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Before the record industry collapsed in 2005-2006, I used to be able to find enough dope shit to make mixtapes on a monthly basis. Nowadays, it takes me 10 years to find enough stuff to make a mixtape! I’ve been scouring the internet for new rap music ever since the mid-90’s, but over the last 10 years, it has become increasingly harder and harder for me to find anything that I actually like.
My homie J-Beez has tried to keep me up-to-date on the latest and greatest in today’s rap music. Granted, I end up hating 99% of what he plays for me, but every once and awhile he’ll give me something that I actually like! Some of those songs appear in “While You Were Sleeping” (e.g., Chuuwee & Abstract Ninja, Cookin’ Soul & MC Melodee, Skipp Whitman, Homeboy Sandman, Willie Evans Jr., Run The Jewels, Blu & Chop, Paten Locke, Lushlife, etc.). So I gotta say thanks to J-Beez for the dope tracks, for trying to keep me relevant, and for never giving up on me!
When I stumbled upon the Jazz Spastiks in 2015-2016, a light bulb went off in my head. I began to think of their beats and cuts’n’scratches as a way for me to “connect the dots”… to piece together a mix of all of the newer rap stuff that I’ve been liking.
For the most part, this mix is a long “beat tape” with a couple of rap songs thrown in for good measure. 90% of the songs were made within the last 10 years.
The other 10% of the songs are from 2001-2006. Two rap songs are from 1995, but they weren’t actually unearthed/released until 2014 and 2016 respectively, so I’m giving myself a pass on those two songs. Another rap song is from 1988, but it’s an acapella-blend that I made in 2013 (inspired partly by a DJ Day edit that I heard).
One thing that I intentionally did was make sure to include newer songs from both new and old artists.
I also wanted to make sure the female voice was being heard and represented. I also wanted music from other countries (e.g., England, Japan, Germany, Poland, Netherlands, etc.). And I wanted the styles of rap to vary. I didn’t want all smooth, jazzy stuff… I also wanted to have that ol’ hardcore shit on there to act as a counterweight and balance everything out.
And just like I did in my old “Hip Hop Junkies” mixtapes, I also needed to include songs from Michigan artists that I’ve been feelin’ over the last couple of years.
This mix is long. Crazy stupid long. It makes no sense for anyone to do a mix this long. I mean, who is gonna bother listening to it? But fuck it. I made it anyway. I made it so that I could have something to listen to when I get my exercise on.
As soon as it starts getting warm enough to be outside, I’m on my bicycle. And on the weekends, I always try to squeeze in a 50-60 mile ride on a nearby rail trail… which equates to a lot of good, quality “music listening” time. So I intentionally made a long mix to keep my butt on the bike and peddling for 4+ hours.
To the casual listener, I understand how this mix can be intimidating. It’s exhausting–even to me–just thinking about listening to it. If given a 30 minute mix, and a 4 hour mix… most people would probably take the 30 minute mix. A 30 minute mix is more digestible. It’s less of a commitment. And who’s got 4 hours for anything anymore? But I’m hoping that you’ll give “While You Were Sleeping” a try.
There’s a lot of stuff on this mix that you probably haven’t heard before… hence the name “While You Were Sleeping”. 100+ instrumental beats. 50+ rap songs.
And hey, look, you don’t have to listen to this whole thing in one sitting, either. You can listen to a little bit here and there. Pause it. Go do your thing. Come back. Pick up where you left off. Go to sleep. Listen to it some more the next day. Or play it while you’re at work. Or in between classes.
So yeah, enjoy with enjoy! Let me know what you think of the mix. Leave a comment below. Or if you have any questions about the songs in the mix, use the comments section and ask away! Feel free to share it with friends on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc.