November 26, 2015
Happy Thanksgiving everybody! Along with being grateful for my family and friends and important sh*t like that, there’s also a bunch of other cool stuff that I’ve been enjoying lately and I’m thankful for. Read about everything below!
Peanut Butter Buckeyes
The holiday season between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day has come to symbolize many things from celebrations of religion and family to crazed commercialism and consumerism. Personally, I’m really only concerned with one thing during this time period – stuffing my face with as much food as humanly possible. Buckeyes are my sweet of choice, and these little balls of pb-and-chocolatey goodness are almost solely responsible for the fact that the pants I’m wearing right now won’t fit come January.
Between the Eats TV
I love cooking shows, but I haven’t really been feeling the latest Food Network offerings. It seems like every new show has to have a crazy twist and I’m not really interested to watch chefs prepare duck l’orange with their feet on Cutthroat Kitchen or see JWoww struggle with boiling water on Worst Cooks in America: Celebrity Edition.
Thankfully, the locally-produced Between the Eats satisfies my need to watch tasteful people cook tasty food and explain it in such a way that I feel totally confident that I could do it too (if I just wasn’t so lazy). This entertaining show can be found on YouTube, and you can also DVR it through Verizon on CoziTV – which is one of the five-thousand channels that I was previously unaware existed. CoziTV also shows episodes of Murder, She Wrote so now it’s basically my favorite station.
Netflix’s Daredevil was one of the most well-constructed and entertaining comic book adaptations ever. Netflix’s Jessica Jones is…well…not nearly as good as Daredevil but still pretty entertaining in its own right. Additionally, the series should be applauded for its flipping of typical conventions by filling its cast with strong female characters and regulating the men to be mostly eye candy.
Does This Hold Up? Podcast
I have a pretty long commute to work and entertaining podcasts like Does This Hold Up? are the only thing that make it somewhat bearable. Hosts TJ and Jamie revisit a “classic” movie from their youth (80s/90s) and scrutinize it to see if it’s still as good as what they thought when they were kids. Unsurprisingly most films turn out not to stand the test of time, and TJ and Jamie have a lot of fun critiquing the crap out of movies like Teen Wolf and The Crying Game.
Wearing an expensive pair of tailored sweatpants is my way of telling the world “Though I may be a middle-aged dad, I’m still young-at-heart and shallow enough to indulge in ill-advised fashion trends.”
Hello by Adele
With all the political and religious dissidence festering in the world today, it’s nice that we all can agree on one thing…Adele is awesome!!!
November 23, 2015
Originally, a remix was literally just that – a re-leveling (or re-mix) of the components of a recording intended to improve the fidelity or highlight certain frequency ranges. Then disco exploded in the late seventies and new mixes of popular songs were created to increase dance-ability with extended instrumental breaks and vocal solos.
Hip-hop took this concept one step further. The term began to encapsulate everything from fresh lyrics, the addition of guest artists to completely new instrumental tracks. My rap-loving buddy Natalie (@NatalieCerino) and I complied some of our most favorite hip-hop remixes below, and we hope that you enjoy playing them at a high volume preferably in a residential area.
Mixtape Name: Remixtape
Side A – Natalie’s Joints
1) I Shot Ya (Remix) by LL Cool J feat. Prodigy, Keith Murray, Fat Joe and Foxy Brown
Before LL Cool J was playing a hunky field agent on CSI, he produced I Shot Ya, one of the most recognizable beats in hip-hop. Then added some friends for good measure in the remix.
2) In Da Club (Woody’s Produce Remix) by 50 Cent
The 2013 remix that brought the 2003 original back. The remix that might be better than the original.
3) Million by Tink
The classic Aaliyah jam, remixed by Timbaland, with lyrics by up-and-comer Tink. Get to know this song (and her).
4) Nuthin’ but a ‘G’ Thang (Metic’s Summertime Bootleg) by Dr. Dre feat. Snoop Dogg
You can almost feel the California weather when you hear it.
