The 10 Best Eurodance Tracks of the Y2K, according to LIZ

If you were a kid in the y2k, there were a few things you knew: inflatable furniture, beanie babies, and gooey aliens that either did or didn’t have kids. It’s an aesthetic that LA pop queen LIZ is decidedly into, from her tamagotchi-inspired artwork to the bubble chair she’s sat on in her press photo. A musical scholar of both the ’90s and y2k eras, she’s just dropped ‘BTR 2GTHR’, co-written with her friend and fellow pop lover Kim Petras (read our interview with Kim here), which is a modern take on tear-jerking Europop bangers from the turn of the millennium.

“Kim and I were listening to a lot of Europop together one night including a bunch of German DJs she grew up on,” LIZ says of the cut. “We got pumped to write, so we set up a session which basically become a two-day tequila dance party at the studio. The beginning of Scooter’s ‘Nessaja’ was the main inspiration for the vibe of the track, and then we added in a more modern urban section to break the beat up the beat. I’m very proud of our emo-ravey love child.”

Here to remind us of a time when trance synths loomed large and we all spent our time looking after digital pets, LIZ below shares her favourite Eurodance bangers of the y2k.

1. Alice Deejay – ‘Better Off Alone (Original)’

“Brings me back to testing out glitter body spray and bouncing off an inflatable plastic bubble couch at Limited Too.”

2. Gigi D’Agostino – ‘L’amour Toujours (Small Mix)’

“Reminds me of sneaking off with my big sister at the mall to try on mini dresses at Charlotte Russe and Wet Seal that were way too inappropriate for a tween.”

3. Scooter – ‘Nessaja’

“The beginning of this actually inspired ‘BTR 2GTHR’. I love high-pitched dreamy magic trance shit. Feels like My Little Pony at a rave… then Scooter’s voice comes in and it violently switches to hardstyle.”

4. Aqua – ‘Doctor Jones’

“A lesser-known single than their worldwide smash ‘Barbie Girl’, this one is just as fun and insanely energetic, complete with a yodel solo that somehow really, really works.”

5. Crush – ‘Jellyhead’

“This song was always perplexing to me and stood out to me as a kid, because the main lyric was so silly and bizarre. It’s catchy AF and I remember bouncing to it in the car on the way to dance class. Crush was kind of the prototype for girl duos like Icona Pop.”

6. Starstylers, Mitchy – ‘Keep On Moving’

“Ok, I’m def neck deep in an Ibiza foam party. I love myself a cheesy euro accordion sample.”

7. Darude – ‘Sandstorm’

“This goes hard and evokes how riding dirt bikes around Burning Man maybe feels? I’ve never done acid, but if I do, it would probably be to this song.”

8. Vengaboys – ‘Boom, Boom, Boom, Boom!!’

“Mindless. Bubblegum. Iconic. Bop! I’m twisting my hair in mini butterfly clips, and applying strawberry lipgloss while dancing in the mirror.”

9. Eiffel 65 – ‘Living In a Bubble (Album Mix)’

“Serving me dramatic ‘Bittersweet Symphony’ string section vibes! I have no idea what they’re saying, and the auto tune settings are making the vocals go nuts, but I’m so into it.”

10. ATB – ‘Don’t Stop’

“I’ve tried to recreate this electric slide guitar sample so many times, and I’ve never gotten it right. Henrik the Artist is the only producer I’ve known to be able to come close to it. I am possessed by this instrumental.”

And she’s supplied two more, which we’ll allow purely for the y2k nostalgia…

Dario G – ‘Sunchyme’

“It takes a while to build, but once it gets to about the 3:10 mark, that dreamy chant sampled from The Dream Academy’s ‘Life In a Northern Town’ kicks in and you are smacked in the face with the Ibiza island breeze, the smell of the Baltic sea, and images of an African safari all at the same time?”

Mason, Princess Superstar – ‘Perfect (Exceeder) – Radio Edit’

“I feel like a supermodel strutting down Rodeo Drive. Before EDM was even considered a category within pop music during our generation, this was a prototype for artists featuring on DJ/producers’ instrumental tracks, as well as mashups going mainstream. You can tell artists like Justice were inspired by this style of nü disco.”

Watch LIZ’s lyric video to ‘BTR 2GTHR’:

The 10 Best Underrated Pop Gems, according to LIZ

Follow Dummy’s curated playlists on Spotify: Next Hype: The Best New MusicBrand NewElectronicsRap Drill & Grime and Bedroom Pop.

The 10 Best UK Funky Tracks of All Time, according to Donae’O

Donae’O has always made lightwork of riddims. Across multiple decades and sounds, from house and garage to grime and – naturally – UK funky, he’s an artist with proven staying power. Responsible for classic floor-fillers like ‘Party Hard’ and ‘African Warrior’, Donae’O made a comeback in 2016 with ‘My Circle’ after a hiatus from the mic and that Giggs collaboration which you couldn’t escape once it dropped.

Following up more recent water-tight funky bangers like ‘Chalice’ and ‘The Party’s Over Here’, the singer and rapper has just dropped ‘Bonita’ with Stylo G, a summertime-destined outing with a vibrant video to boot. Fresh from jumping on stage at Hackney carnival over the weekend, Donae’O runs us through his all-time favourite UK funky cuts.

1. Fish Go Deep & Tracey K – ‘The Cure and the Cause (Dennis Ferrer Remix)’

“This song was my intro to house music and also, in my opinion, the first track that inspired the birth of UK funky. The arrangement of this song is excellent, from the string synth in the intro to when the bass drops to the vocals that start on the wrong beat but blend in so well to the padded bass. ‘The Cure and the Cause’ is my all-time favourite house record.”

2. DJ Gregory – ‘Don’t Panic’

“This song inspired me to write and produce ‘Devil In A Blue Dress’ [below]. The drum pattern in this song was tremendous – I loved the way Gregory used the snare and hi-hat to create a groove. The sounds he used for this track were also very unique. I can’t tell if the snare is a snare or a hi-hat or both! Even the distorted marimba that plays like a heart beat has its own unique sonics. I wrote ‘Love to Happen‘ on this beat.

