The People’s Playlist: Week 1
By Matt Edelhart
Disclaimer: We are a week or two behind, depending on perspective. But don’t be upset, because you just now realized this exists, so you’d be angry to have been missing something that you just now learned about. CHILL.
With summer complete, “Winter” has come and gone. Fall has arrived. Vices have evaporated with the summer sun. Sure, there will always be the season-less vices: caffeine, alcohol, pointing out problems you don’t have solutions for, flexing your wokeness, and … meth. Those will always be here. A lot of the seasonal traditions don’t apply to newer generations.
In the fall, a lot of us get left behind. Where do we get to relieve stress? People over 50 get MLB playoffs. People who eat at Chipotle get to pair that with pumpkin spiced lattes (I’m not using your pseudo sophisticated acronym. I’m not a fool.)
And people who are definitely not racist get the NFL, FOR 17 WEEKS (not including playoffs, which is another 6).
But what do we get?
Well, I would be more than glad to answer my own question. While people watch a product that has star players injured every week, and their team owner’s forcing public financing for new quarter full stadiums; we deserve something that can get us through these 17 weeks. Each week we will release the People’s Playlist. Playlists will range from a certain theme of songs to just what we’re feeling.
This is what we deserve: Music. I’ve met like 4 people who don’t like music, and I guarantee they are huge NFL fans. My guarantees are no way reflective of any mathematical results or further research.
WE ARE HERE TO TAKE BACK THE FALL!
week one: GOODIE BAG
The first playlist is a mixed bag. It’s like those goodie bags you’d get at your friend’s birthday in elementary school, but instead of action figures and stale bubblegum; it’s pop songs, southern rap, r&b hitters, and stuff we’re liking right now. So grab a ring pop and cheers to “week one”
I tend to get a stutter when I get excited. So, we are going to call this song the Pro-Prologue. This song transports you to whatever strange long hallway it was recorded in. I’m a huge fan of unintelligible lyrics, and it doesn’t get much better than this. The drum kick attached to a harp like string sample takes you somewhere between nightmare and splendid dream.
Pairs gr8 with: Manic Depression
Not only a great intro to an album, “Foreword” is a great intro to Tyler the Person. It’s no coincidence that Tyler’s best album to date is his most personal. The song’s opening pace reminds me of a turn signal flashing. He’s signaling towards more classics like this.
Pairs gr8 with: Coming out parties
The forgotten flute track from FUTURE, Future plays the Trap Pied Piper telling folk stories about his time in the trap. “Feds Did a Sweep” is definitely a slow jam but the subject matter is unique. DJ Esco is Future’s best hit partner, and does a great job setting up Future to do what he does best.
Pairs gr8 with: RON BURGUNDY
Sing-rapping is in its golden age. This can lead to a lot of saturation and also a lot of artists being overlooked. Earthgang and Mick Jenkins are such artists. They team up on this funky track which hits the sweet spot of everyone involved.
Pairs gr8 with: drowning
I’m really not sure we have seen all of the tools in Young Thug’s toolbox. Doing his best Grace Slick impression, he shows how he can try new things, and it works. He’s best the appropriator in rap. Sorry, Drake.
Pairs gr8 with: white rabbit
My favorite new rap collective album is my favorite non Kendrick Lamar thing to come out in 2017. BROCKHAMPTON is the evolution of Odd Future and the Pack. With the energy of modern hip hop and cohesion of the Wu-Tang Clan, this group will continue to create fun songs like “Queer” for a long time.
Pairs gr8 with: RUKUS!
Believe it or not, the biggest tragedy of JJ Abram’s Star Trek reboot wasn’t narrative dissidence. It was that we didn’t get a “Beam em up Scotty” dance sequence with this song. I would’ve taken promotional material too. It didn’t need to necessarily be in the film. An inter-cosmic Star Trek dance is what we needed in 2008 and maybe need now more than ever.
Pairs gr8 with: the sweaty walls of your local community center
Although I speak english exclusively and love Jorja Smith’s verse, the español version of this song is superior. Kali’s lyrics flow great with the bright instrumental. She definitely gives off Selena vibrations. Not to mention Dominican Quavo, Fuego, has a verse that really contrasts well with her singing.
Pairs gr8 with: CUMBIA(R.I.P.)
Nas’ dip into mainstream mid-2000s hip hop was short lived but had a few highlights. ‘Oochie wally’ is def in my top 5 of music onomatopoeia’s right next to Rent’s ‘moo’ in “Over the Moon”. (9/14/17 HBD, Nas!)
