DIRTY R&B: The Best of R. Kelly
Last year after me and DJ Eleven came out with our blockbusting, much-loved mix, Dirty Raps: The Best of Too $hort, my friend Hayden insisted that I had to make a sequel, Dirty R&B: The Best of R. Kelly.
I was kind of meh about it at first, thinking Kells was a little mainstream and that there probably wasn't much I could do that hadn't been done. Anyhow, months passed and the idea continued to rattle around in the back of my head until a particularly alcoholic birthday celebration for my friend Brianna convinced me that, yes, the world needed this mix. Badly.
Making the mix was a crazy process. Kells just has waaaay too many songs and it took me weeks to track down all of his cameos and one-offs and then really immerse myself in his catalog. Early on it became clear to me that there was no way to do Kells's music justice with a single CD and, besides, the mix would be a better listen plus a whole lot more functional if it was split between party music and slow jams.
Even after I felt I had a good grasp of Kells's music, putting the track list together was a really consuming process. Parts of it were easy to assemble-- for example, the stepping songs ("Step In the Name of Love", "Happy People", etc.) have a very distinct feel but flow naturally together. Other parts of it were incredibly daunting because I was trying to fit together songs that were thematically very similar, but musically diverse enough that they did not lend themselves to mixing (e.g., the run of songs on disc 2 from "Best Friend" to "Don't Put Me Out").
I feel like it all came together really well-- I think it really is the best of R. Kelly. Here's what's on it:
Disc 1 - Stuntin' with Kells
1. Bump n' Grind
Disc 2 - Fucking, Fighting and Making Up
The 2-CD mixis currently (or should soon be) available at the following spots: Amoeba (Berkeley), B-Sides and Rasputin (Berkeley and elsewhere). Folks passing through any of my various jammie-jams can cop copies hand-to-hand at a player price. You can also order the CDs via Paypal to matthewafrica [at] hotmail [dot] com. Prices (including shipping) are: $12 in the U.S.; $14 to Canada; $15 to Europe; and $16 to Asia or down under.
The folks at the Fader recently invited me to write an installment of their Vinyl Archeology column, a regular feature dedicated to unearthing and spotlighting neglected music. I wrote about Twee Funk—roughly speaking, 70s soul and funk releases that followed in the wake of the Jackson 5’s success.
In part, I chose this style because I love the way kids sing. There’s a sweetness, purity and exuberance in their voices that you really don't hear from grown folks. But I also chose Twee Funk as my subject because it gave me a reason to prepare a mix of a lot of great music I don’t otherwise get to play.
So here’s a free, 69-minute mix of 28 songs. It's encoded low-res (128 kbps), but it's still kinda huge (64 MB!):
(note to Mac users: to download the mix—as opposed to just opening it in a media player—hold down the "Option" key while clicking the link)
(and if the above link doesn't work, please try: http://www.zshare.net/audio/twee-funk-mix-mp3.html)
Jackson 5: “2, 4, 6, 8”
A few of my choices are questionable, either because I know for a fact the acts included some grown singers (e.g., the Voices of East Harlem, whose members ranged from teens to twenty-somethings) or because I have no biographical information about them whatsoever (e.g., the Posse, who were apparently protégés of Eddie Kendricks of Temptations fame, or Starborn). Others aren’t “funk”, such as the ballads that conclude the mix.
If you enjoy the mix, holler at me about your favorites or for a higher-res CD-R copy—get [at] matthewafrica [dot] com.
Here's a low-res (128 kbps) clip of some snippets from the mix-- the real thing sounds a lot better:
Dirty Raps clip (11 MB)
(note to Mac users: to download the clip, hold down the "Option" key while clicking the link)
Below is a not-all-that-legible but nonetheless complete track listing.
Here’s a taste of SOUL BOULDERS, a dynamite 70+ minute mix of slow, funky soul put together by me and my homie DJ B.Cause:
Soul Boulders clip (11.7 MB)
SOUL BOULDERS is
Check back on the regular for more mixes.