Summer means barbecues, house parties, cruising the strip with the top down, tropical getaways, torrid flings all that and more. But it wouldn't be right without an appropriate soundtrack. Here are Close 2 tha Edge's picks for a sizzlin' summer mixtape that'll travel from Tha Town to around the world and back.
V-White featuring the Neighborhood: "House Party"
Let's start with some official town business to get our mixtape crackin'. For that we turn to V-White and his homies, who bring the bouncy Oakland funk for your next function: It's a house party in my neighborhood/I won't call the cops but my neighbors would!
A-Plus: "Patna Please"
Staying in the O for a minute, we're gonna continue to get our perk on with a hype track from the Hieroglyphics veteran. A-Pleezy keeps it green and fluffy with hydroponically influenced lyrics you can smash out to without dumbing down your mental: It's a couple people hatin' cause they ain't who I be/Certain levels we can't speak 'cause my brain is too deep.
Turf Talk: "Bring the Base Back"
E-40's lil' nephew Turf Tizzle has one of the most distinctive vocal deliveries in recent memory, and on this Rick Rock-produced banger, he kills it with lines like It's gonna be hard to compete, man/A lot of rappers need to step up their street game/My set is Valley-joe/but I spend a lot of time in the O, while the track's epic slump reaches seismic proportions. If you need a reason to upgrade your car stereo, look no further.
The Federation: "My Rims"
Speaking of summertime cruising anthems produced by Rick Rock, this one has it all a smooth beat (borrowed from '80s New Jack Swing crooner Al B. Sure!), lyrics dedicated to Cali car culture, and a tasty hook: Even in the rain of shine/I'm still scrapin'. Scrape on, my people, scrape on.
Twisted Black: "Coldest Summer Ever"
We just love storytelling raps, and Twisted Black (repping Detroit and Fort Worth) serves up a dramatic novella about a falling-out between rival drug dealers over an ominous background. It's like a book on tape, with beats: Pretty fell for the bait/and Tricia eased up on his shit with the grace of a snake.
The Soul of John Black: "Deez Blues"
It's time to change up the pace, so we're going to Los Angeles for some slide guitar and falsetto crooning by ex-Fishbone member John Bigham, aka the Soul of John Black. Here we'll shake off any lingering effects of the lonely winter and the spring thaw: Oh, Mr. Blues, won't you leave me alone?
Blind Lemon Jefferson: "Black Snake Moan"
Damn, that one felt so nice, we'll stay in the blue zone with an acoustic classic from The Rough Guide to the Blues. Who needs Christina Ricci and Samuel L. Jackson when you've got Blind Lemon wondering, Mmmm-hmm, what's the matter now?
Galactic featuring Ladybug Mecca and Nino Moschella: "Squarebiz"
N'awlins-based funksters Galactic strike paydirt with this sexy, down-tempo tune featuring that most Digable of Planets, Ladybug Mecca, accompanied by singer Nino Moschella. The groove is huge, the lyrics nice: Relative aspect/you could square dance to it, Mecca purrs with feline grace.
Jay Mitchell: "Goombay Bump"
Now that our mood is nice and chilled, it's time to get funky and tropical, with a track from Cult Cargo: Grand Bahama Goombay, a sublime collection of soulful '70s island grooves. All that's needed is Mitchell's invitation: Bayyy-bay, come funk with me.
Los Tainos: "Amor Mia"
By now, we're sipping Cuba Libres in shorts and sandals, so some music from the compilation Si, Para Usted: The Funky Beats of Revolutionary Cuba seems quite appropriate. Percussive, crazy, and passionate Afro-Cuban funk with killer, unique arrangements? Pour another, por favor.
Richie Spice: "Grooving My Girl"
We're having so much fun in the Caribbean, we're gonna stay there for a minute. Jamaica's Richie Spice is known for his righteous Rasta anthems, but on this smooth track from his In the Streets to Africa, he gives us an irresistible one fe de ladies dem. I can see your love light shine so bright, he says. In other words, summertime romance is on!
Akon: "Mama Africa"
Traveling onward to Senegal, we'll keep the reggae groove flowing with this easy-skankin' album cut from the author of "Smack That" and "Don't Matter." Subtle dubby treatments weave through like warm breezes as Akon celebrates the motherland. The land is so gold and green/the place is so fresh and clean.
Ozomatli: "Can't Stop"
Back in Los Angeles, we shake off jet lag while Ozo's uptempo jam keeps the party shaking with a positive message, syncopated rhythms, and electric power chords from Don't Mess with the Dragon, its latest album. No more sad song singing the blues, we keep it moving.
Keenan Webster and Balafo featuring Azeem: "Here Come the Drums"
All good things must come to an end, and what could be more fitting than a traditional African jam celebrating the iconic percussion instrument with spoken vocals by our favorite local poetic emcee Azeem: Listen ... it's all in the drums.
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