Towards the end of 2012, my dear friend / Larry Levan worshiping / Tom Of Finland loving lady killing / sartorially revolutionary Elliot Aronow AKA Jacques The Ripper, the man behind Jacques Elliott, asked me to dig deep into my sexiness and come up with a list of SEX / MAKE OUT JAMS to share with the people. Obviously that’s second nature to me - LL Cool Cos is about his business, and this man’s business is to make the ladies swoon hahah. But for real, I put together just a little playlist that we called “Smash Hits” that’s not your everyday cliched smooth R&B nonsense. Understand that this list of tunes right here is your definitive go-to list for when you want to kick it up a notch with that special lady or ladies. Or if you want to not get locked in the friend zone. This list is about keeping your options open. This list is not an instruction manual… But an experience. And with that, we present to you, “Smash Hits”
Shout out to me and Jacques, here backstage at The Paradise Garage, circa 1984. Yeah, we gets it in…
Serge Gainsbourg “L’Hotel Particulier” – Any list of this caliber wouldn’t be complete without Serge, and this ode to late night smash-fests in Rococo-styled rooms is sure to make any woman’s knees turn to crème fouetté. Even if she only wished she knew French, the message is loud and clear. That hot pop star that you think is so cool? Serge is where he got his swag from – so get on that level.
The Isley Brothers “Voyage To Atlantis” – Make no mistake: Ernie Isley is a genius. But it’s not just his shredding that makes this song a certified pantie-dropper. An ode to what was and what might have been is guaranteed to make that partner of yours let it all hang out. Isley Brothers is true baby-making music and this is the brothers at the top of their game.
Caetano Veloso “Cucurrucucú Paloma” – The Brazilian Bob Dylan recorded this version for Pedro Almodovar’s “Hable con Ella” and I don’t know about you but this just kind of oozes sex from the speaker. Just ask the people that I’ve played it for… There’s so much to be said in what’s NOT said, especially if it’s said in a language that you don’t understand.
Teddy Pendergrass “Come Go With Me” – The power of Teddy P can be perfectly illustrated in how his ability to sell out “women’s only” concerts. Trust me, kids… You were probably conceived to this very song. Soul music with a capital S, this song is direct and to the point. Come over to my place so we can smash. Any questions? I think not.
Jodeci “Feenin’” – Some might conjure up memories of slow dragging in high school basement parties with this one. But Jodeci was able to take the traditions of classic soul music and translate it to the hip-hop generation. Their sound has aged like a fine wine, and is still guaranteed to get the ladies open for business.
Rhye “Open” – I could have put the entire “Woman” album on this list but I opted for the opener, aptly entitled “Open.” The lush sound, masterfully crafted songwriting and production and Mike Milosh’s falsetto conjure up the sexy sounds of early 80s Sade. It’s an early contender for album of the year in my opinion.
Jeff Buckey “Lover, You Should Have Come Over” – Giving it up to Jeff, RIP… The tragic Crown Prince of the mid 90s NYC indie singer-songwriter scene met an early demise in 1997. But his music posthumously lives on, with its tender and frank and ultimately sexy tunes about love and desire, perfectly captured in this beautiful ballad.
Robin Thicke “Lost Without U” – Who would have thought Alan Thicke’s baby boy would have been able to get the ladies open in the way that he does? This is the sound of mature love making for our generation. Smooth and aggressive at the same time, a perfect combo in a song to get lost under the covers with that certain someone.
Prince “If I Was Your Girlfriend” – Could I have made this list without Prince? The answer is no. And whereas it is nearly impossible to narrow a selection to just one, I chose this song from his “Sign O The Times” opus. A mid-tempo groove of a song that has an interesting take on gender reversal, Prince’s falsetto lulls you into a false sense of security and vulnerability, but never relinquishes the powerful masculinity behind it. (NOTE: Prince pulls all his music from YouTube so the closest I could get was this pretty cool Esperanza Spalding version – but go out and find the OG.)
Jai Paul “Jasmine (Demo)” – Between this song and “Bitsu” mister Paul is batting 1.000 to me. I can run these songs back to back and like Colt 45 it works every time. There’s a definite falsetto theme running in this list, and this is no exception. Combined with his 21st Century Post Dilla-esque style production, this is an ill love jam for NOW.
Massive Attack “Teardrop” – This sublime tune may be standing on the verge of being infinitely played out in hotel lobbies and while shopping at The Gap, but the song don’t lie. With the ethereal vocals of Cocteau Twin’s chanteuse Elizabeth Fraser, this tune floats higher above in another plane, and is quite possibly (probably) about her love (and loss) of her one time partner Jeff Buckley.
Friendly Fires “Paris (Aeroplane Remix)” – The impeccable Aeroplane transformed this uptempo electro-pop smash into the sublime electro-smash pop where the synths sound like what love looks like in my dreams. A beautiful ode to irrefutable connection and escapism, this version was reimagined by Aeroplane, with the assistance of Brooklyn’s own Au Revoir Simone taking on the vocal remix duties – bringing in a wonderful counter of femininity.
The-Dream “Fancy” – Terius Nash knows what he’s doing, and with “Fancy” he conjured up visions of spending those sweet mornings where you make such sweet love with your woman that you wanna take her out shopping and spend all your money afterwards. Nash kind of took the formula of 80s R&B and updated it through his unapologetic hyper-masculine 2000 filter. I really never thought that putting a dent in your bank account could sound so sexy.
D’Angelo “Lady” – My generation’s Marvin, Sam, Teddy, the voice of sexy R&B for so many of us, and while I could have easily gone to “Untitled” it’s “Lady” that really speaks to me with a bump and rhythm that seems to fit rocking the night away so well. Fuck a neo-soul label – this is timeless soul music for the ages, as D sings his heart away about his one and only, declaring his pride in his love for the entire world to witness.