Pairs gr8 with: Henny and a Tall Boy
A pop-hop love ballad that could have easily been featured on The Love Below. Kelis and Three Stacks are great at writing cool refrains. Both work off each other’s rhythmn fantastically. ‘Green Light’ before ‘Green Light’, this song is one of the better ones of the mid-2000’s.
Pairs gr8 with: Peanut Butta’ Milkshake
My favorite song of his new album “At What Cost” has a lot of things that work together well. Jazmine Sullivan’s super rhythmic hook works super well with Kaytranada’s funky producing. You can tell Goldlink is really rapping to the beat and it fits “LIIIIIIIKE UHHH GLOOOOVE!” I really like good songs.
Pairs gr8 with: Pet Detectives
I think the hip hop music scene in Houston has been consistent for a long time. The producer taking cues from native predecessors gives this song a great instrumental. The rapping is fine, but the instrumental is one I’d like to see other artists try.
Pairs gr8 with: A DONATION TO THOSE AFFECTED IN THE DEVASTATING FLOOD IN HOUSTON. WE NEED TO BE THERE FOR OUR FELLOW AMERICANS. Charities like: https://www.bakerripley.org/
I really just love Nina Simone, Godmother of Hip Hop. Kanye owes a large part of his career to her samples. Nina’s voice is one of the great instruments in American music. With a composition by the great Duke Ellington, this is the Curry/Durant pairing of classic jazz.
Pairs gr8 with: Everything
I think it’s smart of Ludacris to let Jeremih finish his verse for him. No one can talk to girls like Jeremih. Past his prime, Ludacris has a decent verse. This feels like an extension of “Birthday Sex”, which is not a problem. I will always attribute great high school memories with Jeremih.
Pairs gr8 with: BDAY SEX, duh
I’m not hard to please. Rappers really try to do too much without realizing they’re a Keanu Reeves reference away from stealing my heart. Pusha, I’m a lifer. Oh yeah, also, classic Pharrell hook and producing has been the recipe for success for a very long time. “Gangsta Lean” is another reminder that Pharrell is a vampire that will not age, nor cease to be relevant.
Pairs gr8 with: being happy
Yes, yes, yes this is a D.R.A.M. ripoff just like “Hotline Bling”. Yes, I believe there should be creative integrity in music. But, my ears don’t lie. “Hotline Bling” and “Ice Melts” are my favorite songs of each of Drake’s last two albums, respectively. I will continue listening to D.R.A.M. and Drake, and I will not feel bad about it.
Pairs gr8 with: a bucket for the water that was ice
If David Lynch ever recorded a dance song, it would sound a lot like “E.V.P.”. Has vibrations of many great artists: Lenny Kravitz, Frank Zappa, Prince, MGMT, and Talking Heads to name a few. A non-sequitur of a song feels like its own separate entity like a David Lynch film.
Pairs gr8 with: vodka soda
“Just Kickin’ It” feels like a parody of 90s R’n’B. I’m not sure what happens around the 2:30 mark, but I can forgive it on account of how fun and chill this song is. I feel nostalgia even though I first heard this song no more than 18 months ago.
Pairs gr8 with: Tender Loving Care
I like a lot of aesthetics, but my favorite might be 80’s disco. These songs are so much fun and “Touch Me” is the most. I feel sexy listening to it, and so do you. It’s dominated my Spotify listening the last month, and all night long.
Pairs gr8 with: your senses
I love Joao but the the primary reason this song is on this list is because I have a challenge. This is directed at Atlanta. We need this sample in our lives. How would Lil Uzi sound with this sample? What about our favorite appropriator, Thugger? It doesn’t matter who, but it matters that it happens soon.
Pairs gr8 with: Pao de Quiejo
A Tribe Called Quest released an album last year that captured a lot of the notes that worked when they were at their peak. It was great to hear Phife one last time. “Whateva will be” is a “Marauders” B-side, but that’s nothing to scoff at. Only Tribe could come back twenty years later and still do their thing. Not quite a ‘Conseque-sance’, but his verse is strong.
Pairs gr8 with: showing up to your festival when you’re a headliner
Some of Pharrell Williams’ best singing, but the star is his production. Four years after “Gangsta Lean”, Pharrell is sharp as ever. Pharrell and Kanye team up at the peak of their powers to create a classic. The sound of this song carries onto Kanye’s album the next year, “Graduation”. It’s no coincidence that Kanye shot off into the pop stratosphere shortly after.
