Monday, June 29, 2009

Week 5: New Jack Swing

We live in a world where hip hop and R&B are virtually synonymous—every 'urban' format radio station advertises themselves as playing "the hottest Hip-Hop and R&B", and most popular rap tunes have syrupy R&B-style sung hooks from guest vocalists. This all seems fairly unremarkable to us today, but nothing would've seemed stranger to rap fans 20 years ago. Make no mistake, hip hop and R&B were diametrically opposed musical philosophies in the 1980s; R&B was smooth music for adult contemporary stations, and rappers were young underground revolutionaries who spent a lot of time criticizing R&B for being "soft" or "commercial" or whatever.
Then along came record producer Teddy Riley, the guy behind Blackstreet, Guy, and Wreckx-N-Effect. He aimed to create a fusion of these two deeply different sounds, and his new sound (dubbed "New Jack Swing" by Above The Rim / New Jack City screenwriter
Barry Michael Cooper) became the dominant urban sound of the late-80s/early-90s, making Riley the Timbaland or Neptunes or Kanye (or whoever) of his era.
This isn't to say that he was the only person with this idea: L.A. Reid & Babyface were doing pretty much the same thing at the same time, as were Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis, and (to a lesser extent) Dallas Austin.
All things told, these four production houses account for over half the tracks in this mix (for the nerds, I'll post a who-did-what in the comments). You also had the whole New Edition contingent and their underlings (Bell Biv DeVoe / Bobby Brown / Ralph Tresvant / Johnny Gill / Boyz II Men / Another Bad Creation), although their production credits were still pretty limited in this era.
Anyway, this sound is basically R&B vocals over a swingy style of golden era hip-hop production—tons of samples, corny PCM drum machines, lots of that classic Technotronic-style DX7 bass, big dopey snare fills, and everything is super-shuffley and bouncey. And I love it.
So when KyleKlip requested a New Jack Swing mixtape for the blog, I got excited. I've whipped up what I believe to be the definitive New Jack Swing tape—I've shoehorned all my faves in here, and I don't think there's anything missing (although I am sure the comments section will prove me wrong soon enough). Before you say it: I left "My Prerogative" off on purpose. Three Bobby Brown tracks (for a total of six Ex-New-Edition tracks) is enough for one mixtape. Enjoy!

Chrissy's Year of Mixtapes Week 5: New Jack Swing.

  1. Jade; Don't Walk Away
  2. Hi-Five; I Like The Way (The Kissing Game)
  3. Al B. Sure!; Nite & Day
  4. Ralph Tresvant; Sensitivity
  5. Soul II Soul; Keep On Movin' (Teddy Riley's Rubba Dub)
  6. Bobby Brown; Every Little Step
  7. Color Me Badd; I Wanna Sex You Up
  8. Tony! Toni! Toné!; If I Had No Loot
  9. TLC; What About Your Friends
  10. Pebbles; Giving You The Benefit
  11. Bobby Brown; Humpin' Around
  12. Salt N Pepa; Expression
  13. Bell Biv DeVoe; Do Me!
  14. Keith Sweat; I Want Her
  15. Christopher Williams; I'm Dreamin
  16. Guy; Groove Me
  17. Bobby Brown; On Our Own
  18. Tevin Campbell; Round & Round
  19. Wreckx-N-Effect; New Jack Swing
  20. TLC; Ain't 2 Proud 2 Beg (Remix)
  21. Michael Jackson; Remember The Time (RIP HOMIE)
  22. Hi-Five; I Just Can't Handle It
  23. Boyz II Men; MotownPhilly
  24. Another Bad Creation; Iesha
  25. Bell Biv DeVoe; Poison (Remix)
  26. Kid N Play; Funhouse (The House We Dance In)
  27. Chubb Rock; Treat 'Em Right
  28. Tony! Toni! Toné!; Feels Good (Remix)
  29. Johnny Gill; Rub You The Right Way
  30. Babyface; It's No Crime
  31. DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince; Ring My Bell
  32. MC Brains; Oochie Coochie
  33. Redhead Kingpin & The F.B.I.; Pump It Hottie
  34. Bubba; I Like Your Style
  35. Basic Black; Whatever It Takes
  36. Johnny Kemp; Just Got Paid
  37. R. Kelly & Public Announcement; She's Got That Vibe

Monday, June 22, 2009

Week 4: Toponyms

Ever since I was little, I've been fascinated by toponyms (which is really just a fancy-schmancy word for place names). Most placenames, when you dig into their origins, reveal a little something about the history of the place itself, and this thrills me to no end. I realize this is hopelessly nerdy, and I'm ok with that.

