Sunday, December 12, 2010

In the mix: DJ Eskimo & Roctakon

I love music. and I love DJing too. What I don't really love is that everyone thinks they are a DJ nowadays and that mad people flood the market with fancy-looking "mixtapes" and other projects. But, as in anything, the cream always rises to the top.

I've uploaded a few of my own mixes here in the past, and I stand by them. I've also shined a light on some cats whose music and craft I admire. I figure, as much music as I listen to, maybe I should be doing this more often. So, what I'm here to do today is to share with you a couple mixes that have resonated with me in recent years.

First up, a mix CD that really stands out in my mind as a message, from my man DJ Eskimo..."The Pulpit." There's tracks on here I still don't know what or who they are, but I love it. I'm not even that hard-pressed to figure out who the artists are or what the songs are called, because the manner in which this is presented is what makes it proper that we call this cat a true DJ. The mixing, the selection, the pace and the notch. The one part of this mix that folks ALWAYS seem to mention when I hear them talk about it is Eskimo's Sade blend...which, for the record, is ridiculous.

You can check out "The Pulpit" in its entirety over here and be sure to check Eskimo's site too -; but while you're here, to whet your appetite just a little bit, here's a rip of that Sade blend...please, I repeat, PLEASE! leave some feedback on this stuff. Let me know if I'm alone and/or wrong for loving this stuff.

Sade - War of the Hearts (DJ Eskimo blend)

Another DJ who I've become familiar with in my time in DC is Roctakon. He doesn't live here anymore, but I first heard of he and his crew The Goonies and The Trooperz crew back around 99/2000 when they were hosting Open Table events and bringing cats like P-Trix to town to showcase. It was dope to see big-named DJs like P-Trix do their thing, but to be honest, some of the talent here in DC have reached some pretty high heights as well...and I still look to these cats as some of the best I've ever heard.

Anyways, I've heard a couple edits that Roctakon has done over the years, though I'd not heard a mix of his before. So, when he dropped this "Finding Directions" mix not too long ago, I felt compelled to pick it up. I used to love scratching, trying to be a battle DJ and all that...and I still love rocking parties and blending, etc......"Finding Directions" is definitely geared more towards the dancefloor than anything...but there's more to it than just playing records. As Turntable Lab describes it: "this is all about disco, house and techno...but even I was taken back by how hardcore it is." True indeed. So, while it may take a couple listens to fully grasp all that's going on in this mix, I'll venture to say that it's damn near timeless.

Below is an excerpt from "Finding Directions" so you can get a sample of what it is and how much this cat puts into his craft. Also, check the CD cover for some words on what he was going for:

Roctakon - Finding Directions snippetPhotobucket

Friday, November 19, 2010

Set It OFF!!!

I remember when I was in high school getting a Dilated Peoples "The Platform" maxi-cassette single, with the remixes and maybe another song or two on it. Same program on both sides. I burned that joint all summer long in my tape deck. I recall taking lunch break from the bank where I was working and just marveling at the cuts that Babu ripped on those tracks, just in dumbfounded that a DJ could make a record sound like that. To this day, I'm not sure I know exactly how he does it or if I'd even believe it if I saw it in person. As a Beat Junkie fan, I try to keep an ear out for what Babu and crew are up to, and so it was cool to see this recent reminder that the apple never falls far from the tree:


Seeing that post jogged my memory back a few years when I checked out Peanut Butter Wolf here in DC and grabbed a copy of the Stones Throw tour promo CD. Long story short, there's some ill music on this CD. I played this bit (below) a few times on my show on XM back when, and I love what it embodies. It's all in the family...check my man Oh No, Aloe Blacc, and the junior jedi himself, Babu's son Niko ripping the mic & telling tales of a youngster living life in California...CHECK THE RHYME!!!

Zombie Playoffs tour CD excerpt (Stones Throw, 2007)

Niko & DJ Babu - "Now You Know"
"...I got more to do, walkin not crawlin, eatin solid food,
Dad in the studio AND ON TOUR! mom workin at the bank TRYING TO GET MUCH MORE!
As for me: I was rollin' up, no more baby bottles, I WAS DRINKIN A CUP!
Potty-trained, well-dressed, LEARNED TO BRUSH MY TEETH! After this chorus I'll tell ya about Year 3!!!"


Speaking of brushing your teeth, keep 'em clean folks! A Public Service Announcement:

And speaking of family...check the Mochilla / Beat Junkie / Xecutioners homage to Grandmaster Roc Raida...Roc's daughter NYRaida even gets in the mix!!

The Sounds of VTech / Roc Raida Tribute Final   

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Since Stevie Wonder.. (R.I.P. Roc Raida)

When the 1-Year Anniversary of Michael Jackson's passing happened a little while back, it sort of caught me by surprise...not like I keep track of these things or anything, but it just felt like time flew by in the past year. The impact of Michael Jackson is surely hard to describe, but needless to say he changed the game in a major way.

I've heard many folks describe Roc Raida's influence on DJs and turntablism similarly. Dude was truly an innovator and someone who pushed things forward in his time. It's been a year since Grandmaster Roc Raida passed, and in that time I've read the thoughts of many other DJs who were inspired by and had the opportunity to meet Raida over the years. I too have been inspired and influenced by Raida, but I really think pretty much all DJs were who came up in the 80s, 90s and even the new generation. The X-Men were just superstars in my mind. I remember copping the X-Men videos with tons of live footage from Fat Beats in NY and at Raida's and Rob Swift's cribs, etc. They were just incredible! And then to be able to see them live and get to meet and speak with Raida and the guys at a show? It doesn't get much better... Soo dope! Dude was extremely humble and just willing to listen and talk with you like he really cared to be a part of the conversation. That says a lot about who he was.

Anyways, I love the X-Men and what they mean to DJing...and I got to speak with Raida a couple times in my life, the last of which was early in 2009 when he was on the road with Busta Rhymes and Spliff Star and they came thru the XM studios here in DC. I was watching Busta and Spliff perform in our studio, and I noticed from afar, a DJ that looked familiar in back of them...rockin a BIG L t-shirt...sure enough, the one & only Roc Raida! This made perfect sense to me (and I told him it after the show when I spoke with him,) for him to be working with Busta...I've seen Busta on-stage before, and this cat is a MONSTER!!! Busta and Spliff put on a DOPE SHOW, no to see one of hip-hop's all-time greatest DJs working with them for their live show was a match made in heaven in my mind. In speaking with Raida, he was very gracious, humble, and always open to talk.

Below I've posted a bit that shows how funny Raida and the longtime homie Lord Sear are. If you're not familiar with the WHAT FM GONG SHOW, you're about to get familiar...Roc Raida was a genius, an incredibly funny man and also an ill DJ...and so much more. Enjoy this...and if you're not up on Raida's history and what he meant to the game, do a little searching, because there's plenty of stuff online that showcases how great he was...


Roc Raida - WHAT FM Gong Show

Put the guns up, word up word up...

Shout out to Lil Pookie, Thug Doug, Stack Chedda, Roland the Home Studio, Smoke Low, Lord Sear and of course the one and only GM Roc Raida...RIP!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Snoop a loop

Recently I came upon the website of my man Knocksquared aka Doug Lazy aka my former co-worker at XM and an all-around good dude...and dope artist and producer!

Through working with him I learned of his back catalog as a musician, most notably "Let It Roll" and some of the other jams from his "Gettin' Crazy" album from the early 90s. I guess the term hip-house is used most often to describe this style, and in my opinion, there's not a ton of hip-house tracks that stand the test of time (maybe I'm wrong??) but the BDK-sampling "Let It Roll" definitely does. Peep the instrumental here if you're not already familiar...