3. Donae’O – ‘Devil in a Blue Dress’

“This for me is the best drum pattern I’ve ever made. I listened to this drum pattern for three months before I came up with the bass/string arrangement. I honestly believe God made the drums and I was just a vessel! The verses came first for this song and then a month later the chorus came. This was my first hit in UK funky, it kickstarted everything for me.”

4. Crazy Cousinz ft. Kyla – ‘Do You Mind’

“This is my favourite Crazy Cousinz beat. The drums are from soca music, the pianos are from rave/hardcore, there’s a garage bassline and the vocals are R&B and it’s all mixed together effortlessly. I love both the funky house version and the Drake remake, both mixes are tremendous.”

5. Hardhouse Banton – ‘Sirens’

“This is gangster UK funky! What a tremendous riddim to play in your set just when you need to give the crowd a rush of energy. The snare arrangement is my favourite thing about this tune as I’ve never heard this groove before. The police sirens were excellently placed and the bass speaks for itself. This is 100% a riddim to reload in the dance.”

6. Donae’O – ‘African Warrior’

“The impact ‘African Warrior’ had on the black community is one of my proudest moments in music. The song gave young Africans a chance to have their own moment in a rave. 1Xtra made a documentary about African music blowing up in UK rave culture and one of the segments was about ‘African Warrior’s influence. People used to come up to me in street and said the song brought West Indians and Africans together. I’m so happy I made this song it was a mix between grime, broken beat, house, Afro beats, reggae and hip-hop.”

7. Boy Better Know – ‘Too Many Man’

“This song is one of the best MC UK funky tracks in my opinion. I love the fusion between UK funky and grime – whoever produced this is a G, I think Skepta produced this [Ed: yes it was Skepta!]. Tbh Skepta is a tremendous producer, he should get more recognition as a producer. One of my favourite verses from Frisco is on this tune and the chorus is perfect. Great riddim!”

8. Shaun Escoffery – ‘Days Like This (Spinna and Ticklah Mix)’

“If you listen to this song you’ll understand why it’s in this list. Soon as the beat starts you feel happy and ready to start the day. I feel like this song should be the alarm on your phone. How can you not look forward to your day after listening to this song? The words are perfect and Shaun’s voice is just tremendous. I could never get bored of listening to this song. The production is like the perfect mix between a great ballad and house music – it’s an absolutely perfect tune.”

9. DJ Naughty – ‘QuickTime (Roska Remix)’

“This tune is just a straight-up tumpers, what a riddim track. This song used to go off in the clubs, instant reload. I love the drum arrangement on this record, it sounds like broken beat soca to me, and the bass arrangement reminds me of old school jungle. I love the way he used the synth stab in this track, literally stabbing the sound in and out of the track. Not gonna lie, I think Roska should get D Double E to do a dubplate of this track. That would shut down a rave quickly.”

10. Donae’O ft. Big Tobz and Blittz – ‘My Circle’

“For like a year I was trying to work out how to mix UK funky and trap in one song and after listening to Drake and Future’s ‘What A Time To Be Alive’ I was inspired to make the beat for ‘My Circle’. A friend of mine had betrayed my trust so that’s where the concept of the song came from. I’d started building a relationship with Big Tobz and Blittz as I had jumped on the remix for ‘You Know My Style’ and they wanted to do a UK funky record with me so I thought that ‘My Circle’ would be perfect for them as a feature. Drake helped ‘My Circle’ blow up – he released ‘One Dance’ which sampled ‘Do You Mind’ by Crazy Cousinz and Kyla and that song gave me a lot of attention. My timeline for the next two weeks was people asking me to bring back funky and am I gonna release a UK funky track so I waited about for weeks to build anticipation. When I released ‘My Circle’ it went off in the clubs and people were gassed.

Watch the video for ‘Bonita’:

Donae’O embarks on a UK tour in December – find tickets here.

Related: Scratcha DVA’s Dummy mix blends gqom and UK funky: “UK gqom”

The 10 Best Breakbeat Diva Anthems, according to Kingdom

Kingdom has long been a central figure in vocal-led R&B-meets-dance music. The Fade to Mind boss and LA-based producer has pioneered a hyper-melodic and future-facing sound through the label, releasing (and producing for) Kelela’s influential ‘CUT 4 ME’ album along with early offerings from the likes of D∆WN, Nguzunguzu and Fatima Al Qadiri.

Dropping his debut ‘Tears in the Club’ LP in 2017 that tapped up Syd and SZA for vocals, he’s kept the theme of the strong female vocal on his newest offering, ‘EXTERRA (Vol. 1)’. Released today, the six-tracker finds Brooklyn’s Ms. Boogie and Tiara Thomas lacing the harder-hitting beats that verge at times on crunk with their vocals. In the spirit of this, Kingdom has shared his ten favourite all-female vocals over breakbeat house, breakbeat hardcore, and early jungle.

1. True Faith (Feat. Bridgett Grace) – ‘Take Me Away (Pinup Girls Mix)’

“I love when the beat cuts out after the short intro and you’re left hanging in the abyss with the diva calling out: “Take me away”. A perfect UK remix of Detroit diva house track.”

2. Dead Man’s Chest – ‘Tears (Fantasia Version)’

“A dark jungle flip of Brandy’s ‘Angel In Disguise’. There should be more original R&B that is this haunting and broken.”

3. Manix feat. Marie – ‘Let Your Mind Be Free’

“Full of happy pianos and messy breaks, then a rug-pull switch to the chaotic darkside at 1:35. My favourite breakbeat hardcore anthem.”

4. Dj SS – ‘Dawn In May’

“This is a remix of Adina Howard’s ‘Freak Like Me’ – named in the tradition of abstracting a lyric to avoid copyright issues: “it’s all about the dog in me” turned into ‘Dawn In May’.”

5. Elisabeth Troy – ‘Greater Love’

“Elisabeth Troy lent her voice to so many legendary songs. The beginning of the intro sounds like a proper soul classic, and then the start-stop breaks and loon calls come in.”

6. Roz – ‘U Can Be My Lover (Jonny L Dub)’

“Sub-bass-filled jungle version of an obscure ’90s New Jack R&B jam.”