Pairs gr8 with: any plant really
A song that didn’t attract me until months after my initial listen, “Attention” has the Weeknd working with one of my favorite collaborators, Cashmere Cat. I could honestly see someone like Selena Gomez or Demi Lovato singing this song, but it wouldn’t bring the Weeknd’s signature welcomed sadness and vulnerability.
Pairs gr8 with: a horoscope
Upon first listen, “Dark Red”, sounded strangely familiar. I’m not sure if it was because I’ve heard something like it before, or that it sounded like something I have been wanting to here. Steve Lacy is originally from Los Angeles supergroup ‘The Interenet.’ With lead singer, Syd the Kyd, starting her solo career: Lacy seems to be next up.
Pairs gr8 with: white
The ‘playlist PED’ herself, Erykah Badu. “Cleva” has a fantastic mix of great (was not about to say ‘cleva’) writing and a funky Roy Ayers’ instrumental. If I was going to make an RnB PB&J, these are the ingredients I’d use.
Pairs gr8 with: 9-grain whole wheat
Witchdoctor (an underrated rapper of an underrated collective, Dungeon Family) really makes a southern classic on ‘Serengetti’. I believe that this is rap inception. Just round it out with a verse from an awesome verse from Cee-Lo Green about existential questions we are afraid to ask. I wish this song was as a popular as any of the Young Jeezy hits.
Pairs gr8 with: vodoo
Prince Paul is for the people. ‘Prince Among Thieves’ is his baby and he treats it as such. Many highlights on this album, “More Than U Know” keeps Prince Paul and guests De La Soul in their comfort zones. This whole album is a must listen, and Prince Paul needs a deep dive.
Pairs gr8 with: orange soda
Only Outkast could make me look up the origins of the phrase “your goose is cooked.” Its beginnings dated back to a 14th century Czech priest who was burned for his religious beliefs like A GOOSE. My research included reading the first Quora post on my google search, but I’m convinced. Patented Big Boi rapping and air tight production makes this one of the most overlooked songs in Outkast’s catalog.
Pairs gr8 with: Pinot Gris
A song with Big Sean and Playboy Carti is one of the most unique songs I’ve heard in 2017. Just file that in my ‘WE’RE LIVING IN A SIMULATION’ folder. No, but seriously A$AP Rocky and Big Sean are finishing eachother’s sentences. They’re not supposed to be Run DMC. Oh, yeah this beat is nasty. Yams would be proud.
Pairs gr8 with: greek life
Kool Keith’s lyrics are never more untouchable than on this track. Dr. Ocatgon is fully erect on this one. “Sex Style! N****s want it free. They dogs drink my piss!” He says it over a dozen times. He’d be so confused if I ever brought up giving a fuck. The concept does not compute!
Pairs gr8 with: gold showers
If there was a 400 lb plus rapper Mount Rushmore, Big Moe is grabbing my third spot. I really think he might have been more popular in today’s singing rap climate. It’s a shame we didn’t ever get a star-studded collab with him. Thankfully, he has great songs like “City of Syrup” as we wait to meet him in syrup heaven.
Pairs gr8 with: SPRITE!
Kelela makes me feel like she is narrating my life even if none of what she is saying is relating to my actions. She slots right behind unanimous #1 pick for life narrator, Morgan Freeman. When everyone is looking at SZA (she’s very, very good), I’m keeping an eye on Kelela.
Pairs gr8 with: studio grade speakers
Yeah, McDonald’s i’m calling you out! You have a soundtrack to the best thing you offer, and you just turn your head the other direction. That’s fine. It’s your loss. I know Wendy’s won’t fuck this up, and their nuggets are better anyway. Perfect reason to re-boot the spicy nugget. You’re welcome McDonald’s and Wendy’s marketing teams.
Pairs gr8 with: sweet n sour
A mainstay of SBTRKT hits, Sampha is one of my favorite new voices of the last couple years. It was satisfying to see his new album see positive reactions. He can achieve great success with his own songs like “Timmy’s Prayer,” or in a featured role. He gets you to stop in your tracks and listen, which is not as easy as it used to be.
Pairs gr8 with: SBTRKT
My favorite Travis $cott song. When this album first came out, I did my usual blasting it before giving it a solid listen. I didn’t like how he sounded like Kid Cudi and Kanye: a very silly thought to run with because I’m a huge fan of both. I let the dust settle and heard his second album and enjoyed it. Re-listened to ‘Rodeo’ and liked it even more than the second album. Lesson is don’t be weird like me, just listen to what you like. Worry about silly unimportant factors later (or never). If I ever did a show, this would be the song in the opening credits.
Pairs gr8 with: Tori Spelling