I recently went back into my boxes of hip-hop to find stuff to flip. This is the second round of purges (after the big one in 2012) and I was surprised at how many I still found to sell the second time around (70+). Peep them here.


Mile High by Soul-Sides.Com/O. Wang on Mixcloud

Originally created for the Underground Railroad show but literally assembled on a plane (hence the title). Mostly recent arrivals but a few classics mixed in. The Zeke Strong is for HHH and his newborn son and “Fire Eater” is dedicated to the memory of Matthew Africa.

Peep the playlist at Mixcrate.


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Timmy Thomas: In the Beginning (Glades, 1972, Why Can’t We Live Together?

The infectious success of Drake’s “Hotline Bling” (memes and all) is one of those semi-annual reminders that Timmy Thomas’s “Why Can’t We Live Together” exists.1 You can’t call Thomas’s 1972 single “obscure” by any means; it was a huge hit for him at the time and it’s been liberally sampled and covered over those years but still, we haven’t seen Thomas’s work get this kind of shine in years.

The Glades issue of “Why Can’t We” (picked up for redistribution after Thomas’s initial release on the smaller Konduko label) is one of those great cheapies that find their way into everyone’s collection but I was lax in messing with Thomas’s full-length album that came out after the single blew up. I finally just picked it up at Noz’s new store in Oakland, Park Blvd Records. Therefore, file this under “really late pass” but the Why Can’t We Live Together? album is fantastic.

For one – and I could be totally wrong about this – but I’d imagine it’s the first major release that uses a drum machine on every track. Thomas was almost certainly following Sly Stone’s lead with There’s a Riot Goin’ On – like Stone, Thomas used the Maestro Rhythm King – but Stone didn’t hook the machine on every song. Nor did Shuggie Otis, who also busted out a MRK on the Inspiration/Information album.

EDIT: So…as it turns out, I was very wrong. A reader alerted me to the fact that Thomas wasn’t using a Rhythm King but rather, a Lowrey organ with percussion presets. I confirmed that with Dave Tompkins, who’s spoken with Thomas.

Does Thomas need to plop MRK drum presets on every song? This is what makes the album so fascinating…in some cases, you can make a solid musical argument that the drum machine detracts from a few of the songs because its unmistakably mechanical sound and tempo contrasts against the otherwise “natural” feel of Thomas’s voice and style. However, this entire album is already incredibly lo-fi in sound. The mix is raw, the instrumentation is hella basic, there’s barely any arrangement. Throwing a primitive drum machine in there only accentuates the whole rather than undermining it.

You could pluck any song off the album to hear this but I like “In the Beginning,” partially because of those crashing sound effects only adds to how “basement lab” everything sounds. That said, at some point, I definitely have to open a mixtape with the hypnotic drone of “The Coldest Days of My Life.”

  1. My dude Dave Tompkins wrote a fantastic piece about Thomas and the song for NPR.org.


Wednesday Does The James Brown

Wednesday does the James Brown. I blame Nora and Shazia for this…

Posted by BRAT Productions on Monday, July 27, 2015


These are really well done (and a flip on an old Soulstrut gag.)