7. Debbie Malone – ‘Rescue Me’

“Early diva house with breaks – I think this was an American house song that crossed over to the UK.”

8. DJ Vibes – ‘Sing It Loud’

“Another song that started out as slower US house track that was remixed into a hardcore anthem that laid the foundation for the happy hardcore sound.”

9. loggi – ‘where has all the love gone’

“A sweet/chaotic contrast of a classic sounding soul vocal over insanely syncopated breakbeat.”

10. Baby D – ‘Let Me Be Your Fantasy’

“This was a crossover hit in its day, but I had never heard of it until 2007 when I saw a drag queen in New York lip synch to it and was blown away. This takes me to ecstasy.”

Watch the video for Kingdom’s ‘High Enough (ft. Tiara Thomas)’:

Buy/stream Kingdom’s ‘EXTERRA (Vol. 1)’ here.

The 10 Best Tracks by Female Grime Artists, according to Cassie Rytz

Within the world of grime, you could argue that it’s a case of too many man. It’s long been an industry dominated by men – with male voices like Stormzy and Skepta continuing to storm the charts, but that’s not to say that there aren’t plenty of outstanding female-identifying MCs out there, from scene stalwarts like Lady Leshurr and Nadia Rose to early pioneers like Shystie and Ms Dynamite – not to mention a crop of up-and-comers.

South West London’s Cassie Rytz is a female making waves in the grime scene. She’s just put out her ‘Starts Here‘ mixtape, a self-assured 10-track debut packed with fire, with Rytz melding grime, dancehall and more via gold standard production. As a vocal force within grime herself, below she’s listed her all-time favourite tracks by female grime MCs.

1. Lady Leshurr – ‘Queen’s Speech Ep.4′

“Lady Leshurr’s ability to combine banter with bars is hard and she always has cool visuals to match.”

2. Female Takeover – ‘Game Over’

“Growing up with my brother listening to grime, it was sick to see a track with all the top females on it.”

3. Lioness – ‘DBT Freestyle’

“Lioness is one of the hardest, and her using a tune to address her haters in the industry? Mad respect.”

4. RoxXxan – ‘Too F*cking Facety’

“Respect to RoxXxan with this tune because she stayed true to herself and her image when everyone was telling her to be different. I resonate with that a lot.”

5. Mikey J & The UK Female Allstars – ‘Rock The Mic’

“Again, a perfect example of dope females coming together to show why they should be respected in this grime game!”

6. Stush – ‘Ah Me Dat’

“I didn’t know much about Stush until I heard this song. Her mix of dancehall with grime is similar to what I do.”

7. Laughta – ‘Pree My Ting’

“Laughta is Laughta. She owns her tracks, there’s never any doubt that she’s jumped on a riddim and it didn’t bang.”

8. So Solid Crew & Ms Dynamite – ‘Envy’

“I know this is a So Solid track, however I think we can all agree that Ms Dynamite owned this track. Every time I hear this tune, I remember no matter where, what or who I’m with, I have to kill it!”

9. C Cane – ‘Levels’

“The irony of this song… C Cane is definitely levels above loads of other MCs. I love her flows and bars.”

10. Lady Fury – ‘Beginning Of The End’

“I remember the first time hearing this song, I was beyond gassed to hear a female MC spit with the aggression, diction, clarity and grittiness. It showed me that I don’t have to spit a certain way to be accepted as a female MC.”

Cassie Rytz’s ‘Starts Here’ mixtape is out now – stream/download it here

The 10 Best Grime Tracks of All Time, according to Devlin

The 10 Best Tracks To Wake Up To, according to MJ Cole

Waking up to the right soundtrack can put a spring in your step, getting you set up for the day. The musical equivalent of getting out of bed on the right side, if you like. Underground music pioneer MJ Cole, who recently shared the stirring, infectious ‘Waking Up‘ with Cedric Gervais and Freya Ridings, clearly has this concept on the brain.

Having initially cut his teeth in the UK garage game, MJ Cole has since diversified his sound, coming to be one of the UK’s most talented songwriters and working with a number of prodigious talents. Read on below to find out the ultimate tracks MJ Cole wants to start his day with, and make your own mornings better…

1. Ólafur Arnalds – ‘saman’

“I’m an admirer of this man’s piano skills. If you haven’t already, check his live setup. Serious piano levels. I’ve found a lot of inspiration from his work for a new project I’m working on.”

2. Robert Glasper Experiment feat. Erykah Badhu – ‘Afro Blue’

“Another man with a magical touch on the ivories. Erykah Badhu’s voice can’t put you in a bad mood for the day. The way the piano moves through the beat is a thing of beauty.”

3. The Cinematic Orchestra – ‘Diabolus’

“I included this on my 2003 ‘Back To Mine’ compilation and still adore this record as much as I did then. Their recent record is brilliant, but I had to go back to this favourite for something to start your day with.”

4. Gabriel Garzón-Montano – ‘Keep On Running’

“I found this song last year and have had it on heavy rotation since. Another selection in which the piano plays beautifully around the beat. Perfect pre-marathon music.”

5. Tower Of Power – ‘What Is Hip’

“Legendary business. Funk masterclass. Another record I regularly revisit for pleasure and inspiration. The playing on this blows me away and the groove is so strong! I can’t think of a better way to start the day.”

6. Soul II Soul – ‘Back To Life’

“Ok, maybe this is a contender for a better way to start the day. I remember cutting vinyl back in the day with these guys by our old studio in North London. Untouchable song. A timeless masterpiece that brings me back to glorious summers in London.”

7. Bruno Major – ‘Old Fashioned’

“A more gentle start to the day. Since working with Bruno a few years ago I’ve been an admirer of his work. A hugely talented musician. He has an ability to write timeless songs like very few people writing music today.”

8. Tourist – ‘Awake’

“Will Phillips aka Tourist is an alumni of my old label Prolific Recordings. He recently released a beautiful new record. This is one of my favourites from it. I love his use of sampling on this whole record. His live show at EartH this year was brilliant, too.”

9. James Blake – ‘Power On’

“Another brilliant record. I am really in to the more hip-hop direction of this album. He’s someone who I would one day love to work with in the studio. He can do no wrong.”

