A 2021 mixtape
Keeping the 4-year-old tradition, I put together a list of some of my favorite songs. The list is ordered so the songs flow well. I hope you like it.
Everlasting Game (feat. Masta Ace & DJ Ill Dijitz) by Awon & Phoniks — Nothing Less.
Quoting directly from the album description,
[Nothing Less] is laced with Phoniks signature jazz-infused, boom bap production style and Awon’s raw, honest lyricism. Produced on vintage samplers like the gritty Emu SP-1200 and Akai MPC 2000xl the music evokes memories of classic east coast “golden era” hip hop.
Big Boss Rabbit by Freddie Gibbs — Single.
I was lucky to catch Freddie Gibbs and The Alchemist this year on their Alfredo tour. Following the success of 2019’s Bandana and 2020’s Alfredo, Gibbs delivers again with the single Big Boss Rabbit in 2021.
Real Affair (Remix) by Tiana Major9 & Vince Staples — Single.
Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter Tiana Major9 is from East London. I love the Vince Staples verse in this remix of the song produced by PRGRSHN & WAVSDNTDIE.
Blame the Internet by KIRBY— Sis. He Wasn’t the One.
A follow-up to her first LP, Sis, KIRBY’s latest EP is inspired by her personal experiences with modern love. Written by KIRBY herself, Blame the Internet is a heartfelt song.
Own the song. I don’t care whose pen wrote [the song]. The moment your voice touches it, you give it life, personality and emotion. There’s a story being told in every note you sing. Your voice is another opportunity to write the song.
—KIRBY, interviewed on HYPEBAE
Lost in Time (Park Jams) by Evidence — Unlearning Vol. 1.
Unlearning Vol. 1 is the sixth studio album for Evidence, an MC and producer from Venice Beach.
Smooth by BJ The Chicago Kid — Single.
Produced by longtime collaborator Jairus “JMo” Mozee and Charlie Bereal, Smooth is a single by singer-songwriter BJ. The single was announced after the release of his most recent EP entitled 4 AM.
Knock Knock by MED — Bad Neighbor.
The song, produced by Madlib and featuring MF DOOM, samples Bernie Worrell’s 1978 song I’ll Be With You.
Black Gold (feat. Thundercat) by Flying Lotus — Black Gold / Between Memories.
A song from the Netflix show Yasuke, Black Gold is based on a true story. FlyLo, a producer, DJ, and rapper from LA, makes his anime scoring debut with Yasuke. Thundercat is a bass guitarist, singer, and songwriter from LA.
Best Of Me (Originals) by Alicia Keys — KEYS.
Produced by Sam Morton & Alicia Keys, this song masterfully interpolates Sade’s Cherish the Day.
There’s an Unlocked version of the song on the album that samples the original version and gets its own music video.
In My Room by ILoveMakonnen— DMW007.
Drink More Water 007 is LA-based ILoveMakonnen’s 7th album.
Flowerbug (Interlude) by Sunni Colón — Single.
Sunni Colón is a singer, songwriter, producer, and director from LA. He released an extended version of the self-directed video on Twitter.
LOST YOU by Snoh Aalegra — TEMPORARY HIGHS IN VIOLET SKIES.
Temporary Highs in Violet Skies is the third studio album by LA-based singer Snoh Aalegra. The album is nominated for Best R&B Album at the 64th Annual Grammy Awards.
Cool Ways by Declaime — In the Beginning Vol. 1.
Dudley Perkins (aka Declaime) is a rapper from Oxnard, California. Produced by Madlib, In the Beginning Vol. 1 features collaborations from the 90s that were previously unreleased.
B-Side by Khruangbin & Leon Bridges — Texas Moon.
Inspired by 1960s Thai funk and music from Spain and the Middle East, Khruangbin is a three-person band from Texas. Texas Moon is their second collaborative EP with singer-songwriter Leon Bridges.
Last thing I remembered by Big O — The Mind’s Mirror.
The Mind’s Mirror is the third LP by UK-based producer Big O. This particular track caught my attention because it samples the conversation in the cafe scene from Inception.
Cobb: […] Let me ask you a question, you, you never really remember the beginning of a dream do you? You always wind up right in the middle of what’s going on.
Ariadne: I guess, yeah.
Cobb: So how did we end up here?
Ariadne: Well we just came from the a…
Cobb: Think about it Ariadne, how did you get here? Where are you right now?
What’s Next by Drake — Scary Hours 2.
Scary Hours 2 is the fourth EP by Canadian rapper Drake. What’s Next is Drake’s eight chart-topping single in the US. The associated music video was filmed all over Toronto.
95 Bodgega by Killah Priest — Summer End Cafe.
Killah Priest is part of the hip hop supergroup, The HRSMN (aka The Four Horsemen), along with Canibus, Ras Kass, and Kurupt. Raised in Brooklyn, he’s also a Wu-Tang affiliate.
Two for 2 - For Dilla by Madlib — Sound Ancestors.
Sound Ancestors is Madlib’s 11th solo album. Produced by Madlib, the album was arranged and mastered by the English musician Four Tet.
Two for 2 — For Dilla is for Jay Dee, Madlib’s longtime collaborator, friend, and one of the most influential producers in hip hop. The song includes two beautiful samples. One is Sly, Slick and Wicked’s Love Gonna Pack Up (And Walk Out).
The other is Mary Holmes’ I’ll Make It Up To You.
I can’t stop listening to these songs.
While we are on the topic of world-class music production and Jay Dee, don’t miss Think Twice (DJ Muro’s KG Mix) from J Dilla’s Welcome 2 Detroit, reissued in 2021 by BBE Music.
No Instructions by Benny The Butcher & Harry Fraud — The Plugs I Met 2.
Harry Fraud beautifully samples Masayoshi Takanaka’s You Can Never Come To This Place throughout the song.
Super Series (feat. Larry June) by Curren$y & Harry Fraud — Regatta.
Spitta and Harry Fraud team up yet again to release Regatta. Super Series is one of the best songs on the EP, featuring San Francisco native Larry June.
The playlist is available on Apple Music, TIDAL, and Spotify.
Thank you for reading and listening!