monster club bangers of Accra and its surrounding area such as V.I.P.s Ahomka Wo Mu.

VA - Urban Rai 2008 (EMI France)

With so much fuss made about the Autotuner this year, it only makes sense that Rai created such hype. Much of the singing the Algerians employ already sounds like its naturally pitch corrected and therefore the two go hand in hand. This double CD collection of popular Northern Africa joints is a great way of getting a feel for the state that this music is in now, and how weird the synths can be. Cracks me up how NOW That's What I Call Music the packaging is, but in reality it really is kind of the Rai version of such. Now us westerners can fetishize music in three languages we don't understand.

Best Mixes:

Sonido Martinez - Rebajadas Van A Brooklyn (Dutty Artz)

Bolivian DJ Sonido Martinez shows us how to do the Rebajada, or rather shows us how to play Cumbia with the batteries low. Flawless mix that contains some of the wackiest Cumbia around including a cover of Rod Stewart's Do You Think I'm Sexy. Not exactly screwed and chopped, but that's what the Choppaholix are for. Great cover art.

Flosstradamus - Mad Decent Dancemania/Juke Podcast (Mad Decent/The Internet)

Just a Mad Decent Podcast and not an actual physical release, this was easily one of the things I listened to most in 2008. A great intro for anyone interested in Chicago Juke/Ghetto Tech/Ghetto House music, and a great selection of tracks from the infamous Dancemania Records. Before I saw these guys live in Portland, their mixes I heard were honestly pretty bland. There was something there, but it didn't feel right listening to it on headphones in my bedroom. The reason for this is that they are live DJs/killer party makers. After a few beers I danced so hard I lost my phone. Technically these guys are amazing DJs. Their mixing is on point and they can be a lot more out there than they might seem, yet still having such great crowd control. Being impressed with their live energy and being a subscriber to the MD podcasts, I gave this one a shot. A flawless mix that couldn't have come at a better time in my Juke obsession. Lots of classic joints here from Slugo, Deeon, and Chip, along with some non-Dancemania Juke remixes all put together in the most fun way possible.

Gabriel Heatwave & Ben Dubstar - The Heat Wave Immediate Sounds vol. 1 (The Internet)

Killer mix of Archipelago raver music that doesn't come up short in exposing the insanity of current Caribbean music. Rudeboys jamming synths and a bunch of whistles. Available free via the net for all of us nerds that desire the finer ting tings in life.

Best Reissue:

Main Source - Breaking Atoms (Wild Pitch)

Not to get all backpacker nostalgic for something I hadn't even heard until recently, but it was nice to see one of the finest examples of rap music put back in print this year. Large professor and crew gave us this sampledelic slice of greatness almost 20 years ago that remain unheard for years due to Wild Pitch going under and plagues of legal troubles. Much fresher to these ears than most music that came out in the golden age so many hump. The boom bap shall forever rest in peace, but it's not easy to forget hip hop as such with so much soul and experimentation.

Best Mixtapes:

VA - The Sick Wid it Umbrella vol 2: The Machine (Sick Wid it)

Twittery synths, bucket drums, and wooshy claps, these are a few of my favorite things. Adding several to the list of weirdos that walk the ground E-40 paved, this ones even crazy for the yay. As equally absurd are the raps; "It's cookies like Danimals". Nice to see my hometown's Cool Nutz on here along with recent favorites Cousin Fik and Turf Talk. Rick Rock and Droop-E have taken the minimal crunk that Collipark left behind and continued making some incredibly bizarre beats that continue to put a smile on my face. Must be heard if not for that reason than for one of the craziest E-40 verses ever.

Fabo and Dj Coolbreeze - Kandy Man

“My whole thing is just about getting the hell on, know what I mean?” says Fabo. “Hooking up a spaceship with some 46”s on that motherfucker, aqua, peanut-butter paint job on that sumbitch cause it’s going. With all my niggas on it, we gonna blow this thing to Mars.”

Dear Lafabian,

Please hurry up and put your album out.

-Your biggest fan, Dave.