10. Maribou State – ‘Glasshouses’

“This album has been another on repeat. I love the guitar and rising oriental strings on this and then the vocal comes in and you’re hooked. A beauty to start your day with.”

Listen to MJ Cole’s ‘Waking Up’ with Cedric Gervais and Freya Ridings:

Related: The 10 Best Forgotten UK Garage Gems, according to DJ Spoony

The 10 Best Imaginary Dub Versions, according to !!!

Long-running dance-punk band !!! are showing no signs of slowing down. The New York outfit are, following 2017’s ‘Shake The Shudder’, releasing eighth studio LP ‘Wallop’ tomorrow through Warp. Ahead of their ’90s-leaning album release, the group have compiled a list of the dub versions they wish existed.

“I love dub. I love reggae. I love dub reggae,” !!! say. “And I love all things that dub touches. Sometimes I wish other styles of music were more attentive to putting out dub versions. The dub versions of ’70s disco tracks were one of the things that first interested me in disco. In the ’80s, I bought every Depeche Mode, Book Of Love and random synth pop 12” single I could get my hands on. Dub was hugely influential to post rock bands like Tortoise in the ’90s and finally of course, UK dubstep in the 21st century.

“Inevitably, when !!! is in the studio, we end up soloing a bass drum, a bass line and playing around with the effects thinking, ‘We should make the whole track like this’. It’s how we came up with ‘This is the Door/This is The Dub’ on our new record ‘Wallop’. So for this series, I have compiled my dream dub versions. The songs I think should have dubs. If you know anyone with the stems to these songs, please send this article their way…”

1. Pat Benatar – ‘Dub is A Battlefield’

“Moody ’80s classic that could do with a healthy work-over. Take the battlefield part seriously and let’s go heavy on the reverb explosions. Apparently, Don Henley visited them in the studio and asked if he could bite the beat for his song ‘Boys of Summer’. Hell, dub that one too.”

2. The Beatles – ‘All You Need Is Dub’

“From what I recall, Paul was the only Beatle who appeared to pay any attention to reggae in the ’70s, but I’m sure the others would appreciate this. The miracles of the Internet have revealed the stems for Beatles songs and as these stems are all smashed onto four tracks, we might have trouble getting free with these tracks. But it seems silly to overlook dubbing one of the original psychedelic bands.”

3. Rihanna – ‘Dub on the Brain’

“Ok, we start this one with just the acapella in reverb and then start dropping the drums in and out in splashed out crashes. With a title like ‘Dub On The Brain’ we’re gonna have to get wild and psychedelic, but we all know RiRi likes the sweet leaf, so I’m guessing she’s down.”

4. Steve Winwood – ‘Higher Dub’

“Look, Steve does a killer job on this but the background vocals are Chaka Khan, sooooooooo who’s in favour of just kinda focusing on those vocals a little more? Ok cool, cool. We’re all in agreement then. I’m actually not mad at that new Whitney Houston version of this. Little Ibiza-y summer 2019, but fuck it, it’s summer 2019 and she sounds killer on it.”

5. Queen – ‘Crazy Little Thing Called Dub’

“Look, I’m as ready for rock ‘n’ roll to be buried as the next, but I gotta admit my heart has been warmed by seeing kids wearing Queen T-shirts since that movie came out. Queen fucking rules and Freddy should be a hero for ages to come. Let’s focus on those handclaps and turn up that slap back on his vocals.”

6. The Supremes – ‘You Can’t Hurry Dub’

“Fuck it, let’s chop and screw this one too, you can’t hurry dub, let’s slooooow this the one the fuck down. I highly recommend the Motown museum tour if you find yourself in Detroit. You can clap your hands in the actual echo chamber they used for all those ’60s songs and it really does sound like those records. We’re gonna let that reverb shine in this version.”

7. Led Zeppelin – ‘Whole Lotta Dub’

“There’s an oft-repeated myth that Jimmy Page wanted Zep to be a reggae band but Bonham couldn’t play that style of drums. Seems like they did fine nonetheless. There’s an Ike and Tina Turner version that’s kind of a Norman Whitfield type of thing with a much heavier groove, but it’s missing that crazy middle drop, that’s practically already dub. Geez, that part used to fuck with my mind as a kid. Why was the echo of Robert Plant happening before him on the second drop?”

8. Force MDs – ‘Dub is a House’

“Late ’80s R&B with more reverb, that’s essentially Chillwave right? The genre that died too soon. Did it? Who says that? I says that. I miss it. We’re bringing it back with this version.”

9. Chief Keef – ‘Dub Sosa’

“The famed intro to this in heavy reverb?! Do we even need the rest of it? Of course we do, this one is gonna be sick. I can really hear this one in my head right now. Chopped and screwed is really just Texas dub, right? Trap dub versions are what’s gonna bring us into the 2020s. Let’s go!”

10. Dionne Warwick – ‘What the World Needs Now (Is Dub)’

“Throw Dionne and those bells through the echoplex and let’s try it. In times like these we need to try anything we can think of. Maybe just maybe, dub sweet dub is the answer.”

Watch the video for !!!’s ‘Couldn’t Have Known’:

!!!’s ‘Wallop’ is out this Friday via Warp.

Listen to !!! (Chk Chk Chk)’s Dummy Mix

The 10 Best Carnival Anthems, according to Jelani Blackman

It’s the most wonderful time of the year… for Londoners, anyway. This Bank Holiday weekend will see the biggest street party in Europe, Notting Hill Carnival, flood the streets with floats and street food, and, most importantly, the sound systems that line each leafy street of West London, churning out the best of bashment, soca and UK afrobeats.

A born and bred West Londoner, Jelani Blackman has been attending Carnival since day one, and today – to coincide with the release of his single ‘Cheers’, a track that celebrates the concept of getting together and partying – he guides us through the Carnival bangers that have stuck in his memory.

1. Mr. Vegas – ‘Heads High’

“Classic classic classic. Big Anthem. If you hear this anywhere it can make you feel like you’re back at carnival.”

2. M Beat ft. General Levy – ‘Incredible’

“My first D&B experience was at carnival – I was eleven and walked to the end of my road for one the first times by myself. I came across this sound system and it blew my mind. There were guys actually running on the spot like they needed to win a race and people flying into each other. I rated it and have loved the mosh ever since.”