A lot of places (perhaps most, even) are just named after prominent geographical features: Mesopotamia (Greek for "the land between two rivers"—namely the Tigris & Euphrates), Amsterdam (the dam on the Amstel river), as well as Chicago, the Maghreb, Rio de Janeiro, Waterloo, Copenhagen, & Detroit. A sizable chunk of toponyms (especially on my side of the globe) are rip-offs—names taken from Native American tribes, or from pre-existing places:
Miami, Philadelphia, Kansas City, New York, Kingston, etc.

If you're lucky, you might get a place named after you (like Italian cartographer Amerigo Vespucci or early New Amsterdam landholder Jonas 'Boogie Down' Bronck.) It helps to be a saint, or a monarch, or both (StL represent!)
If you can't manage to get a city named after yourself, a nice consolation prize might be getting a city named after a company you run: Atlanta isn't named after Atlantis or the Atlantic Ocean—it's namesake is the Western & Atlantic Railroad. It may not be the noblest of origins, but it's catchier than "Coke-Town".

Anyway, enough of my rambling. Here is a mixtape stuffed with tunes about places and travel and hood-repping and all that great stuff, with toponyms in the title of each. I've purposefully avoided Frank Sinatra, as I don't much care for him. If you want to hear "New York, New York" or "My Kind of Town (Chicago Is)", feel free to line 'em up after this mix in Winamp or whatever the kids use these days.

Chrissy's Year of Mixtapes Week 4: Toponyms
  1. Will Smith; Miami
  2. B.B. King; Philadelphia
  3. Juggy Jones; Inside America
  4. The B-52s; Mesopotamia
  5. The Budos Band; Chicago Falcon (The Washington Sq. Lads & Mark Ronson Remix)
  6. Hubert Laws; The Chicago Theme (Love Loop)
  7. Tommy Wills, Man With A Horn; K.C. Drive
  8. Luis Enriquez & His Orchestra; Rendezvous In Rome
  9. Peter & Paul Lewis; Ethiopian Land
  10. Two Man Sound; Que Tal America
  11. Calypso Rose; Kingston Breakdown
  12. Zoo Brazil; Tokyo
  13. Fierce Ruling Diva; Amsterdam Slide
  14. Jermaine Dupri & Ludacris; Welcome To Atlanta
  15. Jermaine Dupri; Welcome To Atlanta (Coast 2 Coast Remix feat. Diddy, Murphy Lee, & Snoop Dogg)
  16. 2Pac feat. Dr. Dre & Roger Troutman; California Love (Remix)
  17. The Main Ingredient; California My Way
  18. Kool & The Gang; Hollywood Swinging
  19. Atki2; Vietnam
  20. Cesaria Evora; Angola (Carl Craig Remix)
  21. Man Parrish feat. Freeze Force; Boogie Down Bronx
  22. Kraftwerk; Trans Europe Express
  23. Señor Coconut y Su Conjunto; Trans Europe Express
  24. Serge Gainsbourg; New York, USA
  25. Mateo & Matos; New York Style
  26. Ray Mang; Praia do Londres
  27. DJ Mark Flash; São Paulo
  28. Monkey Steak; Maghreb
  29. James Braun; Oi World This Is Copenhagen
  30. Van Halen; Panama
  31. Siouxsie & The Banshees; Hong Kong Garden
  32. Telex; Tour De France
  33. ABBA; Waterloo
  34. Affairs Of The Heart; Waterloo Sunset
  35. Duran Duran; Rio
  36. DJ Marquis; D/E/T/R/O/I/T
  37. 313 Bass Mechanics; D.E.T.
  38. DJ Nasty; In The D
  39. DJ Chip; Streets Of The Chi
  40. Kim Wilde; Kids In America
  41. Ultravox; Vienna
NEXT WEEK: New Jack Swing.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Week 3: Bleep Tape