The lovechild of Bootsie Collins and a martian, Fabo has been standing on the verge of getting it on since the hit labia minora anthem from 3 years ago. That first D4L record was brilliant, and Fabo is keeping the pharmaceutical funk alive while Shawty Lo gets added to the list of crack rappers (not that there's anything wrong with that). This mixtape shows that Fabo isn't just some pill-popping wacko, but a musician who's already proved his potential without even having an album out. From scary flying saucer rap about partying on mars (Takeoff) to prime ghetto blues (Bankhead), Fabo deploys a range farther than snap rap was intended to go.

The Very Best Mixtape

Esau Mwamawaya and Radioclit show a true bond of friendship and love for fun on their free to all collection of tracks, mashups, and remixes they conducted since they first met. A launching pad to their upcoming album that can be enjoyed by anybody who likes to smile. With so much confrontational music in the world today it's nice that this exists for us to sit back and feel happy about. I'm a bit concerned that Esau will fall under some of the bad company he keeps on a few tracks and hope that those surrounding him don't fail to let him show his better side of East African pop music as opposed to letting his soul rot in the depths of countless throwaway remixes this world doesn't need. However, Radioclit have served him well and their album at high expectations.

Doppelganger of the Year:

Plies - Da Realist (Atlantic) V.S. Ace Hood - Gutta (Def Jam)

Two albums so damn similar, both of them rather good. Plies and fellow gladesman Ace Hood side by side tell the Florida tales a lot better than the 2nd Freeway or the man below. Plies' family drama sad rap is better than Ace Hood's "Stressin", but I think Ace has got the better record. Hard to tell really, and I find the best listen is to both of em together. New gutter Florida rather than the new obnoxious Florida.

Most Annoying Person of 2008:

DJ Khaled

DJ Khaled: Rick Ross, You The BEEEESSSSTTT!

Rick Ross: I’m the biggest BOSS you seen thus far…

DJ Khaled: I swear you’re SO HOOOOOD!


DJ Khaled: We GLOBAL Now!!!

Rick Ross: M-I-YaYo…..

DJ Khaled: No, We GLOBAL NOW!!!

Rick Ross: No sir, I’m from Miami…Dade County to be exact.

DJ Khaled: Wait, so you’re not GLOBAL NOW????

Rick Ross: No sir, I’m from Miami..Sorry!

DJ Khaled: I represent the GHETTTOOOOO!

Rick Ross: That’s more like it homey! BOSS!!!

Being a more annoying version of Funkmaster Flex does not make you the best. Khaled stalling up the BET awards with his work ethics is a video worth watching, though I never want to hear this guys voice ever again.

Album I Tried to Like in 2008:

Santogold - Santogold (Downtown Records)

I was psyched to hear this one, but it just left me with an empty stomach. The album definitely seemed like it was lacking something important, and I think that was some meat to chew on. "L.E.S. Artistes", a track making comment on Manhattan hipsters doesn't even make any goddamn sense. You live in Brooklyn girl. Your audiences are kids in tight pants(not that there's anything wrong with that!). Maybe that actually meant something 20 years ago? Her whole "Don't accuse me of being hip-hop because I'm black...I like the pixies" shtick is so unproductive, and as useless as the Pixies are that's really not helping. Unless your completely retarded, listening to 2 seconds of her music would tell you that its not rap. Top Ranking gave me reason to not give up, though I was more excited about the tracks absent of her. It's the aimlessness that makes Santogold a safe candidate for Budlime commercials rather than some kind of pop-awareness that she strives for. As cute as she is, I don't mind her presence, but it's gonna take a bit more than a Bad Brains connection for her music to actually matter.

The Worst of 2008:

Kayne West

The Louis Vuitton Don killed the Autotune Star. Don't get me wrong I like the guy when he's good, but 808s and Heartbreak was one of the most bland experiments a rapper has ever attempted. Trying so hard to be Justin Timberlake and driving the vocoder into the fucking ground, I can see nose jobs and de-pigmentation in 'Ye's future. Nowhere will you find a better example of music completely devoid of funk.

Girl Talk

I once DJed a party of rich art school kids who kept bugging me to play Girl Talk, and when I played something else they told me to play better Girl Talk. Well, make some better Girl Talk for me to pretend to play.

Charles Hamilton

He's not actually wearing pink, it's amniotic fluid from the abortion of purse rap. Please make the world a better place and pick a different profession Charles. I shouldn't be wasting my time with this one, so with that said...

Shit Sandwich.

Here's to a great year of music in 2009.