5) Empire State Of Mind (Pretty Lights Remix) by Jay-Z and Notorious B.I.G. Take New York’s two biggest hip-hop artists and mix two of their biggest hits about New York in a song.. about New York. So meta. (ICYMI: Pretty Lights mixes music of every genre. Most of it is really fun.)
6) Pass The Courvoisier (Part II) by Busta Rhymes, P. Diddy and Pharrell
The remix was so much bigger (and better) than the original that you can only find the original in a YouTube vortex now.
7) Lean Back (Remix) by Fat Joe feat. Lil Jon, Eminem, Mase, Remy Martin
“Stop! It’s the muthaf*ckin’ remix!”
8) Unfoolish (Foolish Remix) by Ashanti feat. Notorious B.I.G. Ashanti’s Foolish was already a sample of B.I.G.’s One More Chance; this one simply adds him in for the perfect remix.
Side A Bonus Track: Ignition (Remix) by R. Kelly
No rap on this track, but let’s be honest: this is the ultimate remix. So remixy that ‘remix’ is right there in the hook to remind you.
Side B – Alex’s Jams
9) Shut ‘Em Down (Pete Rock Remix) by Public Enemy
Soul Brother #1 lends his unparalleled jazzy vibe to this PE classic.
10) Next Level (Nyte Time Mix) by Showbiz and AG
DJ Premier’s remix is a rather straightforward loop of Maynard Ferguson’s soothing Mister Mellow posited over a simple drum pattern. Though far from fancy, few songs encapsulate the jazzy-yet-gritty aesthetic of East Coast hip-hop as much as this joint.
11) The Things That You Do (Bad Boy Remix) by Gina Thompson feat. Missy Elliott
More proof that sampling Bob James’s “Take Me to the Mardi Gras” is never not a good idea.
12) Drivin’ Down the Block (El-P Remix) by Kidz In The Hall feat. El-P
Whereas a Premo track embodies the Golden Era of 90’s boom-bap, El-P’s music evokes the dystopian cyberpunk future pictured in Blade Runner and The Matrix. A driving funk groove anchors an otherwise cacophonous affair of turgid sirens and electro-stabs and provides a nice connecting thread to the laidback swag of the Kidz In The Hall.
13) Kawl Me (90’s Remix) by Joell Ortiz feat. Novel
The pastiche of classic beats (’93 ‘Til Infinity, T.R.O.Y., Party and Bullsh*t) stitched together by Static Selector marry perfectly with Joell Ortiz’s throwback tale of teenage love.
14) Not Tonight (Ladies Night Remix) by Lil’ Kim feat. Angie Martinez, Lisa “Left Eye” Lopez, Da Brat and Missy Elliot
Female emcees are all-too often overlooked in hip-hip. This posse cut showcases four leading ladies at the peak of their powers (Lil’ Kim, Missy, Da Brat and Left Eye), along with a few lines from popular radio personality Angie Martinez thrown in for good measure.
15) Let Nas Down (Remix) by J. Cole feat. Nas
Quick synopsis: Nas made some comments criticizing J. Cole’s efforts at putting out “radio records” in lieu of more conscious fair. This prompted Cole to pen an apology in song form to his hip-hop idol (as denoted in the title “Let Nas Down”). Nas then jumped onto the instrumental to clarify his comments with some words of solidarity to Cole, and along with that, he basically sums up his twenty-year career in the rap game in a verse that’s demonstrates rap at its highest level of storytelling artistry. It’s basically Wilt Chamberlain’s 100-point game in hip-hop form.
16) Get It Together (A.B.A. Remix) by The Beastie Boys feat. Q-Tip
This Ill Communication standout is funked-up by replacing the original’s more subdued production with a classic Average White Band sample.
Bonus Side B track: Pink Matter (Remix) by Frank Ocean feat. Outkast
Big Boi jumped on this joint after the fact and re-demonstrated just how perfect his and Andre’s contrasting styles sound together.
Liner Notes: Hot and fresh out the kitchen!
YouTube Playlist Link: Remixtape
November 20, 2015
It’s Friday, I’m in love…with an all-new Week in Tweets!!!
5) David Hughes (@david8hughes)
If I’m found dead in the bathtub clutching a toaster, check for Pop-Tarts before jumping to conclusions.
