Mix # 5 Tracks 13—16
Theme: Challenge List (Songs with asterisks are songs I was challenged to use).
13. “Primetime” // Jay-Z & Kanye West
I remember the night Watch The Throne came out. I was living at my cousin’s apartment in Lefferts Gardens, Brooklyn. Everyone in the apartment was a huge rap fan and just like the rest of the world, we sat in front of iTunes watching the clock waiting for midnight to get the proper download. There were a few hits on the album, of course “Otis” and “Niggas in Paris”, but as we got to the bonus tracks, I could only think, “Why the fuck are these bonus cuts?” They would get more plays in the cramped Brooklyn apartment than the album cuts. “Primetime” feels like the most luxurious track on the album. The piano loop over that humming guitar, the crashes, and that question, “The night is young/What the fuck you wanna do?” with Jay and Kanye on the beat so easy, you’d think they’re recording it from a hot tub in France somewhere.
14. “212” // Azealia Banks
I was feeling myself a bit with some of the new music I was finding near the end of 2011. New artists were bursting through doors and older artists were putting out fantastic work. But there were two songs at the time that the Internets weren’t going to let you ignore. Sadly, this list didn’t really have enough space to hold Lana Del Rey’s pouty lips. Plus, it was going to be hard for any song to follow The Throne, so I went with the breakout song for newcomer Azealia Banks. The chick has talent and swag dripping from her every pore with the confidence of a bull to match it. When she says, “I’ma ruin you, cunt,” you immediately wonder, “Who is she coming for and why do they deserve whatever they’re going to get?”
15. “Girls Girls $” // Theophilus London
Theophilus London is an artist that constantly teeters on the edge of being excitingly creative and dubiously boring. Sometimes his lyrical subject matter doesn’t match the audacity of his beats or the two pieces feel tangentially distant. The parts never quite equal the whole with him, but the result is usually infectious and danceable. It was for these reasons that this was the hardest track to decide whether or not to add to the mix. I like to dance and so does everyone else, I imagine, so when I add someone to a mixtape that I’m gonna play years down the line, I want to include something that will be effective then. All of that, plus I had just stopped seeing a girl who would wring me dry on a weekly basis. My wallet thanks me for breaking up with her.
16. “Nothin’ On You” // B.O.B. f/Bruno Mars
My mixtapes have a tendency to be a bit emotionally driven. It’s not something I’m proud of, mostly because it gives the bulk of my tapes emotional connotations. It’s like I’m the Adele of playlist makers. I don’t really like B.O.B. or Bruno Mars (at all) but this song was that earworm that you just couldn’t dig out. I’m all for conscious rap and not killing people or rapping about gunplay (unless it’s Wu-Tang Clan or Odd Future), but these were some of the softest bars ever dropped. It’s like when he raps, marshmallows and feathers fall out of his mouth. Okay, my apologies to B.O.B. (or more specifically his PR people), but I couldn’t resist snapping.