1. “Objects in the Mirror - Live” by Mac Miller
The live versions of this song are more emotional than the studio version, off of Watching Movies with the Sound Off. The best live version is the “Space Migration” session with the band The Internet.
2. “Untitled (How Does it Feel)” by D’Angelo
This tune is from the album Voodoo and is one of my favorite albums. I’m in love with D’Angelo’s voice, the subject matter of this album and the “spottieottiedopalicious” production from Questlove and D’Angelo himself.
3. “Fall in Love (Your Funeral)” by Erykah Badu
J Dilla chanelled some Eddie Kendricks and Notorious B.I.G. in this beat. Years later, Earl Sweatshirt sampled this song on “Grief.” This is probably the closest thing we’ll ever have that ties together all of the mentioned artists in one song.
4. “The Show” by Doug E. Fresh and Slick Rick
One of the most iconic and frequently sampled hip-hop songs of all time. Doug E. Fresh sets up a mostly beat-boxed instrumental for Slick Rick to show of his art of storytelling. “Six minutes, Doug E., six minutes, Doug E., six minutes Doug E. Fresh you’re on, uh uh on.”
5. “Uncle Albert / Admiral Halsey” by Paul McCartney
This is one of those Paul McCartney songs that sounds just as good as any Beatles song. The music moves around in the style of “A Day in the Life” or “Band on the Run.” This medley is a fun song for just about any mood.
6. “Roadrunner” by The Modern Lovers
“Roadrunner” is a perfect road trip song. This protopunk song is very Massachusettes-y and reminiscent of Joy Division. I love any song that celebrates music and this celebrates the radio with a refrain at the end that goes “radio heart.”
7. “Let it Happen - Soulwax Remix” by Tame Impala
In anticipation of Tame Impala’s new album, here’s a throwback to Currents, with this soaring remix. Soulwax captures the essence of “Let it Happen” and then lets the track explode into many new directions.
8. “A Spoonful Weighs a Ton” by The Flaming Lips
From one of my favorite Flaming Lips album The Soft Bulletin, this song is sung in the style of Ziggy Stardust. The Soft Bulletin is cherished as being one of the only albums to receive a 10.0 from Pitchfork during its initial release.
9. “His Pain” by BJ the Chicago Kid and Kendrick Lamar
The bass and piano on this song are so tender they almost make me cry. Once you hear Kendrick’s whining and emotional verse, the tears cannot be held back. If they somehow are, they won’t be able to stop themselves from falling after hearing BJ the Chicago Kid sing,. “Now I know why you keep blessing me, so I can bless you.”
10. “No B-Sides” by Chazmere
I saw Chazmere, doing better than last year, at a Talib Kweli show and he unexpectedly outshined the Black Star legend. He’s from the X (Bronx) and he’s on the come up with a fresh underground sound.
11. “Comfortable” by 3amsoundz
3amsoundz is the Drake of Detroit. His combination of hip-hop and R&B reminds me of the So Far Gone days of Drake. 3amsoundz just released an 8-track album called Paradise Falls, which features “Melaj Nights,” the song used for his first music video.
12. “Rise Above (ft. Pharrell, Tuki Carter, Amber Rose)” by Wiz Khalifa
As usual, Pharrell does not disappoint with the production of this track from O.N.I.F.C. Wiz has a classic Wiz verse, Pharrell splashes a little flavor, the unknown Tuki Carter briefly shines, and then Amber Rose comes in and closes out the track.
13. “Me and Jesus the Pimp in a ‘79 Granada” by The Coup
The Coup is a revolutionary hip-hop group from Oakland, California. The lead singer of the group, Boots Riley, is perhaps now best known for writing and directing the amazing 2018 film Sorry to Bother You. But anyone who liked the film should listen to this 1998 release to feel even closer to Riley and his ‘79 Granada.