Our Favorite Sounds: 2014 Edition

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High Life before they sold out butcher Schlitz selfies… ahem. Let me try that one more time.

Happy new year everyone! We have a tradition at DECIBELity where we do our best-of/end-of-year lists at the beginning of the following year instead of the beginning of December like those other blogs.  Perhaps you thought we negligent or maybe just really late—well, you thought wrong. We are right on schedule.  You see, we do things a little bit different ’round here, it’s one of the many ways we set ourselves apart from the rest.

Each of us, as has become our custom, have chosen 15 or our favorite records and we each have created a mixtape including a single song from each of the aforementioned favorite recordings.

So, enjoy and we’ll be sure to continue to keep it DECIBEL’d for you all in ’15.

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DecibelCast Vol. 16 – “GRL PRBLMS”

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We’ve all been there at some point in our lives; a relationship gets hard and problems start to occur:  fights, disagreements, arguments—maybe even time apart or breaking up.  Most of the time these issues can be fixed or overcame with time, but this requires some thinking, some love and the right music to make it through.

For me, hip-hop has always served well.  I don’t know why it works, maybe it’s the heavy beats, the nonchalant dismissal of feelings, or just the overall understanding that these types of things are universal, that everyone goes through them.  To that end, this mix is dedicated to the struggles we all go through in relationships and to the problems each and every man has with his woman, as explained by some of the best tracks out there right now.

“Hip-hop isn’t nearly as complex as a woman is.”
– Talib Kweli

Download GRL PRBLMS.zip

 

TRACKLIST

“GRLS” – salute

“Untitled feat. Chance The Rapper” – Mr. MFN eXquire

“Sunday feat. Frank Ocean” – Earl Sweatshirt

“Count On Me” – Lucki Eck$

“When It Rains” – Dag Savage feat. Aloe Blacc

“Serve This Royalty” – Big K.R.I.T.

“Can We Chill” – Riff Raff

“Keyz feat. Gucci Mane, Deniro Farrar, Nacho Picasso” – Blue Sky Black Death

“Constant Conversations” (Remix feat Juicy J) – Passion Pit

“You Song” – Lil Wayne feat. Chance The Rapper

“Float On feat. Charli XCX” – Danny Brown

“Vortex feat. Kid Cudi & Pusha T” – King Chip

“Dreamin’ (Prod. by Ryan Hemsworth)” – Shady Blaze

“Your Drums, Your Love” – AlunaGeorge

“Stay Close feat. Boldy James, Alexander Spit & Aaron Cohen” – Flume

“We Were In Love” – Ta-ku

“If Your Girl Only Knew (WoodysProduce Remix)” – Aaliyah

“All The Time feat. Lil Wayne & Natasha Mosley” – Jeremih

“Take A Fall For Me feat. Rza” – James Blake

“Cocaine Woman” – Lucki Eck$

“She (Shlohmo Remix)” – Laura Mvula

 

Big K.R.I.T – “King Remembered in Time”

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We here at DECIBELity are big fans of the K.R.I.T., and have been bumping his music since the release of his first mixtape, Krit Wuz Here, a few years back.

In a sea of paint-by-numbers southern rap, the inimitable M.C./producer stands out like a bubble Kush nug in a QP of brown. Or, as he puts in “King Without a Crown”:  in my own lane/ I make my own beats, I write my own rhymes, I grip my own grind, I grip my own grain/ and that’s royalty.

Although Young Krizzle lit the Internetz up with his string of dope, self-produced mixtapes  marked by his smooth southern drawl and Organized Noise-style productions, his major label debut 2012’s Live from the Underground was a little bit hit-or-miss. Perhaps the suits at Def Jam were to blame, as they seemingly found it necessary force this outlier into a  commercial box complete with flavor-du-jour trap rap production (presumably from in house producers), and largely lackluster guest spots.

Regardless of why his first outing in the majors turned out the way it did, here we find the the Mississippi M.C. back on peak form, sounding almost as though he has something to prove—his rhymes as witty as ever but his laconic flow replaced with an intensity we’ve not really seen before.

The beats, which are thankfully self-produced (with the exception of a single contribution from 9th Wonder) are remarkably diverse sounding—running the gamut from his trademark soul stylings to contemporary club-esque jams to atmospheric D&B to sampling James Blake.

Big K.R.I.T. featuring Bun B – “Shine On”

Big K.R.I.T – “King Without A Crown” 

Download the whole ZIP

DecibelCast Vol. 6 “Summer Soulstice Mixtape”

“Here it is a groove slightly transformed, just a bit of a break from the norm…” pretty much sums up this mix and it also sparks the memory of probably the most classic hip hop summer song of all time. That’s sort of what we were going for with this edition of DecibelCast, a familiar summer vibe but with a slightly tweaked, newer update, filled with tracks that bring forth that feeling of hot relaxing days and fun party nights.  There are a few old school classics and some remixes but also plenty of fresh brand new shit to keep it interesting as well.

This time around we also decided the best way to make a “mixtape” is to actually mix the damn thing, so we enlisted a compadre to do this proper.  FlyPaper Music has been DJing for quite some time and always holds it down (check out his soundcloud here). Although the mix was mostly curated by me (Evander Hologram), we both worked on this together for way too many long summer nights trying to make this thing perfect to bump for years to come (which also kinda explains why its coming mid-summer).  Either way we hope it moves your soul, makes you “just sit back and unwind” and most of all, enjoy, cause this is summertime.