Future obituary for David Hughes: He died doing what he loved, eating frosted toaster pastries while lying in the bathtub.
4) Abe Yospe (@Cheeseboy22)
30 years later and my Cabbage Patch Kid still has no clue that he’s adopted.
If Cabbage Patch Kids were created today, they’d be called Artisanal Kale Kids.
3) PJ Harpy (@FeralCrone)
Never quite so optimistic/completely out of touch with reality than when I buy one of those big huge sacks of clementines.
Ditto for me and the first pack of condoms I bought at age fifteen.
2) Eamon (@eamon2tweet)
Things I’d rather look at then Adam Levine’s new tattoo: piles of shit, shit piles, tons of turds, feces, shit in a stack. poop in a pile.
“Shit In A Stack” would make a great slogan for Arby’s!
1) Bebe Tarantino (@BebeTarantino)
Can’t tell if dead inside or just hungry
“Dead inside?! Just hungry?! Either way, come on down to Arby’s for one of our delicious Shit In A Stack Sandwiches! Now with artisanal kale!”
Below is a selfie of kitten-Rachel. Have a wonderful weekend everybody!
November 13, 2015
It’s Friday so gets right to an all-new, all-different Week in Tweets before we blink our eyes and it’s friggin’ Monday again!!!
6) Mark (@DamicoMark)
Going to chipotle after work to get E. coli
Please grab me a barbacoa burrito bowl with a side of listeria and guac!
5) Todd ‘Papi’ Carlos (@TheToddWilliams)
Björk is my favourite singer-songwriter/IKEA side table.
Similarly, Grundtal is my favorite IKEA kitchen series/taint synonym.
4) RelativelyFunny (@RelativelyFunny)
Facebook alert! Someone you vaguely remember just posted something you give no shits about!
I beg to differ! If I couldn’t start my day by reading a vaguely racist, pro-NRA political meme posted by Tracy from high school, I’m not sure that I’d be able to summon up enough energy to get out of bed in the morning!
3) EnvyDaTropic (@envydatropic)
With swimsuit season over it’s now “how far along are you” season
I’m a dude so it’s now “he must have an abdominal hernia” season for me…which also has the added benefit of preventing people from asking me to pick up stuff.
2) Dan Koch (@DJ5thAce)
I could be wrong, but I’m pretty sure the only thing we make in America anymore is craft beers
Don’t forget about all the sh*tty beer that we make here as well! Bud Light Lime may taste like a paradoxical mix of dirt and soap, but at least it’s made in the USA! #Murica
1) Sam Warmantha (@SamCVW)
I’m like 4 minutes away from making some nachos
Then I’m like 4 minutes and ten seconds from eating those nachos!
Below is a picture of a tiger at the San Diego Zoo that shows that even the biggest cats are lazy bums. Have a wonderful weekend everybody!
November 11, 2015
Restaurant: B Gourmet
Location: Lovely downtown Sewickley – where the boots are Hunter, the bags are Burberry, and the pants are yoga.
Atmosphere: B Gourmet’s large storefront windows overlook bustling Beaver Street and allow diners the opportunity to observe suburban housewives in their natural habitat. Past the seating area is a sprawling deli counter showcasing a bevy of prepared foods available for eat-in or take-out n’at.
Menu: Soups, salads and sandwiches adorned with foodie-approved ingredients like “organic greens”, “farm bread” and “onions”.
Food: On my most recent visit, I planned on ordering one of the delicious sounding homemade soups. However, my stomach overruled my brain and I went with my usual selection – the rosemary roast beef sandwich.
Though not as massive as the mountainous meat piles served up by the Carnegie Deli, the sandwich still had a substantial amount of beef that was barely contained between the golden grilled bread slices. A light slathering of gorgonzola aioli served as a solid step-up from plain ol’ mayo, and the arugula and onion straws added a great crunch.
The side salad was a worthy accompaniment to the sammich, albeit a little overdressed and a little heavy on the onions. Thankfully I also grabbed a Leona’s ice cream sandwich from the freezer case for a lunch-dessert and its creamy goodness wiped away any remnant of onion breath.
