June 8, 2010

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Design by Fresh of 33 Jones

The debut of Summer Jamz is right around the corner, with Jonathan Bradley scouring the globe to wrangle every warm-blooded writer to ensure that you have something to listen to during the sun season. In the interim, Zilla Rocca has compiled his outstanding Fade To Blonde Mix, featuring everyone from Tracey Lee to T. Rex, Flying Lotus to Franz Ferdinand. In recent months, the hyperbole surrounding Zilla has been considerably muted in these parts, mainly because you guys get the point. But I highly recommend his Broken Clocks EP, which never got a formal review and is stellar — the Daylight EP to The Slow Twilight’s Labor Days.

In related news and because my never-ending onslaught of deadlines means diffuseness, I’m also posting Alex Luduvico’s Winning/Losing mixtape. Curated by Douglas Martin (who despite regularly contributing, steadfastly refuses to ask me to write about his music), Ludovico is empirical evidence that I’m capable of liking rappers who wear tighter jeans than Jean Grae.  Like many of his slim-waisted peers, the 23-year old born Kyle Hargrove reveals an emotional vulnerability that will connect with fans of Cudi and Drake. Yet his sensibilities are infinitely darker, with suicidal thoughts ominously hovering over every bar. These aren’t the caterwaulings of a callow kid, these are fully formed existential dilemmas–the age-old concern of whether it’s better to kill yourself if your dreams are revealed to be fictions.

Since emerging in 2007 under the name Ill Eagle, Ludovico/Hargove has improved markedly as an MC, figuring out how to harness the oft-unhinged potential of his wild yawp vocals and evolving into something resembling Danny Brown’s morose younger brother. In a rap landscape saturated with high-priced publicists forcing flavors of the month down your throat (honestly, who the fuck is Donnis?), Ludovico’s only asset is his ability. Raised in Gary, Indiana, he boasts the same unvarnished honesty as Freddie Gibbs, despite sharing few thematic similarities — see “1:11 a.m,” where he not only spins an elegiac narrative of growing up in abusive household, but admits to listening to Limp Bizkit at 13. Admittedly, the concept of rapping over Dilla beats is stale — and there are more than a few here — but Ludovico transcends that trope. This is winning.

Tracklist and Zilla’s intro to his mix below the jump.

Download:
ZIP: Zilla Rocca – “Fade to Blonde: A Summer Mix”
ZIP: Alex Ludovico – “Winning/Losing” (Left-Click)

It’s not always shady staircases and broken ashtrays around here, you know?

This is the first piece of soloist music I’ve dropped since the top of 2009 (*cough Bring Me the REMIX of Zilla Rocca*) that wasn’t all Shadowboxy. While I prep some coming videos for Shadowboxers and polish off a remix project I’ve been chipping away at like an anorexic working on a DQ Blizzard, I wanted to share this with you. This mix was dwindled to an hour and twelve minutes from a massive 9 hour mix that soundtracked a recent BBQ party here at the Lizard Lounge in Philadelphia.

First, let me be honest: I’m no DJ. I’m not even an ill corner pub iPod deejay. But I have been compiling mixtapes since the 90 minute Maxells with the handwritten tracklisting in pen (that always got smudged by my fat ass balled up palms). And I have editing software, so yeah….why not have fun with my vast library and keep the party rocking for all types of crowds? Hence, Fade to Blonde: A Summer Mix. As we plan on having many many many more parties this summer, you might be getting more of these puppies even if you can’t bring a pack of kosher dogs and a case of PBR’s to the party.

1. The Theme – Tracey Lee
2. Live Alone – Franz Ferdinand
3. Brew Barrymore – Diplo
4. Drop – The Pharcyde
5. Little Green Bag – George Baker Selection
6. Clap Hands – Beck
7. Nobody Beats the Biz – Biz Markie
8. Intervales Theme – Javelin
9. The Sun – Ghostface f/ Raekwon, Slick Rick, the RZA
10. Massage Situation – Flying Lotus
11. Yusef – Caribou
12. Try Again – Aaliyah
13. Take Your Mama – Scissor Sisters
14. Int’l Players Anthem – UGK f/ Outkast
15. One Track Mind – Mayer Hawthorne
16. Pretty Young Thing (Demo) (U-Tern Edit) – Michael Jackson
17. Bang a Gong – T.Rex
18. Son of a Preacher Man – Dusty Springfield
19. So Ghetto – Jay-Z
20. How High Remix – Method Man & Redman
21. Steady as She Goes (Acoustic version) – The Raconteurs
22. Naughty Girl (DJ Topsin Remix) – Beyonce
23. Throw Some D’s – Rich Boy f/ Polow Da Don
24. Danke Shoen – Wayne Newton