Every summer Dj Jazzy Jeff and Mick Boogie drop a mixtape of summertime favorites. The original from 2010 is currently on repeat at my house, so I thought I’d share some memories from the classics in the mix.
Oh, so many gems here! I guarantee your mind will drift to summers past if you give it a listen.
Check out the full mix on mixcloud here.
Summer Madness :: Kool & The Gang
To be totally honest, I didn’t really know about this song until Dj Jazzy Jeff and Fresh Prince sampled it in 91. By that point, I was already obsessed with the idea of sampling and went digging for the original after my Dad clued me in to the source. Luckily, he had it in his collection, so I didn’t have to dig far. The original is off “Light of Worlds”, which was Kool & the Gang’s 5th studio album. It’s a funky jazzy album that was considered their most sophisticated work, and Summer Madness is the standout.
Summer in the City :: Quincy Jones
Is it possible to hear this song and not think of Passin Me By from the Pharcyde?
Not for me.
Bizarre Ride II the Pharcyde dropped in 92, and one of my hoodlum boyfriends passed the cassette on to me. I wore that out, then bought the vinyl and the CD. The CD disappeared years ago, but that scratched up 12” is still in the collection. Growing up in New Mexico, we were definitely surrounded by west coast gangster rap, so when I discovered Tribe, De La, Pharcyde it was a revelation.
Everybody Loves the Sunshine :: Roy Ayers
I mean, come on. I must have 10 different house/dance versions of this record. And don’t even get me started on all the hip hop samples. But, of all of them out there, Mary J is still my favorite. My Life has the core of the original, but adds Mary’s soul and depth. “Life can be only what you make it. When you're feelin down. You should never fake it.” Yes, girl.
Was it really released in 1994? Damn, I’m old.
High on Sunshine :: The Commodores
This one has been sampled a ton as well, most notably by De La Soul on Stakes is High. But this track just reminds me of Sundays. Most oldies stations do some kind of Cruising to the Oldies Sunday Jams show, and I always loved all the cruising jams. In Las Cruces NM, people actually cruise low riders down the main drag… but I was mostly listening on my walkman as I rode a bike or walked the dog. Please check out the New Mexico Low Riders Facebook page if you need proof of how serio this shit is.
Sunshine, oldies and sundays will always go together in my mind.
Turn on Some Music :: Marvin Gaye
"I'll go crazy/ If something ever happened to my musical thrill/ And darling your love is just like my music"
Marvin Gaye’s voice has this weird ability to make me simultaneously happy and sad. I think the sadness really comes from his early demise and thinking about all the music he could have made. But the happiness certainly wins every time.
This mix busts out my favorite MG samples - Erick Sermon from 2001.
The track was part of the soundtrack of “What’s the Worst that Could Happen?” starring Martin Lawrence and Danny Devito. I admit I never saw it, but… somehow I’m dubious. Watching that movie might be the worst that could happen. On the plus side, this was Erick Sermon’s biggest hit and made it to #22 on the charts.
Nautilus :: Bob James
Legend has it that this is the most sampled track in hip hop history. Not sure how to verify it, but, off the top of my head I’ve got: Children’s Story by Slick Rick, Daytona 500 from Ghostface Killah, Follow the Leader by Eric B. & Rakim, and the list goes on. The selection in this mix is actually a straight cover by Nuyorican Soul from 96 and it’s a beauty. Minor updates and a few housey inflections keep it true to the original, but updated.
OK, I could go on and on, but just listen to the mix and see where it takes you!