Doug Lazy - Let It Roll instrumental

Anyway, my real reason for posting today was to share some more recent stuff with's not a brand new track that's hitting on radio right now or anything...but much like all good music with staying power, this should reside in your crates going forward. Similar to what you hear in "Let It Roll" and other cuts he's done, this remix from Knock has such great style...drum programming, keys, Youtube porn (haha) it's all so fresh...I've not heard a ton of Snoop remixes, or maybe I've just not heard a lot that are worth remembering at all. But what my man Knock does on this is great...I think the Doggfather would courtesy of Speaker City which is slashing prices on everything from beepers to DVD players, give a warm welcome to my pal, and your favorite...Mr. Snoop Dogg!!!

Snoop - Sensual Seduction (Knocks YouTube Porno remix)

There's more downloads over at his site too:

Finally, this past year I got my hands on some old 12" singles, including some of Snoop's earliest material from Death Row. To my surprise, there are some dope remixes and freestyles on the old Death Row 12's. Here's one off the "Nuthin But A G Thang" single...freestyle featuring the Dogg Pound doing what they do...Daz, Kurupt, Snoop.

Dr. Dre - Nuthin But A G Thang freestyle w/ Snoop, Kurupt & Daz

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Spirits High

Meant to share this a loooong while ago...but here it is, the message and the music still hold true:

One of the groups that I became aware of by hosting Pitch Control each week quickly became a favorite of mine and I wanted to take a moment to share a little bit from them..out of Utrecht, Holland: C-Mon & Kypski. These guys are on some other isht. Hip-hop, electronic, bollywood, you name it, there are so many different styles and sounds present in what they do. And believe me when I say it, these cats can rock a party. From what I understand, they are quite popular in their native Holland, and their US fanbase is certainly growing.

The guys have a record out now (2010) called "We Are Square" and they'll be in the US (NY, Boston, PA) in the coming months. Check their site for details and keep in touch with them via Twitter.

If you're not familiar with their music and you wanna check these cats out, of course you could go to their sites (and I encourage you to do so,) but what purpose would I be serving if all I did was point you elsewhere??, peep what I've got for ya here...a little exclusive bit from Pitch Control back when it used to air on XM 80 The Move (RIP.)

C-Mon & Kypski on Pitch Control (January 20, 2007)

1. XM80 The Move  (this is how it should be done!!! Big ups to Drew)
2. C-Mon & Kypski - Spirits High feat. Benjamin Herman
3. C-Mon & Kypski - Under the Influence mix snippet

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Play It Loud

Beats By The Pound built their name producing for the No Limit camp years ago, or at least that's how I came to know of them. More recently, BBTP member KLC appeared on the radar with a solo record through Koch (remember them?) that I got my hands on (one of the perks of working in radio) and brought home on the strength of the name because it struck my memory. Long story short, I really like what this cat came with on this particular 12 inch and I want you to know that my dude has some serious sounds. This is some New Orleans raw......................these guys changed the production that shit loud

KLC - Play It Loud instrumental

KLC - Holla At Me feat. Mystikal, Calicoe & BG

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

February - from me (someone else really) to you...

Emailer: "Yo Mike, where've u been?"

Me: "Maintainin..."

In your face to be the bottleneck & filter that I am...I'm like the Joel McHale of this progressive hip-hop, electronic, indie, other music sh*!...I do it all for yoU!!

Anyway, wanted to showcase some of the fantastic music I've been cranking ("Rotations") and some of the intriguing bits I've come across on the web ("Props Over Here") in these past weeks.

Rotations (February 2010)
La Roux - Bulletproof (Eccy remix) (via Laurent @ Rhythm Incursions)
X.O. - Hands Up (via DJ Eurok @ Upset the Setup)
Goapele - Milk & Honey (AYBEE's Gorilla Trunk Slap mix) (via Goapele)

Props Over Here (February 2010)
"A Little Discography Lesson..." (via Kev Brown)
"Big Pun Dedication" (via Dirty Waters)
"Mixtape: Bounce for Relief Vol. 2" (via Noz @ Blunt Rapps)

Thursday, February 4, 2010


A couple few years ago (it was Thanksgiving just a little over 2 years ago actually) my homie Gavin asked me to put together a mix for his show on XM where we were both working at the hosting Pitch Control and he hosting In-DEED. Good times for sure.

