1. “The Word 2” by Shigeo Sekito
A rare cut from some obscure 1970s Japanese electone jazz. An odd twist on your usual listening habits. A future inspiration for many artists from Gucci Mane to Mac Demarco.
2. “Chamber of Reflection” by Mac Demarco
Mac Demarco channels some Shigeo Sekito and makes a modern indie classic. This is quite possibly the track that put Mac Demarco on people’s radar. It’s a very emblematic song of Demarco’s style.
3. “Tienes el Don” by Rels B
Another artist who takes notes from Sekito but throws his own spin on it. Rels B is a Spanish artist who’s been steadily gaining traction on the independent route, relying mostly on YouTube and Soundcloud.
4. “Ghetto Gold” by Doughboyz Cashout
One of the classic cuts from the Detroit rap group Doughboyz Cashout’s album, No Deal on Chill. This song captures the essence of the mid 2010s Detroit rap scene.
5. “Gold Soul Theory” by The Underachievers
Now to a Beastcoast classic. This is my favorite Underachievers beat, produced by Rich Fyer. If you’re not aware of the Beastcoast collective, which includes Flatbush Zombies and Pro Era, then this is a good place to start.
6. “Hip Hop” by DJ Khaled, Scarface, Nas, DJ Premier
Probably one of the best songs we’ve gotten from DJ Khaled since his debut album American Teen (2017). An ode to hip-hop featuring three of hip-hop’s most respected legends.
7. “Stuck” by Peven Everett
This songs comes courtesy of Disclosure’s Record Bag, which is one of my best kept secrets. If you’re looking for some funky and amazing songs, then check out the playlist by that name on Spotify. “Stuck” is a groovy dance cut with a catchy hook.
8. “UFO” by ESG
An underground alt jam from the South Bronx in the 80s. This song surprisingly (or not) is one of the most sampled songs in hip-hop history. It’s been sampled over 400 times. The original song itself sounds like it was made by the offspring of Nikola Tesla and an alien.
9. “Pac Blood” by Danny Brown
“Pac Blood” is a jarring yet compelling song off of Danny Brown’s masterpiece, XXX. Listening to this song is a glimpse into Danny Brown’s world. You can hear the influence of 2Pac but you can also hear Danny’s distinctive originality.
10. “It’s Obvious” by Au Pairs
Switching it up with a good post-punk throwback. “It’s Obvious” has a driving beat and fun guitar riff. Au Pairs is a group from Birmingham, UK and the lead singer, Lesley Woods was once described by The LA Times as being “one of the most striking women in British rock.”
11. “Should Have Taken Acid With You” by Neon Indian
Neon Indian is one of the most interesting electronic bands. They sound like an indie rock band but also don’t really fit in that category. As an “electronic band,” they also don’t really sound like other groups out there. They have a grainy sound that cannot be turned down.
12. “Murderer” by Barrington Levy
Probably the most well known song from Barrington Levy. He’s a dancehall legend perhaps on the same level as Shaba Ranks. In my book, he’s the Bob Marley of dancehall.
13. “Paranoid” by Black Sabbath
The album Paranoid has one of my favorite rock album covers because it’s simple, trippy, and confusing. The song showcases Ozzy’s Osbourne’s signature high-pitched vocals. I love how crisp the drums sound on this song and it goes without saying how good the guitars sound with Black Sabbath.