3. Chaka Demus & Pliers – ‘Murder She Wrote’

“If you can’t tell me about Maxine you need to go to more carnivals.”

4. T-Pain – ‘Buy U A Drank’

“One of the maddest things I’ve seen: Rampage sound system is used to being full of people on beef, everyone just on edge, one time I was there and it was tense and then suddenly this tune came on and the whole crowd just buss into that snap and step move, fully in sync. Everyone was just in the song, not one drop of bad blood for the whole time it played. Actual enemies just happy, gassed up alongside each other.”

5. Burna Boy – ‘Ye’

“I love music cos there’s always gonna be new classics. Like I said, cheers to the old and the new anthems. This is a big new anthem, gassed that Burna has elevated himself to where he’s at as well, did a track with him last year and it’s sick to see the progress.”

6. Drake – ‘Controlla’ / ‘One Dance’

“Not gonna lie, Drake peaked for me with these tunes. The year these both came out was a mmmazzaaa. They were getting played and was just a shutdown straight away. Officially the year of most whines caught.”

7. Lil Wayne – ‘A Milli’

“This tune slaps. The first time I remember a track coming out and then hearing it all over carnival. It’s so weird hearing a track and knowing it’s gonna become a classic, like an instant classic. Very similar to the next track in my list.”

8. J Hus – ‘Did You See’

“It gets too emosh these days when this comes on. Just represents so much, for music and the culture. There have been a good few singalong tracks in the last few years to come out of the UK but in my opinion, nothing else comes close to this. On every level it was perfect and if anyone asked what the new generation of uk music sounds like or comes from, I would play them this. Jae5 and Hus: trailblazers.”

9. Mist ft. Lotto Ash – ‘Different Strokes’

“Been banging this tune out this year so it’s definitely getting played at carnival. 100% my anthem of the year. Kinda takes parts from ‘Ye’ and got a vibe like ‘Did You See’ and then with Mist and Jae5 on it it’s a wrap. Ready to wake up to the sound of carnival this year, put this on then go out and see what adventures I’m gonna have.”

10. Jelani Blackman – ‘Cheers’

“The track is about celebration and good times, that’s carnival 100%. Raising a glass or can or bottle to the things we appreciate and having a drink up, or anything else up. I’ve never missed a carnival in my whole life and they can keep trying to stop it but until they do I’ll be there.”

Jelani Blackman’s ‘Cheers’ is out today.

Reset and Ready: Jelani Blackman is returning to his early independence

 

The 10 Best LA Songs You’ve Never Heard, according to AUGUST 08

88rising are taking over the world. Initially a pan-Asian collective, the label, management company and content creators now boasts offices in LA and New York as well as Shanghai. One of their more recent additions to their roster is LA songwriter AUGUST 08, an artist who’s previously penned for the likes of DJ Khaled, Justin Bieber and Lil Wayne, and is now stepping out as a solo artist in his own right.

Formerly an elusive character, AUGUST 08’s latest offering is ‘Happy Endings with an Asterisk‘, a six-tracked EP that finds collaborations with Duckwrth, GoldLink and Smino among others, channelled through August Grant’s polished, melancholic R&B-meets-pop sound. As someone who’s been based out of Los Angeles for some time, AUGUST 08 guides us through the biggest bangers that have originated from that part of the world, with a focus on the Pacific Coast trend of jerkin’ and the music that has soundtracked the energised form of street dance.

1. AV LMKR – ‘Run Me My Money’

“A legendary rapper from Compton, next in line after YG in LA. Never got his shine. Still an LA anthem. Cash Doll popped off off the same beat.”

2. Vixen Ent – ‘I Need That’

“City Girls before City Girls. If you’re a girl from LA you know this entire song.”

3. Jinc Ent – ‘Bad Chick Alert’

“Legendary jerk crew. Made a few songs with Hodgy Beats and YG. This was their song of the summer at the time.”

4. YG – ‘She a Model’

“Before YG was an international superstar, he was a Compton/Paramount rapper. The known King of the Jerk movement. Nobody was bigger than YG in the movement.”

5. Red Duce – ‘Roller Coaster’

“This shit is so hard! And he was the first person I saw with half hair red and half black…”

6. YT – ‘Call Me Daddy’

“It was just a hood hit!”

7. YG x Ty Dolla $ign – ‘Relax’

“The sex song of the last ten years. If this came on you were getting a lap dance…”

8. Freshboyz – ‘iROCK Skinnies’

“Yeeee! I went to high school with these guys and they had a hit in high school and it was so fire!”

9. Cold Flamez – ‘Miss Me Kiss Me’

“Legendary Long Beach song. They were like the N*E*R*D of the jerk movement.”

10. YG – ‘I’m Still Poppin’

 

AUGUST 08’s ‘Happy Endings with an Asterisk’ EP is out now – stream/download it here.

The 10 Best New School Broken Beat Tracks, according to Shy One

While some selectors choose to focus on one sound, sharpening their knowledge of that particular area, Shy One isn’t afraid to tap into multiple. The versatile, West London-raised DJ has become known for her wide-ranging sets that touch on house, UK rap and broken beat, which she’s found homes for on stations like Balamii, Rinse and NTS.

As something of an authority on broken beat, Mali Larrington-Nelson has taken part in a new compilation by bruk pioneers EVM128 and James Rudie, ‘Input Vol. 1’. The concept for the collaborative record was simple: “make a beat, pass it on, and let someone else add to it.” As a genre with collaboration at the heart of it, we asked Larrington-Nelson to guide us through her favourite bruk tracks by the new skool of producers.

1. Ben Hauke – ‘Simple ft. Jerome Thomas’

“Ben’s one of my favourite London producers and this tune reminds me of one of my fave bruk tunes – ‘Manhood‘ by Vikter Duplaix.”

2. Neue Grafik – ‘I Miss Something (NameBrandSound Remix)’

“Not that the original was missing anything, but the remix just took it to another level.”

3. Henry Keen – ‘Gotta Step!’

“Henry’s music has such a raw, free style and this release on Madjazz has a real honest feel to it. The album captures inner city London for me.”