Anyway, since I was digging deep for music all the time for my weekly show, I definitely had some tricks up my sleeve and I opted to put together a live mini-mix to demonstrate a little bit of what my show was all about, but as well, to put my own personal DJing touch on it since my role on Pitch Control was moreso selector than actual DJing DJ. Soooo, with my recently-purchased Serato setup, I pressed record and set it off like this...


Wondermike - In-DEED mix
1. Netik - Synthesiz
2. GB - The Black Monolith feat. Ricci Rucker
3. Lorn - Another Mistake
4. Justin Timberlake
5. 2tall & Lamont
6. DJ Alibi - Guns of Kabul

It took me a few times thru to record it straight live, but I like the way it turned out. And who else is rocking Lorn next to Justin Timberlake like that too by the way?!?!? But let me know what you think...maybe I'm a little high on myself.

Do check out some of these cats' respective catalogs. I picked each of these tunes for a reason...Netik is a sick DJ...GB has a beautiful sound...Lorn is crazy with his (though I haven't heard anything lately from him?)...2tall is certainly a favorite of longstanding...and my dude Alibi is yet another talent from north of the border who is if nothing else consistent (but I'll add, also a great talent.)

P.S. one of the staple programs of satellite radio, and some friends of mine, Subsoniq were just recently pulled from the airwaves after 7-8 years of running things in terms of progressive and dope Hip-Hop music. Check them out and speak up to the powers that be...the world needs radio like Subsoniq!!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Cut Chemist on Pitch Control

I had a lot of fun hosting Pitch Control on XM for the few years or so that I got to do it, and one of the best things about the whole deal was getting to meet some of my favorite DJs, producers, etc. It's been more than a year since I stopped hosting the show, but I wanted to share some of the highlights from the archives since this stuff is fairly timeless (at least, in my opinion!) One experience that was real dope was when Cut Chemist came thru town on tour to support his debut solo record 'The Audience's Listening' a couple years back. Going into our meeting, most of what I knew of Cut was through his work with J5, but as a DJ, I was up to speed on some of the other stuff he's done as well. All that aside, I can't begin to say how cool of a cat he is and how enjoyable it was to speak with a dude who loves music as much as he does. We spoke for more than an hour, but for broadcast I had to trim it down a bit, and below is what resulted...

Pitch Control with Cut Chemist (from 01-27-08)

"Intro / Timbaland on dust…the dopest duo ever…"
Cut Chemist - Storm feat. Lif and Edan
"Virtuoso in rhythm instruments…everything's extreme, the bad and the good…"
Cut Chemist - The Garden
"I hated it, anything but that…so organic but mathematical at the same time"
Ozomatli - Eva
"Big ups to B+ man…"
Keepintime - Live suite
"Still some of the most talented people I've worked with..."
Jurassic 5 - Jayou
"He was equally influenced by Lesson 6…"
Cut Chemist - Spat
Kid Koala - Stompin' at le Sevoi
"An exhilarating feeling…Private Press was so him, and this is good too"
DJ Shadow - This Time (I'm Gonna Try It My Way)
DJ Shadow - Building Steam with A Grain of Salt
"I haven't felt this positive about music I don't think since the 80's"
Gorillaz - Dirty Harry
"Outro / It only gets weirder from here…"

(more setlists and Pitch Control ish at

Shout out to the homie Cut Chemist for being such a great guest, not to mention such an inspiration and amazing talent. Peace man!

Also, gotta shout out the dude Nocturnal Ron, whose instrumental albums I always used to raid for music beds for Pitch Control!!! Whattup Ron!