It’s impossible to understate the impact that ASAP Yams’ Tumblr has had on the ASAP sound and hip hop as a whole. If you’ve listened to pre-LiveLoveA$AP Rocky material, then that is very clear. Before meeting and being inundated with Yams’ knowledge and cultural breadth, Rocky was another run-of-the-mill New York MC almost entirely bereft of the fashion image he has now come to embody. There would be no purple in Rocky’s sound, no coke and white bitches if it wasn’t for Yams. Recently, Ryan Hemsworth and the “ASAP DJs” went b2b at a special Boiler Room NYC event (similar to the one they pulled off in London last year) and I can’t figure a more perfect manifestation of Yams’ influence. Hemsworth, in many ways, follows in the steps of Yams as cultural kaleidoscope, bringing a deep knowledge of 90s hip hop and popular culture to an increasingly young fan base. The mixing across the hour and ten minutes Hemsworth and the ASAP crew were on the decks is spotty at best (some have blamed a faulty needle), but that’s not really the point. Rocky actually spends the most time behind the decks, but again that’s not really the point. Yams’ influence is palpable as Rocky and Hemsworth bounce between club edits and late-90s Houston, Atlanta and Memphis with a choice Young Scooter number thrown in for good measure. Like Yams’ Tumblr, the mix is an amalgamation of the origins of contemporary hip hop sounds thrown into a blender with the best of 2013.
Over the coming months, we’ll be highlighting a series of artists performing at Sasquatch Music Festival 2013 between May 24-27 at The Gorge Amphitheater in Quincy, Washington. Instead of a typical overview/introduction to each act, we’ll attempt to highlight what and how they’ll enhance the always wonderful Sasquatch experience. If you missed the initial lineup announcement, you can catch it here!
The Gorge has never been an especially great place to see hip hop, in part because of the Pacific Northwest’s general antipathy towards non-caucasian forms of the genre. That’s not to say that the residents of the Northwest’s urban locales don’t listen to non-white rappers, it’s just that, for the most part, they’d prefer someone, let’s say, a little less challenging. Coming straight out of Atlanta, GA, Killer Mike is the definition of challenging. A long time Dungeon Family (Outkast, Goodie Mobb, Organized Noize, etc. for the uninitiated) affiliate, the man born Michael Render has been challenging what it means to be both a Southern rapper and a “conscious” rapper for the better part of the past decade-plus. A critical darling in some circles, it wasn’t until this past year’s R.A.P. Music LP, entirely produced by El-P, that he became a wide-spread critical darling.
Stream: Killer Mike – “Reagan”
Last week, I was lucky enough to catch Mike at Paid Dues Festival and his performance stood out in stacked day that included performances from Black Hipppy, Freddie Gibbs & Madlib and Mobb Deep. Whether showing off his powerful, stark flow or going on an anti-Reagan screed, Mike owned the stage and managed to flip some controversial/heavy subject matter into an engrossing stage performance. If you’ve witnessed “political” hip hop on stage, you know that an overly passionate (*cough* Immortal Technique *cough*) performer can make the audience rather uncomfortable. Killer Mike manages to put forth thought provoking, anti-establishment ideals without making the audience uncomfortable, which is far easier said than done. I doubt that Mike will have a prime time slot on the lineup, but I promise you that his show will be one of the most powerful, long lasting performances of Memorial Day weekend.
Stream: Killer Mike – “Swimming” (Prod. Flying Lotus)
From the onset of South London Ordnance’s recent 40 minute set at the Boiler Room, a distinct tone is set. That tone is of unremitting deepness and an unforgiving attention toi detail. There’s a reason why the young DJ is being lauded as one of the best in all the lands and in only 40 minutes, he manages to establish a remarkably consistent groove that caresses the listener into a dancing frenzy. Midland, Jon Convex and Boddika are all present, but it’s not so much the individual tracks that SLO plays out as it is the order sublime order they’re placed in. If you have the opportunity to see this prodigious producer anytime soon, don’t sleep.
If you haven’t noticed, Hotflush Recordings is kind of taken over and whether you appreciate Scuba and his antics or not, it appears that the rising imprint is going to be staking its claim for quite some time. Recently, Mr. Paul Rose and George Fitzgerald got in on the action, closing out the recent Hotflush/Boiler Room event and laying down more than a few juicy exclusives in their 70 minutes behind the decks. My personal highlight came in the form of Fitzgerald’s never-heard-before “I Can Tell (By The Way You Move)”, a feel-good, peak-time stomper that has the potential for “Au Seve” like reach. It’s just that damn infectious. Dusky, xxxy, Jimmy Edgar and others also feature prominently in the mix. Stream below and find a (mostly correct) tracklist after the jump.
