Each week, FACT’s Mixtape Round-Up trawls through the untamed world of free mixes, radio specials and live blends so you don’t have to.
We’ve now decided to break this into two features: the week’s Best Free Mixes (think Soundcloud, Mixcloud) and the week’s Best Mixtapes (think DatPiff, LiveMixtapes). Naturally, there’ll always be some level of crossover between the two, but for now we’ve split the columns up, with Mixes running every Thursday, and Mixtapes every Friday.
In our second week with the new format, we’re as club-ready as ever. There are a pair of 100% grime mixes (one old school, one new), eclectic party-starters from a rapper/DJ combo and a LuckyMe resident, edgy R&B and 21st century pop. Dig in.
Mix of the Week:
As we pointed out when he kicked off the year’s FACT mix series, no one is approaching instrumental grime quite like Murlo. His livewire constructions — all synth arpeggios, irresistible melodies, and waist-wining riddims — are heavy with technicolor vibes that get us all woozy with synesthesia. He continues to draw from everything from bashment to bassline for an über-contemporary take on carnival music that simply does not let up.
Birds chirp, wind blows, swords are sharpened… and we’re too busy dancing to notice the ominous smell of ozone in the air. There’s no tracklist on this one, but we’ll be waiting for those refixes of Mila J and Cherish to surface — his track record is unassailable when it comes to bootlegs (and his graphic design is ace, too; check out that cover!).
EDGYBOY MIX 1
Chicago’s Youngcuhlord (last heard on the mic in Supreme Cuts’ FACT mix) drops a set of slanted R&B and hip-hop in his hour-long Edgyboy mix, with just the right ratio of new and old, hazy and straight-edged. There’s plenty of Drakish rap-R&B hybrids from the man himself, Partynextdoor, and Tory Lanez; menacing street rap from Peeway Longway and Robb Bank$; and material from sex-jam standard-bearers R. Kelly and Ginuwine.
It’s not just all the young dudes, either: female voices are dotted throughout, from the retro soul of Kali Uchi, the late-night electro of Eyedress, and a pitch-shifted Beyoncé. Plus, our host reps his hometown: alongside Lil Durk and Chief Keef, there’s forthcoming music from ones-to-watch Khalfani and David Ashley (a member of JODY and the other voice on the SupCuts mix) and a recent highlight from KIT. The perfect soundtrack for another hot Chicago summer.
PLASTICMAN REMASTERED PROMO MIX
We usually don’t dig into promo mixes, but when it’s for one of the year’s most-anticipated retrospectives, we’ll make an exception. As reported, Plastician will release a remastered compilation of his Plasticman tunes, and he’s worked the entire set into a predictably-sinister mix.
The wobbling, war-ready tunes that the DJ/producer churned out a decade ago still sound vital, and considering the ubiquity of instrumental grime, the mix sits somewhere between nostalgic and contemporary. Even if you know these tracks (who could forget the sludgy, industrial surge of ‘Sandstorm’), Plastician includes the unreleased material, too. What a gent.
TRIPLE J RADIO MIX
This one begins with a seamless, triparte blend of classic freestyle (Giggles’ ‘Love Letter’), timeless house (Matrixxman’s ‘Ventian Mask’) and PC Music dance-pop (A.G. Cook’s remix of Dreamtrak), so you’ll forgive us if it feels like this was constructed with us in mind. That intro sets the tone of the mix, with the LuckyMe resident bounding between dance material with the same eclectic spirit as she did on her FACT mix.
Try this on: Georgia Girls and Trapdoor’s Bmore club banger ‘So Seductive’ into Shy Glizzy’s trapped-out ‘Wassaname’ into Uniiqu3’s Jerseyfied remix of the legendary ‘Samir Theme’ into a throwback slow jam by The Deele (hello, Babyface and LA Reid) into DJ Seduction’s where-were-you-in-92 ‘Hardcore Heaven’. It continues like that for an hour. Lucky us.
DJ KIDD MARVEL X GOLDLINK
DC rising star GoldLink and collaborator DJ Kidd Marvel team up for over an hour of what the rapper has christened “Future Bounce,” an easy-going blend of crowd-pleasing hip-hop, warm electro-R&B vibes and club beats that certainly live up to the mix’s title. There’s a little something for everyone here: Jersey club breakbeats and big room refrains, Golden Era-leaning boom-bap and rap radio hits, throwback favorites and blown-out bootlegs by the likes of Kaytranada and C. Justice.
For his part, GoldLink teases two new tracks: ‘Nymphos’ turns Kanye’s ‘Addiction’ into a sexual wishlist, while ‘RussianGirlfriend’ sees the rapper in fine form over a beat that flips well-worn samples into something fresh. Like his Chicago contemporaries Chance the Rapper and Vic Mensa, GoldLink speaks directly to a generation of kids that could care less about genre as long as they can dance to it.
DUMMY 21st CENTURY POP MUSIC
Our friends at Dummy just dropped a compilation of so-called “21st Century Pop Music,” and they’ve enlisted Cadenza to bring it all together in a mix. The compilation’s gauzy, brittle, synth-blasted dance fare sits together nicely, no matter the providence: the globally-conscious set bounds between Afropop from Cape Town’s John Wizards, DFA-approved house from Greece’s Larry Gus, and dembow expertise from London’s Palmistry.
Elsewhere, the mix takes a glitchy turn with E.M.M.A. and Will LV’s ‘Lies, Lies, Lies’, and a propulsive one with the shuffling duet of Amateur Best and Empress Of’s ‘Create Your Love’. Highlights include Damian Taylor’s “rejiggle” of Tirzah’s best-of-2013 ‘I’m Not Dancing’, Álauda’s breezy, LDR-ish ‘Falling Star’, and Eyedress’s nightstalker ‘White Lies’. For something with more of an edge, teen sensation Wondagurl remixes Cadenza and Deena Jonez’s firestarter ‘The Darkest Hype’. 21st century pop music is impossible to pin down, but Dummy‘s take is as good as any.