So this week I've got a mixtape of Bleep, which was a genre from the north of England that existed / was fashionable for a (very) brief period in the early nineties. It was one of Britian's first attempts at a homegrown style of electronic dance music (i.e. something that wasn't directly ripping off Chicagoan acid house tunes), and perhaps the best way to describe it is as a mixture of Detroit Techno and Britain's own West-Indies-derived love of all things bass-heavy. This brief moment in dance history is also notable for being where the whole Warp Records/LFO/Designers Republic/Nightmares On Wax/Aphex/Baby Ford scene grew out of.

Chrissy's Year of Mixtapes Week 3: Bleep
  1. Forgemasters; Stress (Network)
  2. Cyclone; Internal Memory (Network)
  3. Nightmares On Wax; I'm For Real (Warp)
  4. Tricky Disco; Tricky Disco (Warp)
  5. The Art of Noise; Catwalk (The Ground Mix) (China)
  6. Baby Ford; Blow Back (Insumision)
  7. Tomas; Mind Song (Warp)
  8. Tuff Little Unit; Join The Future (Warp)
  9. Juno; Soul Thunder (Bassic)
  10. LFO; Love Is The Message (Beware Of The Bass Remix) (Tommy Boy)
  11. Too Critical; Tension (white)
  12. Rhythmatic; Take Me Back (Let's Go Back) (Network)
  13. The Boys From Chariss; Computer Boom (white)
  14. The Step; Yeah You (Robert's Mix) (Warp)
  15. Sweet Exorcist; Clonk (Warp)
  16. Xon; Dissonance (Network)
  17. N-Joi; Techno Gangsters (DeConstruction)
  18. CoCo Steel & Lovebomb; Feel It (Warp)
  19. Cyclone; Stream (Network)
  20. Forgemasters; Pump Me (Network)
  21. Nightmares On Wax; Aftermath (LFO Remix) (Warp)
  22. LFO; LFO (Remix) (Warp)
  23. Sweet Exorcist; Psych Jack (Warp)
NEXT WEEK: Toponyms.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Week 2: Robot Love

So it turns out that, as a collector of disco, techno, electro, and a lot of other genres dealing with a lot of robotic futurey sci-fi themes, I own about a bajillion records dealing with robots and love: machines in love with machines, machines in love with people (and vice versa), machinery as a metaphor for human love, etc.
Some deal almost exclusively with the subject, some only tangentially mention it; some are really good, some are pretty regrettable. Here's a whole bunch of 'em.

Chrissy's Year of Mixtapes Week 2: Robot Love
  1. Reggie Griffin & Technofunk; Mirda Rock (Sweet Mountain)
  2. Midnight Star; Freak-A-Zoid (Solar)
  3. Thomas Dolby; She Blinded Me With Science (Capitol)
  4. James Brown; Sex Machine (Polydor)
  5. The Pointer Sisters; Automatic (12" Mix) (RCA)
  6. Black Gold; C'Mon Stop (Prelude)
  7. Yello; Bostitch (Stiff)
  8. Alexander Robotnick; Problémes D'amour (Chrissy Re-Edit) (Fuzz Dance)
  9. Dee D. Jackson; Automatic Lover (12" Version) (Jupiter)
  10. Kraftwerk; Computer Love (Remix) (Kling Klang)
  11. Munich Machine; In Love With Love (Casablanca)
  12. Lime; My Love (12" Version) (Matra)
  13. The Other People Place; Eye Contact (Warp)
  14. R. Kelly / Sportin' Life; Ignition / This Dance (Chrissy Blend) (Jive / Warp)
  15. Lime; On The Grid (Canadian Mix) (Matra)
  16. Diebold & Cataluna; Sex Technology (Megatone)
  17. Jo-Carol; You Turn Me On (Chrissy Re-Edit) (Megatone)
  18. The Miracles; Love Machine (Tamla)

Monday, June 1, 2009

Week 1: Tin Pan Tape

So here I am, starting things off... Tape #1 is a set of dancehall, but specifically a lot of Tin Pan stuff from the late '80s / early '90s. For those unfamiliar, this was a specific dancehall era / sound that was (generally) characterized by a 3-step snare pattern over a 4/4 kick, with big sine wave bass on top. Often there's some rolling snare business added in that almost verges on a marching band sound. Anyhoo, this tape is a lot of big big tin pan tunes and some lesser known cuts as well, some old, some newer revival cuts, and some other four-on-the-floor dancehall action that just fits in well--enjoy!