4. Neue Grafik – ‘Why You’

“If you caught any of my sets last year it’s very likely you heard me open with this. Deep grooves released on Rhythm Section.”

5. Larri Laurent – ‘Lefenrite’

Discogs link

“‘Lefenrite’ is mysterious b-side to Ishfaq’s wicked flip of D’Angelo’s ‘Left and Right’ that has been doing damage on the floor for a couple years.”

6. Captain Over – ‘4D’

Deejay.de link

“Captain Over’s sound is a visionary mix of grime, broken beat, house and more. Perfect modern bruk sound.”

7. K15 – ‘Broken Theme’

“Flip of a wicked track by Kamaal Williams (Henry Wu) – ‘K15’, and he takes a broken jazz track and makes it dancefloor friendly.”

8. Karmasound – ‘Can See Thru You (Sean McCabe Broken Mind Remix)’

“This release on Phuture Shock Musik has so many great broken beat components – there’s jazz, soul, house and more mixed in with the late-night broken beat sound here.”

9. Radius Etc – ‘Interstellar Danceoff’

“Another big one here to end the list.”

10. SMBD x K15 – ‘Dry Mango Pt 2.’

Listen

“Two of my London faves coming together, released on one of my favourite London labels [Apron Records].”

Stream or purchase Shy One’s ‘INPUT’ release here.

London Living: Shy One and Kwam chat ‘Spoons’

The 10 Best Drag Race Lip Synch For Your Life Tracks, according to Blanck Mass

Fuck Buttons’ Benjamin John Power, aka Blanck Mass, is like many millions of others, a RuPaul’s Drag Race fan. When the Scotland-based producer’s not working on music, that is. His latest album, ‘Animated Violence Mild’, which arrives on Friday via Sacred Bones, tackles some pretty big themes through some even bigger, noisy sounds. ‘In this post-industrial, post-enlightenment religion of ourselves,’ the press release reads, ‘we have manifested a serpent of consumerism which now coils back upon us.’ Which is something we can all get behind.

Throughout Drag Race her-story, one thing has remained constant: the importance of the Lip Sync For Your Life. The reality TV show staple, whereby two queens are pitted against each other to a song hand-selected by Ru herself, has provided countless showdowns, controversies and just simply great content. Ahead of ‘Animated Violence Mild’s release, Power runs us through the most sickening Lip Synchs to date…

1. Jinkx Monsoon v Detox: Yma Sumac – ‘Malambo No. 1’

“I’m gonna start strong here. Easily my favourite LSFYL and also my favourite song that’s ever been used in one. The perfect track for Jinkx to “play up a schtick”. Jinkx winning this one had a real sense of ‘universal justice’ considering how Jinkx had been treated by ‘Ro-laska-tox’. I often watch this if I’m feeling low for any reason as a pick-me-up. A pivotal moment in Drag race for me. Jinkx Monsoon for President; that’s a world I wanna live in.”

2. Sharon Needles v Phi Phi O’Hara: The Weather Girls – ‘It’s Raining Men’

“I’m convinced that Sharon Needles can’t dance for shit but that doesn’t stop her being one of the best queens the world has ever seen. Sharon camped this one up to such an amazing place that I feel no matter what Phi Phi did it was always going to go Sharon’s way. Luckily for Phi Phi though, Willam got disqualified meaning the Sharon and Phi Phi drama could continue another day.”

3. Naomi Smalls v Gian Gunn: RuPaul – ‘Adrenaline’

“It’s hard to pick a favourite lip synch from Naomi Smalls but purely based on contortion I’m going to have to pick this one. Naomi went on to become a lip synch assassin later in All Stars and really started to shine here. She pulls some of the most incredible shapes, it’s beyond me how she hits these angles, only to be rivalled perhaps by Yvie Oddly recently. She’s definitely one of the most interesting queens to see in a LSFYL I can think of, especially here. Gia was great but I really don’t think she stood much of a chance against Naomi.”

4. Sasha Velour v Shea Coulee: Whitney Houston – ‘So Emotional’

“As much as I think gimmicks in a lip synch can often feel a little bit cheap, this was an iconic moment for Sasha Velour which I’m pretty sure sealed the crown for her in season nine. Sasha’s creativity is next-level and the wig reveal showering her in rose petals was an incredible moment not only in Drag Race but an iconic moment in drag, period.”

5. Valentina v Nina Bo’nina Brown: Ariana Grande – ‘Greedy’

“This one was amazing and perhaps for all the wrong reasons but iconic nonetheless. The fact that Val even decided to leave her mask on for the lip synch in the first place is testament to the fact that she really does live in ‘Val’s World’ and I love that. Saying that, Nina definitely deserved the win here, no doubt about it, but still a particularly rebellious moment in Drag Race alongside Pearl’s “Do I have something on my face?” moment. You’ve got to appreciate the rebellion in drag.”

6. Manila Luzon v Delta Work: Donna Summer – ‘Macarthur park’

“When Manila goes cross-eyed and crazed here it’s so perfectly timed and executed that the lip synch could have been won here on that moment alone.”

7. Scarlet Envy v Ra’jah O’Hara: Donna Summer – ‘Last Dance’

“Scarlet won this lip-synch as far as I am concerned. Not too sure what the deal was here and if it was somewhat predetermined but Scarlet’s LSFYL here was easily one of the best of season 11. Her subsequent elimination to me felt massively unjust. It’s not the fact that Ra’jah wasn’t doing a great job as she was. I just felt that Scarlet’s gimmicks didn’t feel at all tacky and that she performed with so much poise and and character that she deserved the win.”

8. Chi Chi DeVayne v Thorgy Thor: Jennifer Holliday – ‘And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going’

“Whether Chi Chi breaking her necklace and covering the stage in pearls was accidental or not, it was definitely fortuitous. I’m convinced that this happy accident(?) was the final icing on the cake to an already incredibly emotive lip synch that left Thorgy totally overshadowed. UPDATE: while typing this I have just rewatched and noticed that Chi Chi’s necklace got caught in her heel whilst she is on her knees. So yes, accident.”