Nina Kraviz and Ben Klock are the perfect couple in a way, lording over European techno in the most benevolent manner possible, defining a sound that has seen a remarkable resurgence outside of the hallowed halls of Berghain and Tresor in recent years. Last week, Klock and Kraviz graced Boiler Room with 165 minutes of utter madness, giving all of us who can’t make it to Berlin on a regular basis a sickeningly sweet treat. We’ve written a lot about the DJ’s ability to establish a groove and I can’t think of a better example of that than these two and a half hours. Stream below.
The conversation surrounding the collision of hip hop and electronic music has raged for the past 12 months or so without any regard for history or really any respect for context. In that time, certain media outlets have decided to differentiate between things like “trap rap” and “Trap”, while ignoring hip hop’s roots in dance music and its current incantation (not a new phenomenon by the way) as the predominant form of regional American club music. Amidst this shit storm of misappropriation accusations and general ignorance, a small sect of producers have arisen with the goal of mixing the two medicines (hip hop and dance music that is) into a perfect mind-altering concoction. These producers are not applying tried and true methods of dance music populism to existing hip hop formats, but rather attempting to meld the heavily stigmatized worlds of house/techno and rap music. Grown Folk and Lazer Sword come to mind immediately, but Brodinski and most of the Wedidit crew have been at it for a few years. Just take Low Limit’s (one half of Lazer Sword) recent performance at Boiler Room LA. After starting out strong with selection of pumping techno, Low Limit drops into a soulful house section before transitioning into regional club tunes and eventually hip hop. The mix doesn’t always sound natural, but it’s an engaging experience nonetheless and highlights hip hop’s roots in house music without offering a truly heavy-handed correlation. I, for one, would like to see more of this type of mixing, which offer a new perspective to all those blathering of tarpstyleChiefKeefstep. Stream below.
As you’ve probably noticed, we’re big fans of Mr. Eugene Hector in these parts and especially of his work as Tuff Sherm. Probably better known as Dro Carey, Hector laces techno and house tunes as Sherm and we were actually lucky enough to get him to contribute a guest addition to our ongoing mix series. Last month, Hector performed at a special Australia addition of Boiler Room and played out 50 minutes of juicy dance tunes. Like most of Hector’s mixes, the song selection is eclectic to say the least and has left me scrambling for a track listing since the mix’s its air date. Despite the mix being labeled as a Tuff Sherm offering, Hector also includes a few grime, dubstep and other amorphous, low end focused tracks. Stream below.
Maybe it’s just my choppy internet, but the Julio Bashmore Boiler Room LA stream came in particularly choppy, giving the whole affair a GIF-like atmosphere in my computer machine. Dancers grooved then repeated. Julio’s headnods took on an alien quality and the set gained a whole new dimension of unintentional comedy. I hope you all saw the 60 minute set in the glamorous form I did, but even if you downloaded and listened in your car, Julio’s foray across acid, funk and classic Chicago was probably equally enjoyable. The majority of the set induced visions of Bashmore’s Prince-channeling Velour side-project, including the purple one’s own “Erotic City”, but also hit darker, tech-ier points like Kowton’s “And What” and opener Funkineven’s “Dracula”. Of course he played “Au Seve”, but he also uncomfortably sang the melody at one point! That part was terrible actually. Anyways, for a more in depth take on the Bashmore live experience, check out dildo’s recap of a night at A Club Called Rhonda. Stream/download below and hit the jump if you want to enjoy the pixelated GIF-y madness in Youtube form.
On December 14, 2012, I met a Club Called Rhonda and she took me to dance music heaven.
Samo Sound Boy was there (Body High in that mothafucka), Total Freedom was there (Fade to Mind in that mothafucka), and all the way from Bristol, UK, the one and only Julio Bashmore lent us his surly face and impeccable house music (Broadwalk Records in that mothafucka).
There were beautiful women, there were beautiful men, beautiful men dressed as women, beautiful women dressed as men, and beautiful people that escape such silly classifications. I was sweating (woo!), and so was the ceiling. I think Rhonda, Samo, and Julio changed my life, so hit the jump and let me tell you about it.
Is there anything better than watching your favorite DJ’s perform in front of goofy green screen imagery? Well yeah, I guess there is, but Don’t Watch That TV’s Just Jam programming is up there on the entertainment scale. Recently, the Night Slugs cohort took to the online airwaves for several hours to play out space age club music like only they can. For our money, Girl Unit’s set came out on top, but when matched with Bok Bok, Lil Silva and Jam City everyone is a winner. After throwing indulging in some “Sexual Eruption”, Mr. Unit got right into the chunky percussive elements and blast off synth experimentation. The set isn’t as mind-bending as the joint hardware set he did with Bok Bok in London last month, but any chance to see Girl Unit spin is a treat. Especially in front of that green screen. Stream below and download here.