Service: The guy working behind the counter certainly seemed really nice, but you can never really know what evil lurks in a person’s soul, amirite?
Final Call: I love this place. I’ve eaten-in and taken-out multiple times and everything has been wonderful. I really hope that they open another location closer to my home in the south hills suburbs. I would gladly trade all of the twenty-seven Mattress Firms that line Washington Road just for one B Gourmet!!
October 26, 2015
Welcome to our third-annual Halloween-themed mixtape. If you’re not familiar with the past two “terrifyingly awesome” playlists, I highly recommend that you load them into your Spotify, put some headphones on, and wander deep into the woods alone for a listening session (2013 and 2014 links). I promise that the experience will be almost as disturbing as watching an episode of “19 Kids and Counting”.
This year’s mixtape highlights some seriously lively tunes from some very deceased performers. Helping me out on this one is my buddy Kate, who loves music and all things macabre. Now please enjoy these tunes and remember to never invite a vampire into your house….unless he’s carrying buffalo chicken dip.
First Name: Zombie Kate & Zombie Alex
Twitter: @chromaticjones & @alexanderFIV
Sex: only in graveyards underneath a full moon…
Occupation: misanthropic lycanthropes…
Mixtape Name: dead can dance (and sing and rap too)
1) Mood Indigo by Dinah Washington (Barbiturate OD, 1963)
“When I get that mood indigo, I could lay me down and die.”
One cold December morning, jazz crooner Dinah Washington’s seventh husband tried to shake her awake to no avail. She had died in the night, the casualty of a lethal mix of downers. Her take on Mood Indigo swells and rises like a swan song for her troubled life.
2) Seabreeze by Frankie Lymon (Heroin OD, 1968)
“When you find peace of mind, you won’t want to leave.”
Frankie Lymon was a star at 13 and a burnout at 25. In 1968, he was approached by Harlem-based Roulette Records for another chance. The night before the session, he scored some heroin and died on his grandmother’s floor. Seabreeze, which takes the listener drifting through an eerie utopia, is the last song he recorded.
3) Dandy in the Underworld by Marc Bolan of T. Rex (Car crash, 1977)
“Change is a monster and changing is hard, but he’ll freeze away his summers in his underground yard.”
After rising to fame at the helm of legendary psych-rock group T. Rex, Bolan’s career — and life — came to an abrupt halt when his girlfriend accidentally drove the couple into a sycamore tree in Southwest London. Dandy in the Underworld is a waltzing glam-rock masterpiece that celebrates death and the possibility of what comes after.
4) In a Station by Richard Manuel of The Band (Suicide, 1986)
“Once upon a time, they used me, indeed. Tomorrow never came.”
After the death of his mentor Albert Grossman and the slow slipping of The Band’s hold on the world of rock composition, Manuel turned back to alcohol and cocaine. Not long after, he hanged himself in an Orlando hotel room. In a Station, first recorded at Big Pink in Saugerties, NY, was written by Manuel and sheds some haunting light on his struggle with depression.
5) It All Dies Anyway by Mia Zapata of The Gits (Murdered, 1993)
“Is death the only way to get attention?”
Seattle punk rocker Zapata’s love of music may have been the death of her. After leaving a bar one night, she put on her headphones and tuned the world out with her Walkman. Unfortunately, this prevented her from hearing her killer approach. It All Dies Anyway asks a question that is particularly pertinent after the fact; would her band, The Gits, have risen to notoriety without her violent death?
6) My Ride’s Here by Warren Zevon (Mesothelioma, 2003)
“I was staying at the Marriott with Jesus and John Wayne. I was waiting for a chariot. They were waiting for a train.”
On his last Letterman appearance before his death, Zevon admitted, “I might have made a tactical error in not going to a physician for twenty years.” After a lifetime of vices, the session-musician-turned-solo-artist was paying for his sins. He kept his sense of humor about it, though, as evidenced by the playful lyrics in My Ride’s Here.
