It’s Thursday, so it must be time for the playlist. As a reminder, the playlist isn’t about the newest, hottest songs on the street. It is a carefully curated list of songs that reflects what I’m in the mood to hear. And now, you can scroll on down to the bottom and listen along! Without further ado:
1. Maffew Ragazino & Jon Connor: 1995
I’ve talked before about my love for Jon Connor, well this is a track that just barely missed song of the day but still gets mad love. Basically, take the beat from Common & Sadat X’s 1-9-9-9 and add lines from Maffew like “Cold as Andre with a Kanye ego” and Mr. Connor going completely in with “Before I sell out, I bail out and Dave Chappelle out/ In Africa with Nettie and Cellie speaking Swahili. If it’s 1995 then me get it back and rip it, spit it like 2Pac was gonna diss me if the shit was wack” Get it here.
2. Prince: Adore
This is one my favorite songs of all time. That falsetto is just entirely too much. It’s a perfect combination of sex, romance and humor (“Well maybe not the ride”) I cannot listen to this song without having a capital M Moment.
3. Kanye West & Young Jeezy: Amazing
Others will disagree, and I’ll admit that it took awhile for me to get there, but I effing love 808’s & Heartbreak. I also think that even if you don’t like the album (you’re crazy btw) you have to respect the balls it took for Yeezy to take the artistic risk. Not to mention, this song is so frikkin’ great. It’s so sparse and deceptively simple. Also, my cousin listened to the album throughout her pregnancy and after her son was born he would bob his little baby head when this came on. Kid’s got great taste.
4. Cee-Lo Green & B-52’s: Cho Cha the Cat
In case you didn’t know, Cee-Lo released a mixtape this summer ahead of The LadyKiller called Stray Bullets. To be honest, as much as I loved the album, I preferred the mixtape. I’ve been a fan of the B-52’s since I watched the video for Love Shack on VH1. This is just one of those things that shouldn’t work on paper, but then what does when it comes to Cee-Lo?
5. Florence + The Machine: Dog Days Are Over
This album slays me and this song is the perfect song to start it. Two of my favorite bloggers, Tom&Lorenzo, call Florence Welch a goddess based on her sense of style and fashion. For me, this song feels like some sort of religious experience and by the end you realize that Florence is some sort of high-priestess.
6. The Black Keys: Howlin’ for You
The Black Keys make the playlist three weeks in a row! That’s gotta be a greater accomplishment than multiple Grammy awards. The playlist has integrity. I think that this playlist will have two common threads: sex and handclaps. This song has both. Unfortunately, I haven’t been at a club or bar where a DJ has played this and that is a tragedy and possibly means I’ve been at the wrong clubs/bars. Please DJ’s, I promise that I will sing, clap and shake my ass!
7. Aloe Blacc: I Need A Dollar
I’ve spoken before about my Aloe Blacc love. First, his voice. I mean, it’s so rich and full and he has full command of what to do with it. Besides, who can’t identify with needing a dollar. We even have good friends in common, Whisky and Wine.
8. Talib Kweli ft. Kanye West: In the Mood
We all know that if anyone knows what to do with a sample it’s Yeezy. And he freaks the hell out of the Roy Ayers sample here and then proves that he might be the only rapper watching America’s Next Top Model, “Act like 50, throw her in the pool B”. AND Talib is like, rapping on beat! Just an all around great song. “I wear the night like a cloak cuz I move wit the stars”
9. The White Stripes: Jolene
First of all, Dolly Parton can write her ass off and you can’t respect that then your perspective is wack. Second, Jack White takes it and absolutely kills it, the way his voice damn near breaks on Jolene. Last, someone butchered the original at a karaoke bar last week and just…yeah.
10. Cee-Lo Green: Night Train
Goodie Mob reunion!!! Another track from Stray Bullets. Everything about this song is right, the production, the lyrics, the vibe. You can listen to this song and picture yourself in the club with Goodie Mob. Don’t go home with Cee-Lo, you might wind up being another dead body in his bed.
11. Notorious B.I.G. & Bone Thugs -n- Harmony: Notorious Thugs
Fourteen years later and this song still holds up. Also, I want to repeat an observation from a friend that Bone Thugs don’t get enough credit for how original they were, and GOOD. Think about it, Life after Death came out in 1997. This song was released as a single, it’s over 6 minutes long and no one starts rapping until 1:15 in, and you don’t lose interest. It’s not just the speed rapping, it’s the way they built harmonies and tied it all together.
12. Bell Biv Devoe: Poison
Two rules in life: 1. Never trust a girl with a big butt and a smile, one or the other. 2. If you want to get the Quidnunc dancing at a party, throw this on.
13. Britney Spears: Radar
To quote my cousin, “The Britney Bangs!!!” and this does. This is a perfect singing in the car song.
14. Cunninlynguists & Masta Ace: Seasons
The production on this more lush than you would expect in hip-hop. The song itself, chronicles the seasons of hip-hop, it gets a little crotchety old man, but hey. Also, I think that Cunninlynguists is one of the best rap group names EVER!
15. Bobby McFerrin & Voicestra: Sweet in the Mornin’
If you only know Bobby McFerrin as the “Don’t Worry Be Happy” dude, you’re missing out. This song came to me via Questlove’s SwiftFM account and it really captures a lot of what Bobby McFerrin does best. Using voices to create melodies and harmonies so well that it takes you a while and sometimes a couple of listens to realize that it is completely a cappella
16. Gods’Illa: You Don’t Have to Be a Star
Previously discussed here
17. John Boutte: Sisters
I’ve talked previously about my love for John Boutte’s voice and his talent for covers. Well, his original material is damn good. This song is written about his sisters and you can just hear and feel the warmth and affection. My favorite lyric, “I’m in some foreign place and I don’t know a face where I am, but all that I’m needing is leading me home once again” Haven’t we all felt that way at some point.
18. City and Colour: The Girl
Late addition. This just came up on one of my Pandora stations and I’m digging it. Also, they’re Canadian so the spelling of “colour” is justified and not pretentious. That is all.
19. Adele & John Legend: Rolling in the Deep
Yes, I’m cheating here, but I couldn’t decide who’s version I wanted to use and they’re both damn good. Also, can I say, Adele’s voice has no business being this good.
20. Elzhi: Halftime
Umm if you haven’t downloaded this FREE ASS mixtape, then I don’t know what you’re doing with your life. It’s an instant classic.