9. Mimi Imfurst v India Ferrah: Thelma Houston – ‘Don’t Leave Me This Way’

“This one was plain odd. I’m not sure what possessed Mimi to pick India up and parade her around draped over her shoulder but it definitely didn’t work out for her. I would speculate that she panicked and tried to sabotage the whole lip synch but I really am not sure. Anyway. It didn’t work out for her in the end.”

10. Alyssa Edwards v Tatianna: Rihanna – ‘Shut Up & Drive’

“This has gone down in history as one of the best LSFYLs to ever happen and that’s justified. Maybe for the simple reason that it is so difficult to pick who would have actually won here. Both Alyssa and Tatianna were on incredible form. This was testament to how hard both of these queens work, how talented they both are, and if there was ever a time for Ru to say: “Shantay, you both stay,” then this was it.”

Watch Blanck Mass’s ‘Love Is A Parasite’:

Blanck Mass’s ‘Animated Violence’ album comes out this Friday via Sacred Bones.

“What’s more grand than the idea of someone’s internals?” Read our interview with Blanck Mass

The 10 Best House Tracks From Peacefrog’s Back Catalogue, according to Alex Virgo

Peacefrog Records is known for its eclectic catalogue of sounds, in the last decade releasing records by acts as diverse as José Gonzalez, Parek & Singh and Little Dragon. The ’90s, however, was an era when the label spidered out into pounding techno to seminal house records, championing acts like Moodymann and Neil Landstrumm. The early days of the label reflecting the early acid house scene, utilising more than a few 303s, before diversifying into a wider array of dancefloor sounds.

South London DJ and producer Alex Virgo is a big Peacefrog fan and, following his disco-house-mining ‘Can’t Explain’ EP, released in June via his own Pommes Frite imprint, has selected the finest house tracks from the label he admires. “Peacefrog Records for me is one of the most prominent British labels for house and techno over the ’90s and ’00s,” he says. “There’s been such a wide spectrum of dance music released by Peacefrog over the years and to me, some of my most influential artists; Moodymann, Luke Slater, Glenn Underground and Paul Johnson, to name a handful. So I’ve picked out my favourite house tracks from Peacefrog.”

1. Paul Johnson – ‘A Little Suntin Suntin’ (1996)

“Paul Johnson is a personal musical hero of mine, so there was no way I wouldn’t have included from the ‘Feel The Music’ album! ‘A Little Suntin Suntin’ is my personal favourite on the LP, it’s got such a great groove!”

2. Moodymann – ‘Stoneodenjoe’ (1998)

“Released in 1998, this album has a mixed bag of styles and I love the sampling in it. ‘Stoneodenjoe’ has a great MPC swing to it and a real lazy feel to it. Still haven’t figured out what has been sampled in this record, so if anyone can help…?”

3. Neil Landstrumm – ‘She-Ra Extra Speaker Pop’ (1995)

“Yeah yeah, this is technically techno but in contrast to the rest of the album which is quite a lot heavier, ‘She-Ra Extra Speaker Pop’ has always stood out to me because of the soulful sampling and the keys.”

4. Glenn Underground – ‘Cat N.A. Thy Trap’ (1996)

“I’m a massive fan of Glenn Underground so again he was always going to get a mention in this list in ‘Cat N.A. Thy Trap’. I think the standout part of this track is the bassline which features from start to finish and sounds amazing on a big system.”

5. Underground Evolution – ‘Walk On Water’ (1997)

“Originally released on Ugly Music a few years before, ‘Walk On Water’ featured on Underground Evolution ‘Primordial Passage’ LP in 1999. The drums on this track really give it its energy, and that bassline cuts through so well, love it!”

6. Tim Harper – ‘I Feel A Groove (Club Mix)’ (1995)

“I think this is one of my favourite records from Peacefrog. I love the contrast of the B-side ‘Lake Shore Drive’ but the A-side ‘I Feel A Groove’ is a serious dancefloor weapon.”

7. Stacy Kidd – ‘Think Of You’ (1996)

“This Steve Wonder sample is a classic, and although I do love Roy Davis Jr’s ‘All I Do’, also on Peacefrog, I love ‘Take It Easy’ because of its thumping drums and the floaty pads Stacy Kidd has effortlessly incorporated.”

8. Anthony Nicholson – ‘Tribes Of Chant (World Dance)’ (1999)

“I only found this quite recently but I enjoy playing it a lot, it’s perfect for the warm-up and has a real sunshine feel to it.”

9. Theo Parrish – ‘Sweet Sticky’ (1998)

“This for me and probably a few others is a modern classic. It’s such an interesting idea that keeps evolving over seven minutes, you forget how you got there when you reach the end.”

10. Wyndell Long – ‘She’ EP (1995)

“I recently bought this record from a friend because I really like all five tracks but the standout has to be ‘Asphasia’. Everything works so well together in this track and I love the sampled drums dropping in and out throughout.”

And he’s given a bonus one too…

Mystic Rythem – ‘Sha-Dop’ (1995)

“Simplicity is always the best way sometimes and this is a great example. I love the sampled chords over this low-end-heavy beat. It properly thumps on a style.”

Alex Virgo’s ‘Can’t Explain’ is out now via his own Pomme Frite imprint – purchase it here.

The 10 Best Andy Kaufman Moments, according to Pen Gutt

Hailing from a quiet town in Norway, Pen Gutt doesn’t quite fit into the brazen incarnation of contemporary rap. Delivering hooks in indie-rapper sadboy fashion, he laces jazzy, languid beats inspired by Norwegian folk music with his native tongue. While his Scandi upbringing is an influence, he’s also into philosophy books, Norwegian musicals, Japanese anime and a man he describes as “the father of performance art,” Andy Kaufman, an individual Gutt cites as the inspiration behind characters in his videos.

“I first discovered him in a time in my life where I was completely obsessed with Riff Raff,” Pen Gutt says, “and when people discussed on forums whether he was the real deal or just simply an act pretending to be a rapper. Well, somebody in a forum compared him to Andy Kaufman, and said that he might just be trolling everybody. Curious as I was I checked into him, and not long after I’d stumbled into a new obsession.