7) What’s Beef by The Notorious B.I.G. (Drive-by shooting, 1997)
“What’s beef? Beef is when you need 2 Gats to go to sleep.”
The “Rap Alfred Hitchcock” presciently details the perils and paranoia associated with dealing with one’s enemies on this Hitmen-produced track. Biggie met his violent end soon after this song was recorded and passed away just two weeks prior to it being released along with his seminal sophomore album Life After Death.
8) Hail Mary by Makaveli (Drive-by shooting, 1996)
“When they turn out the lights, I’ll be there in the dark. Thuggin’ eternal through my heart.”
Similar to Big, 2Pac foreshadowed his own violent death in enough songs to fill up their own playlist. Hail Mary earns its spot here due to Pac’s murderous flow and the religiously infectious chorus of “Come with me, Hail Mary. Run quick speed. What do we have now? Should we ride or die? Die die die die die die.”
9) Letha Brainz Blo by Heltah Skeltah (Sean Price – Unknown, 2015)
“Might lose his life, cause I’m trife in the night.”
The combination of an eerie orchestral loop and Ruck’s repeated refrain of “let the madness begin” makes this a must-add to any grisly hip-hop mix.
10) Tres Leches (Triboro Trilogy) by Big Punisher feat. Prodigy and Inspector Deck (Big Pun – Heart attack, 2000)
“Remember Pun, I snatched away the moon and blew away the sun.”
I skipped straight to track 21 as soon as I ripped the plastic off of the Capital Punishment CD back in 1998. Not only was Big Pun joined on this joint by two of the East Coast’s top lyricists at that time, but they were also spittin’ over a filthy track by the RZArector himself. The scratched-Rakim hook was also the perfect complement to the menacing soundscape – “Wake you up and as I stare in your face you seem stunned…”
11) All 4 Tha Cash by Gang Starr (Guru – Heart attack, 2010)
“Don’t wanna end up like the last man”
Guru delivers a depressing tale of a botched robbery over what just may be the grimiest Primo beat ever.
12) Transitions by The Beastie Boys (MCA – Cancer, 2012)
MCA’s soulful bass work on this Ill Communication-instrumental can make even the dead nod their head.
Liner Notes: R.I.P.
YouTube Playlist Link: dead can dance (and sing and rap too)
October 21, 2015
San Diego is purported to be one of America’s most beautiful cities. Now that I’ve spent a week there, I can wholeheartedly agree. The perfect weather and beautiful coastline were as-advertised and I now understand why people head west and never come back. Below is my travelogue recap, along with a few of my wife’s photos showing the tourist attractions* that I unfortunately missed. Enjoy!
* I went to SD for a work conference. Wanting, nay, needing a vacation after not traveling sans child for nearly three years, my wife decided to procure the babysitting services of Grandma, Inc. and accompany me. Therefore, she got to explore the city all day long without having to listen to me or him whining for more Goldfish.
Our hotel was nicely nestled next to this swanky enclave of seaside shops and restaurants. The view of the bay from the harbor pier was stunning, and a stroll down the boardwalk brought many interesting sights such as the Unconditional Surrender statue, musical pedi-cabs and only mildly-shady street performers. The overall vibe is “upscale touristy” so I’d imagine that a local could denounce the area as trite. Luckily I’m an upscale tourist so the village was perfect for me!
The island oasis of Coronado is just a quick ferry ride across the bay from downtown San Diego and is well-deserving of its ranking as the best beach in the United States. For starters, the sand is as well-groomed and white as the people that stroll across it. Another highlight is the charming Victorian architecture of the historic Hotel Del Coronado. It’s supposedly haunted by the ghost of turn of the century con-artist Kate Morgan, who’s not to be confused with adult film star Katie Morgan (who can haunt me anytime).
Old Town San Diego
Old Town is appropriately named. It’s an 1800’s-style neighborhood full of old-timey shops and exhibits which range from actually historic to artificially touristy. After meandering around this area for an hour under the blazing hot sun, we sought respite (and authentic Mexican food) at El Agave Tequileria. My taquitos de pescado were delicious, and the thousands of tequila bottles lining the walls made for a nice decorative element that I hope to incorporate into my future man-cave.
