Our first entry of the series perfectly sets the tone for what to expect; Funky tunes, good vibes, and a lot of head bobbin! Play this to start your day strong, MC your next house party, or to liven up a road trip.
Genres: Disco, Funk, Soul, House, Afrobeat, Hip Hop, R&B, Downtempo, Rock
Artists: Princess Nokia, Stro Elliot, DJ Center, Akoya Afrobeat, Dele Sosimi Afrobeat Orchestra, Laolu, Julien Dyne, Mara TK, Sudan Archives, Darondo, Tall Black Guy, Innerzone Orchestra, J Dilla, Black Star (Talib Kweli, Mos Def), Black Thought, Pete Rock, Moby, China Crisis, Childish Gambino
YouTube Playlist: https://goo.gl/TUSPt5
1. Princess Nokia - Soul Train
Soul Train commemorates the disco era with vibes that take you back to the 70's, a time when music played a major role in Black and Latina Communities across America. The music video is a day in the life of PN, rocking 70's-inspired outfits and hairstyles, dancing under the sun, and licking banana popsicles to stay cool. According to Princess Nokia, of Puerto-Rican descent herself, the song was created "to honour the lifestyles that cultivated our culture and the positive and artistic outlets that healed us in hard times."
2. Stro Elliot - James Baby
Newly-joined member of The Roots, master finger drummer and producer Stro Elliot brings the funk back with an ode to the Godfather himself, James Brown. Stro says that this all was what he called a "happy accident," recalling the time when former Procussions group mate Mr. J. Medeiros was ecstatic to hear news that he would be a father. Singing 'I Got The Feelin'', he suggested to Stro the idea of flipping parts of the song to celebrate the occasion. Thankfully, Stro pulled through and created a banger.
3. DJ Center - Dem Say Ah (feat. Akoya Afrobeat)
DJ Center's collaboration with NYC's Akoya Afrobeat packs deep synth bass, vintage clavinets, soaring horns and a funky tambourine! It's Destination: Dance Floor.
4. Dele Sosimi Afrobeat Orchestra - Too Much Information (Laolu Remix)
Laoula's remake was labeled "anthem of the year" by many in the House community, all the more impressive considering the original was already garnering high praise. Andrew Ryce of RA puts it perfectly: "The bassline is the kind of simple, endearing melody that says a thousand words. The string-laden breakdown would be compelling even on laptop speakers, never mind a huge system, and elements from Dele Sosimi's original—a clipped guitar phrase here, some funky drumming there—are elegantly slotted into the groove."
5. Julien Dyne - Stained Glass Fresh Frozen (feat. Mara TK)
Montreal-born Julien Dyne is a multi-talented drummer, producer, DJ, and visual artist. His debut album, Pins & Digits, received air time and high praise from BBC DJ Gilles Peterson and Benji B, featuring on both DJ top 100 lists. Stained Glass Fresh Frozen's electronic sounds underneath Mara TK's vocals all come together to create a tune that many DJ's are finding to be a crowd-favorite.
6. Sudan Archives - Nont For Sale
Self-taught violinist Sudan Archives not only plays but writes and produces her own music. The 23 year old says she is inspired by Sudanese fiddlers, R&B, West African rhythms, and experimental electronic music, and Nont For Sale displays all these elements beautifully. Sudan Archives is currently performing at Coachella, amongst other festivals this year.
7. Darondo - I Don't Want To Leave (Tall Black Guy Re-Edit)
Detroit producer Tall Black Guy lays out a smooth bassline that keeps you groovin' and movin'. The Darondo re-edit is soul-satisfying, bringing back the funky, west coast vibes of 'Didn't I' that penetrated speakers back in 1972.
8. Innerzone Orchestra - People Make The World Go 'Round (J88 Remix)
If you haven't heard of J Dilla yet, google him. Listen to his beat tapes. You're welcome. He's collaborated with many prominent Hip-hop artists and remixed just about everything and anything, so it's safe to say he's one of the most influencial artists of his generation. Troubled with legal battles between himself and his record label, and eventually falling victim to a rare blood disease, Jay Dee never got the public recognition he deserved for all his work. Nonetheless, he lives through his beats and continues to be praised and hailed as an inspiration to the next generation of musicians. Enjoy, ladies and gentlemen..
9. Black Star - Respiration (feat. Black Thought) (Flying High Remix)
Talib Kweli, Mos Def, and Black Thought laying down serious bars on top of a Pete Rock production. Need I say more?
10. Moby - Porcelain
Melancholic lyrics, reversed string samples, and piano riffs set the tone for this downtempo, electronic hit single that took the charts by storm in the late 90's. Moby initially expressed disdain over the song and its production, and did not expect anyone to want to listen to it. It has since been lauded as a turning point in electronica music and it's emergence into the mainstream sound.
11. China Crisis - Strength Of Character
China Crisis formed in 1979 near Liverpool, England, injecting their pop songs with occasional political commentary and bluesy reggae rhythms. Comprising the core duo of vocalist/keyboard player Gary Daly and guitarist Eddie Lundon, the group shared an affection for Stevie Wonder, David Bowie, and Steely Dan. On their third album Flaunt the Imperfection, which features 'Strength of Character', the band had the honour of working with Steely Dan's very own Walter Becker. The album enjoyed both critical and international success, including several UK chart-topping singles.
12. Childish Gambino - Redbone
Gambino continued breaking barriers by challenging himself on Awaken, My Love! Redbone received three Grammy nominations, including Record of the Year at the 60th Annual Grammy Awards, winning the award for Best Traditional R&B Performance in the process. Gambino is nearly unrecognizable when first listening to the tune, leaving many wondering who's supplying the vocals. When Glover was doing an interview of the album with Triple J, he says "There wasn't a ton of vocal stuff done ... I think people hear "Redbone" and are like, "Oh, he pitched up his vocals," but there was no vocal pitching on the album—I just sang differently."