“Just to clarify, Andy Kaufman has always been somewhat different. He pretended to make TV shows in his room when he was a kid, and got his father to watch as he invited guests, sang, made jokes and hosted the show all together. He made his major TV debut on the first-ever Saturday Night Live episode by lip syncing only Mighty Mouse’s parts in the theme song for Mighty Mouse, which is only three lines. And this was his specialty, there was a lot of silence in his comedy, both by not doing anything or just simply doing something that’s not particularly funny at all. He made the audience feel awkward, weird, and some times even mad, just for the fuck of it. There was never a boring part of his career…”

1. Tony Clifton on the set of Taxi

“He had this character called Tony Clifton, which he made with his writer where he was an obnoxious, abusive lounge singer. Sometimes when somebody wanted to book Andy, they ended up with Tony instead, or sometimes he just insisted that by booking Andy you had to book Tony too. So first you’d get a nice show with Andy, but afterwards a fat drunk would enter the stage and sing so fucking terribly that people would, and if it wasn’t enough he always made sure to go into the audience and harass them, pour a drink over them, whatever to piss them off. So one day he decided to go as Tony to the recording of the show Taxi. He showed up completely drunk with two hookers by his side and started to wrestle the producer, some of the crew and his own co-actors. They fired him for that, but not Andy, just Tony.”

2. Andy Kaufman on Letterman

“This is why I love Andy. Most people just go on talk shows to promote their next movie or album or whatever, but this is just pure gold. He seems so down, and depressed, and as talk show audiences do when it gets awkward, they start to laugh. He doesn’t do anything, he’s just sad. But somehow they love it, cause they don’t know what to do. He then proceeds by saying that his girlfriend has dumped him and ran away with the kids and almost all his money, so it would be of much help if they could lend him some money, then he walks out in the audience and accepts coins with his sad little face.”

3. Andy Kaufman wrestles the ladies

“He was always into wrestling, from way back when he was a kid. Then later on in life he figured out if he didn’t stand a chance wrestling men he would rather wrestle women. That would make for a better show. He usually started out by talking shit about women to get them really fired up, then a girl would volunteer and most of the time he’d get beaten by them, but people would get so excited about it! He played the role of a villain, so they would hate him, and everyone loves seeing the bad guy lose.”

4. Andy Kaufman on SNL

“The reason why I’ve taken so much of a liking to him is because he wasn’t afraid at all to be hated. On the contrary, he used it to his advantage and made the ‘booing’ part of his story. He wanted people to both disgust him and love him, and the best example of this is when he let the audience decide if they would let him continue on SNL or dump him from the show. He got dumped, and never appeared on Saturday Night Live again.”

5. Andy Kaufman reads The Great Gatsby

“Sometimes he just wasn’t keen on being liked at all. He got booked to this university show where he did his famous The Great Gatsby sketch. But the thing about this sketch was that it wasn’t meant to be enjoyable. He starts to read in an English accent The Great Gatsby, and at first it seems a bit funny, but he doesn’t stop, he proceeds to read the book, hushing people when they laugh. He doesn’t stop until he has read the whole fucking book, and almost everyone has left the venue. This is a clip from the sketch, but there’s no footage of when he bombed that university, don’t think it would be entertaining watching either way.”

6. Andy Kaufman plays Carnegie Hall

“I take great inspiration from how he communicated with the audience, how he broke the barrier between them and let them into his own world. At the end of his performance at Carnegie Hall he tells the audience he has 20 buses waiting outside the theatre to bring everyone to have milk and cookies with him. That’s how you’re supposed to end a show. On another note, Action Bronson once stopped in the middle of his set to go and eat some chicken at a place down the street, bringing a lot of the fans. He then got back and finished the rest of the show.”

7. Andy Kaufman does Elvis Presley

“One of his most famous acts was his Elvis Presley impersonation. He was completely obsessed with him, and actually got the notion by Elvis that his act was his favourite of all the Elvis impersonators. Andy had a talent, sometimes he used it for complete fuckery, but other times he used it just to make people laugh and smile. This was one of those acts. A kid showing love to his biggest idol.”

8. Andy Kaufman interviews his ex-girlfriend Elayne Boosler

“I would guess this is some of the first trolling ever made on television. It’s Eric André before he was even born. On the same TV special the screen suddenly starts to scrub, making people at home adjusting their antenna to make it good again. This was just something he had edited in to make them leave their couch. Genius. Later on the show he invites his guest, which is his ex-girlfriend, and for the occasion he has made the tallest desk in talk-show history. Making the dynamics look really weird. If there’s one Andy clip you should watch, it’s definitely this. Both of them are really funny, she talks about a stand-up friend who does a lot of material about death, and talks shit about old senile people, and without looking at the audience he afterwards realise that it’s just old people watching. Which is just sad, not funny, haha. Might be my favourite clip.”

9. The Andy Kaufman apology

“The thing about Andy is that you never really knew when he was in character or not. He always seemed to be some steps ahead, making people really confused if they were gonna laugh or feel sorry for him. Before any of his acts or shows he demanded 90 minutes of pure silence in a room to meditate. He was deep into meditating, and worked as a teacher for a long time, and that’s why I think he had so much control over his situations. I would guess he would visualise everything he was going to do, and think of the different outcomes of his actions. I think he got into the state which he needed to be to keep his straight face at all times. Here he makes his apology after starting a fight on the Fridays TV show. A beautiful performance, just watch.”

10. Jerry Lawler vs Andy Kaufman

“The fight with Jerry Lawler was an ongoing thing throughout his whole career. Making appearances on talk shows where Andy threw water on him and said he was just an idiot from Memphis, Tennessee. Andy also kept saying that everyone from Tennessee had an IQ of 10 and never washed themselves or had any toilet paper, and basically walked around with shit in their pants.

“This was just to get them fired up, so when the day came when Andy was supposed to fight Jerry the venue was packed and everyone hated Andy. After a hard knuckle driver which made Andy land on his head, he just laid there, completely wrecked. The crowd went crazy and screamed that he had to get back on his feet, but he wouldn’t. Instead he just laid there, and after some time some medics came and put him on a stretcher and drove him away, leaving the audience confused about what just happened.”

Listen to Pen Gutt’s ‘Skyle Uten Hender (ft. Bronse)’:

Pen Gutt’s debut album arrives late Summer via Luft Recordings