Um…there really isn’t much to say about this area other than it is f*ckin’ beautiful. It made Ocean City, New Jersey look like Newark, New Jersey…
At 38 years old, the idea of spending a night barhopping sounds more like a punishment than a pleasure. Therefore, my wife and I really didn’t take advantage of the numerous bars and clubs that inhabit the Gaslamp Quarter.
We did have a nice dinner at the chic gastropub Seersucker*, but I was still back in bed by the time the Victorian-era gas lamps started illuminating the night sky. If I was only ten years younger, I’m sure that I would have had a helluva time getting turnt up just like Brad and Robin from Real World San Diego!
* Here’s my quick Seersucker restaurant review. It possessed a rustic, maritime vibe that elevated it past the typical speakeasy milieu. The duck fat fries were to die for, and the companion chipotle ketchup added a nice touch of smokiness to the savory unctuousness of the fries. Highly recommended!
USS Midway Museum & San Diego Zoo
I didn’t get a chance to visit any of these places, but my wife did. Please enjoy her pictures!
October 19, 2015
First Name: Niki
Mixtape Name: Forever Favorites
7) Paranoid by Black Sabbath
8) Blessed Hell Ride by Black Label Society
9) Rhiannon by Fleetwood Mac
10) Kashmir by Led Zeppelin
11) Stone the Crows by Down
12) Crown Of Thorns by Mother Love Bone
Liner Notes: My husband and I have quite a lot of CD’s between us and it’s quite an eclectic mix too (James Brown, Ugly Duckling, Tori Amos, Clutch, Talvin Singh, Down, Fleetwood Mac kind of eclectic) so I’ll often struggle to choose what to listen to.
I’ll walk up to the shelves where they’re stacked and start reading through the albums but despite my best efforts, 80% of the time I’ll just give up and grab one of the CD’s from the pile on the floor – the ones we listen to the most. My forever favorites.
I was trying to think what it was about these tracks that I love so much, and then I realized that each one carry’s a memory with it. I made the best of friends through a shared love of music, music is what brought me and my husband together and we listen to it all the time wherever we are in the world so most of my memories are linked to a particular album.
These tracks carry my happiest memories, they move me in some way, they make me dance, they make me happy and sometimes they make me cry. They will forever be my favorites and I could listen to them over and over again.
YouTube Playlist Link: Forever Favorites
October 16, 2015
It’s Friday! That means it’s time to dive into an all-new, all-different Week in Tweets!
8) Mason Miller (@MasonMiller03)
“Is Pepsi OK?” – Waitress and concerned, long time friend of Pepsi.
Is there anything more disappointing than when you ask the waitress for Coke and she responds with “I’m sorry, we only have Pepsi.” I could understand if we were living in the dystopian world of Mad Max and Coke was a scarce resource worth killing over, but fortunately it’s not.
If fact, there’s cases and cases of it at every grocery store and gas station, so how in the f*ck can Eat’n Park not have it?!? I mean, I feel like a derelict whenever I go there for breakfast with my family and end up having to pour my flask of rum into a f*ckin’ glass of Pepsi instead of Coke like God intended. #SMH
7) KANYE WEST (@kanyewest)
F*ck any game company that puts in-app purchases on kids games!!!
I went to see Marvel Universe Live with my family last weekend and it was a really awesome show. However, what wasn’t awesome was all the overpriced “toys” that they were peddling that commemorated the show.
The superhero figures and costume paraphernalia all looked like shoddily made, which would be fine if it was being sold at Five Below for a couple bucks. However, this sh*t was waaay overpriced since there was a captive audience to prey on full of spoiled kids and parents with too much discretionary income.
It really made me mad to think about how they were just trying to exploit people and basically bank on their parental guilt to steal money. And come to I think of it, I’m pretty sure that it wasn’t actually the real Spider-man in that costume. Man, now I’m pissed!
6) bottomless waffle (@fakeplsticmango)
The only weight loss technique I find truly effective is that “too poor to eat” diet
The only weight loss technique I find truly effective is pooping.
5) Josh (@iwearaonesie)
wife: What’s more important, looking up movie quotes or our lives?!
me [driving and Googling movie quotes] What?
My top five movie quotes which make little sense when they’re taken out of context:
“That’s a big Twinkie.” – Ghostbusters
“I say we let him go.” – Pee Wee’s Big Adventure
“It’s the one that says bad mother-f*cker.” – Pulp Fiction
“That’s why her hair is so big, it’s full of secrets” – Mean Girls
“In a row?” – Clerks
4) september22 (@hodgesboi15)
If I pay $40 for a haunted house I better die
But if I only pay $20, I’ll be satisfied with just sh*tting my pants.
3) Eamon (@eamon2tweet)
Can you endorse people via LinkedIn for being a turd?
Yes! It’s listed under skills as “Rectal Administration”.
2) Rivka (@rivka1806)
How bad is it when you attempt to flirt with Star Wars references, on a scale from one to Death Star?
As long as you’re dressed like slave Leia, you can say anything you want!
1) Salamingia (@salamingia)
Are we still down with OPP?
Yes, as long as it stands for “Oversized Pepperoni Pizza”.
Below is a pic of Oscar and Rachel spooning while watching the Steelers game. Have a wonderful weekend everybody!
October 12, 2015
First Name: Natalie
Mixtape Name: New York, New York
Side A: Where Are They Now
1) Shook Ones Pt. II by Mobb Deep
2) Flava in Your Ear (Remix) by Craig Mack feat. Notorious B.I.G., Busta Rhymes, LL Cool J
3) New York by Ja Rule ft. Fat Joe and Jadakiss
4) Deja Vu by Lord Tariq and Peter Gunz
5) I’ll Be by Foxy Brown ft. Jay-Z
6) Crush On You by Lil’ Kim ft. Lil’ Cease
Side B: Heavy Hitters
7) Made You Look by Nas
8) Get By by Talib Kweli
9) I’m Not A Player by Big Pun (not to be confused with Still Not A Player, which is fun, but this is the better song)
10) Ms. Fat Booty by Mos Def
11) C.R.E.A.M. by Wu-Tang Clan
12) All About the Benjamins by Puff Daddy ft. Lil’ Kim, The LOX, Notorious B.I.G.
Liner Notes: I grew up in the southernmost part of Connecticut, in a semi-urban area on the water that doubled as a suburb of New York City—a fact that we who lived there had a chip on our shoulders about.
My friends and I started middle school in 1995, undoubtedly the time when hip-hop hit its stride, and we started listening to it as if doing so was some act of rebellion inherent to it. It was altogether different from our parents’ ‘rebellious’ music, or the music we listened to in our younger years, and that severance between generations and time is what made it so appealing.
Of course, the ‘fun’ part of New York’s hip-hop culture had its own appeal – the parties, the cars, the endless flow of money – but we were far removed from the neighborhoods and experiences that culture sprang from.
WQHT in New York, or Hot 97– where Funkmaster Flex, DJ Clue, and Wendy Williams, among others, got their start – was the only local radio station that played hip-hop all day. It blared over the airwaves from The City through shitty speakers, in beat up cars we financed with birthday money and part-time jobs. It was the station back then, and we’d sit in those cars late, late at night – doing things we shouldn’t have, no doubt – listening to rap battles between unknown artists who might next year become millionaires.
We didn’t know it then, but we grew up during a special era of music that has not been recreated or duplicated since. It’s a lot like adolescence in that we didn’t know how good we had it, until we were adults and it was already over.
Noticeably missing from this list: tracks from Notorious B.I.G. and Jay-Z, who should both invariably make it, but there’s simply too many to mention. Plus, who hasn’t been in a bar on a recent Friday night and heard one (or both) of them come on the jukebox? Their music is still a part of what we listen to and very much so (though they both had a hand in producing many of these tracks and cameo in a few of them).
This mixtape is a tribute to that era, that City, the people who experienced it and made music about it. It was music we could relate to, but couldn’t, in many ways, but unreservedly immersed ourselves in anyway. I still do.
YouTube Playlist link: New York, New York
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