SoundTrax: Headphones On, World Off

The weather over the last few days has been marked by an overcast, chilly gloom, and after being teased by summer so frequently I feel like my taste in music may have switched seasons a bit too early. I find myself constantly drawn to warm, sample-heavy hip hop”a sound that’s quite removed from the over-synthesized, over-produced, dance-hop populating the airwaves currently, and more inline with the vinyl crackle infused genre of the ’90s (heck, a couple of these songs actually come from the ’90s). The lyrical content places more of a focus on conveying a story rather than shocking the listener with clever one liners (ahem…Drake). In the words of Masta Ace… “this is how hip hop is supposed to sound”. So find your best pair of cans and switch the outside world off for a little bit.

SoundTrax: Headphones On, World Off from OurStage on 8tracks.

Masta Ace starts us off with a flow that borders on laziness, but intertwines perfectly with the sultry, sticky vocal sample. The Blue Scholars follow up with a feel good tune highlighted by an upright bass line, intricate acoustic guitar work and a catchy hook you’ll be chanting long after the song ends. OurStage artist Doujah Raze provides some healthy social commentary on our obsession with altering physical appearance, and Philadelphia Slick continue the trend by questioning our connection to technology. The full band sound, and obvious funk/soul influence make this one of my favorite tracks of the week. Next up, The late Guru, and the great DJ Premier show us why the ’90s will always be a golden age for this style before Qwel & Kip Killagin bring the energy back down with slippery strings and intentionally loose rhythmic accuracy. Macklemore is one of the best story-tellers from the modern generation of alternative MCs, and Ryan Lewis creates the perfect, head noddingly-hypnotic texture of piano stabs and horn licks as the back drop. Lupe Fiasco and Jill Scott close out this week’s playlist. Hope you enjoyed it!