Oh, and I should give a shout to my buddy Dub Boy from Bristol...I was over at his house a few months ago and we had a big vinyl-to-mp3 encoding party. He was kind enough to let me rip a truckload of his dancehall 45s, so a fair chunk of this mix (15%, if you wanna get really nerdy about it) is from his library.

Chrissy's Year of Mixtapes Week 1: Tin Pan
  1. Super Cat; Word Sound & Power
  2. Conroy Smith; Dangerous
  3. Wayne Wonder; Bashment Girl
  4. Tanya Stephens; Yuh Nuh Ready Fi Dis Yet
  5. Frisco Kid; Rubbers
  6. Horseman; DJ Fi Di Year
  7. Flourgon; Bounce
  8. Josey Wales; Stamp Out
  9. Ninjaman; More Reality
  10. Red Dragon; Duck Dance
  11. Junior Reid; One Blood
  12. Wayne Wonder; Saddest Day
  13. Foxy Brown; All My Love
  14. Beenie Man; Battery Dolly
  15. Mad Cobra; Throne Face
  16. Sean Paul & Mr. Vegas; Haffi Get De Gal Ya
  17. Papa Kojak; Holy Water
  18. Peter Metro; Backway Talking
  19. Tiger; Look Like Me
  20. Clement Irie; Come A Me
  21. Chaka Demus; Big Bad & Bold
  22. Papa San; Run The Route
  23. Admiral Tibet; Rush
  24. General TK; 100%
  25. Red Fox & Screechie Dan; Pose Off
  26. Singing Melody & Captain Nemo; Patsy
  27. Dirtsman; Simmer Down
  28. Skeng Gee; Gun Connection
  29. Cutty Ranks; Hand Grenade
  30. Cutty Ranks; A Who Seh Me Dun (Wake De Man)
  31. Junior Car; Dead Again
  32. Bounty Killer; Murderer (Remix)
  33. Chaka Demus & Pliers; Murder She Wrote
  34. Admiral Bailey; Gyal Uno Sweet
  35. Beenie Man; Cool Yu Toe
  36. Simple Simon & Sister Smurf; Bogling Queen
  37. Louchie Lou; If I Was A Rich Girl
  38. General Levy; Champagne Body
  39. Cutty Ranks; Limb By Limb
  40. Flourgon; Whine Up You Waist
  41. Wayne Smith; Wa De Woman Want
  42. Don Angelo; No You Without Me
  43. Little Lenny; Gun In A Baggie
  44. Wayne Marshall & Elephant Man; Weed Smoke (Remix)
  45. Lady Mackerel; Money
  46. Little Kirk; I'll Make Love To You
  47. Jigsy King; Greatest Wish
  48. Cutty Ranks; Armed & Dangerous
NEXT WEEK: Robot Love.

An introduction

Hi folks, Chrissy here. I've recently decided to start this little mixtape blog as a personal project, and barring some huge disaster I'm going to post a mixtape a week, every week, for the next 52 (or so) weeks.
Some ground rules I'm setting for myself:

1) Every mix will (more or less) have a theme of some sort.
2) All mixes will be recorded live in one take (although I may do some post-production editing to get things down to a reasonable time).
3) No repeats—no song will pop up twice in this blog.

4) Likewise, no song that has previously appeared in a mix of mine published on the web will pop up on this blog. Unless I get really lazy one week and post one of those mixes on this blog, which will probably happen at some point.
5) If it's a live set (i.e. somebody recorded me DJing at some party and gave me the audio and I'm posting it here), then rules 3 & 4 are out the window.

6) Every mix will be timed to fit on either a CDR or a cassette tape.
7) I'm open to requests. I might not pay them any attention whatsoever, but then again I might. Email me.