Download the complete mix as one track below (tracked version coming soon..) And if you wish for a full track by track version unmixed send us a request and we can probably make it happen too.

[dB-06] Summer Soulstice Mixtape

Or  download the ZIP

Tracklist:

Doveshack – “Summertime In The LBC”

Warren G – “This DJ”

Glasses Malone – “That Good”

Beastie Boys – “Don’t Play No Game That I Cant Win (feat. Santigold)”

DJ Shadow feat. Little Dragon – “Scale It Back (Benji Boko Remix)”

Danny Brown – “Grown Up”

A$AP Rocky – “Houston Old Head”

Kool and the Gang – “Summer Madness”

DJ Jazzy Jeff and Mick Boogie – “Summertime 2012 Intro feat. Will Smith”

The Cool Kids – “Summerjam feat. Maxine Ashley”

Northern Lights – “Blowin Smoke”

Quincy Jones – “Summertime in the City”

Pharcyde – “Passin Me By (Aim and Shoot Remix by Dropsteady Freddy)

Funkommunity – “Dandelion”

Twin Sister – “Meet The Frownies”

Kendrick Lamar feat. Dr. Dre – “The Recipe”

Ellie Goulding – “High For This (The Weeknd Cover)”

Brothers from Another – “Molly Moons”

Joey Bada$$ – “Where It’s At (Prod. By J. Dilla)”

Insightful – “Sleepy Eyed”

A.Dd+ – “Insomniac Dreaming”

Vanilla – “The Sun Room”

Jai Paul – “Jasmine”

Big K.R.I.T. – “Wake Up”

Schoolboy Q – “How We Feeling”

Staple Sisters – “Lets Do It Again”

Ice Cube – “Today Was A Good Day (Remix)”

 

*Any/All feedback welcome

Big K.R.I.T. – The Vent (Video)

We have already put yall up on this cat a few months ago with an epic post about him but this video was recently released and it hits a real emotional chord that most rap artists these days don’t come close to understanding or achieving whatsoever.  Anyways check out Big K.R.I.T. in the video and the live version below, go get this song with his old mixtape Return of 4eva here, get his most recent mixtape Last King 2: God’s Machine here and get ready for his official Def Jam debut album Live From The Underground coming hopefully later this month.

 

 

Big K.R.I.T.

When Outkast released Southernplayalisticadillacmusik in 1994 southern Hip Hop was almost non-existent. Antwan “Big Boi” Patton and Andre “Andre 3000” Benjamin opened up a door to the world of the dirty south that hasn’t been closed since. A world full of Cadillacs, pitbulls, chitlins, sweltering heat, booty bumping bass, slow soulful beats and most importantly a smooth, laid back style of rhyming, full of slang completed by lengthened vowels and syllables. They probably weren’t the first to do it, and definitely not the last, but probably the best and most critically acclaimed and recognized, receiving 6 grammys, including one for Album of the Year. But this isn’t a history lesson folks, its more a nod to the originators to thank them for inspiring legions of Hip Hop artists that have rose up out of the south after them. Many have come and gone and left their mark on the rap world, and when listening to Big K.R.I.T. its pretty obvious what school he learned at.

Justin Scott’s stage name Big K.R.I.T. seems to give a nod to the greats before him and to himself as one of them since K.R.I.T. is an acronym for King Remembered In Time. It might be kind of a lofty name for someone who just released his first mixtape K.R.I.T wuz here in May of 2010 but after listening to his most recent mixtape Return of 4eva he might just be worth being remembered. These are both full albums mind you as they are all original beats produced by K.R.I.T. himself with about 20 songs on each. K.R.I.T wuz here is a really strong first album in my opinion, with great variation as it bounces from harder tracks like Country Shit (remixed on the second album to feature Ludacris and Bun B) to smoother more vibed out jams like Moon and Stars featuring Devin The Dude (my personal favorite). Obviously he has already gained support from some of the southern rap legends which is rare after just a couple of mixtapes. This freshman album is a deep soulful journey through the eyes of a struggling southern rapper with at times pretty conscious lyrics and at others typical gangsta cliches. Overall though it reveals that there may be a new phenom on the horizon.

You can get K.R.I.T wuz here for free from DatPiff here. (Get it soon before its gone..)

Return of 4eva released just last month is everything that was good on the first mixtape but better. The lyrics are more poignant, exact and stronger than before, as they deal with more than just the normal gangsta subject matter and dip deeper into real problems like racism, poverty, super-stardom, materialism, and the state of southern rap today. The lyrics aren’t what make Big K.R.I.T.’s music so amazing in today’s rap world though, it’s the soul he has in his beats. He definitely evokes the producer ghosts of his southern rap teachers like Pimp C, DJ Paul, and especially original Outkast producer Organized Noize. This is done using the organic sounds of guitar and keys tweaked just right, with heavy slow bass lines, the occasional turntable scratch, and most importantly smooth 808 sounding drums and laid back soul samples sprinkled in throughout.

This slow cooked southern recipe lends perfectly to sun drenched slow car rides with the windows down, regardless of the temp outside or where you are. The nostalgia that one gets from listening to Return of 4eva is a feeling not often gained by rap music lately and its quite refreshing to hear, even if visions of UGK, Devin the Dude, and especially Outkast float in and out of your mind.

Just go to his website here and download the album now for free or donate what you wish (I gave a $5 spot). But do it soon cause I think he just signed to Def Jam.

My favorite track is Dreamin’ and I posted the inspiring and pretty humble video below.