Ohio Players “Never Had A Dream” – Okay, I just want to spend three days in bed with my baby and listen to nothing but Ohio Players. The only time we get out of bed is to flip the vinyl to the other side… Seriously though, is there anything wrong with that? Give it a try sometime and you’ll see that I’m not.
We move into autumn with the latest Cosmo Baker’s Top Ten Mix – #18 to be exact. Over 60 minutes of the latest and my favorite sexy dance jams of the moment. And this is special because this is the second to last Top Ten Mix because #20 will be part of a brand new and exciting series, as we team up with a very special partner. So play, download, share, dance to, and most of all, enjoy, cause as always… this one’s for you!
Cosmo Baker’s Top Ten Mix #18
Goldroom “Embrace (Cyclist Remix)”
Justin Timberlake “Take Back The Night (Pat Lok “Day X Nite” Remix)”
Le Youth “C O O L (ColeCo Remix)”
Nora En Pure “Come With Me (DBMM Remix)”
Gigamesh “Don’t Stop (Version 2.0)”
Dillon Francis “Without You feat. Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs (Original Mix)”
Avec “Disappearer feat. Jake Shears (People Get Real Remix)”
The Magician “When The Night Is Over (Extended Club)”
Newbie Nerdz & Moonwalk “This Is You (Giom Remix)”
Bondax “Baby I Got That (Justin Martin Endless Summer Remix)”
BAKERS DOZEN BONUS
Little Boots “Satellite (Lindstrøm Remix)”
Jean Claude Gavri “Les Dance (Jean Claude Gavri Club Cut)”
Mayer Hawthorne “Her Favorite Song (Oliver Remix)”
Sup y’all… Back again with another installment of the Top Ten mix. This time I have some of my favorite dance tunes out right now, including some exclusive joints from some friends of mine. Anyway, click it, like it, share it, comment on it, download it, repost it, share it, but most of all, rock out to it and have fun. I hope you enjoy it!
Cosmo Baker’s Top Ten Mix 17
Sharon Redd “Can U (LNTG Rework)”
Box Of Wolves & Christa Vi “Boy (Cyclist reMix)”
Para One “Every Little Thing feat. Irfane & Teki Latex (Plastic Plates Remix)”
Monte “You Should Know (Original Mix)”
Peter & The Magician “On My Brain (Original)”
Mark Knight “Your Love (Original Club Mix)”
Disclosure “Confess To Me feat. Jessie Ware”
Todd Terje “Strandbar (Samba Version)”
Newbie Nerdz & Moonwalk “This Is You (Giom Remix)”
Boe & Zak “Loop For Love”
Baker’s Dozen Bonus
Boys Noize “Starwin”
Armand Van Helden “U Don’t Know Me feat. Duane Harden (Doorly Boom Boom Room Remix)”
Ponderosa Twins “Bound”
I’ve been a skateboarder all my life starting from way back in the 80s, and was deeply involved with it for a long time, along with my family (my mom opened Philadelphia’s first “real” skateboard shop back in 1985, “Spike’s Skates” and owned it for about 6 years afterwards.) Needless to say, these were formative years to me, and being a skateboarder was a natural thing for me. Time passes, and things change. I became more interested in girls and graffiti than skateboarding. Years passed and a car accident made it so that I’d probably never skate again. But once it’s in your blood you never shake it. To this day, I’ll see rails and lines and ledges and instinctively see the run in my mind like it’s second nature. That’s because I guess it is.
My friends in Finland, Helsinki Hookup, had me over last year to DJ for their annual pro skateboarding contest and it was amazing. Not too long afterwards, knowing my skating lineage / pedigree, the asked me to write an article for their magazine which would consist of a list of anything skate related that I wanted. So I decided to list my Top Ten Favorite Old-School Skate Decks – most of which I owned and skated at one point. Then I decided to list me Top Ten Favorite Old-School Philly Skate Spots, giving my Finnish friends the bonus. Here’s the article but obviously it’s in Finnish so most of you can’t read it, but it’s transcribed below. Thanks and I hope you enjoy this – Skate of Die!
Growing up as an 80s baby in Philadelphia, the Holy Trinity of cultural influences for me are easily graffiti, rap music, and skateboarding. I humbly admit that I have quite a rich pedigree when it comes to the skateboard world. Being a skater since I was a little kid, in 1985, my mom opened up what was the first strictly skateboarding store of its kind on the East Coast of The USA. It was named Spikes Skates and quickly became the epicenter of the entire skating community of Philly. I had the privilege of meeting some of the top skaters in the world at that time, as well as being part of a skate community that help define modern day street skating as we know it. I am not going to lie – I kind of sucked at skating, even though it was a passion pure of heart. But skating made me the man that I am today. Of my era, here are my top ten favorite decks (for various reasons, from the “rideability” to the artwork) as well as my top ten favorite Philly skate spots. Let’s get OLD SCHOOL, baby…
Cosmo Baker’s Top Ten Favorite Skateboard Decks
#10 Powell Peralta Original Sword & Skull: My first REAL board having graduated from riding a Variflex, this board was a great yet simple board to ride. And the VCJ artwork was so killer, and created the template for Powell Peralta. This board is attributed to OG Ray “Bones” Rodriguez, but the original designs were no-name.
#9 JFA Deck: At 11” X 32”, this thing was like riding an aircraft carrier. Pussy ass Williamsburg long-board riding punks need to get on this level. Perfect for cruising down the street.
#8 Skull Skates Christian Hosoi Hammerhead: Steve Olson’s Skull Skates was bad-ass, and Hosoi was as bad-ass as they come at that time too. So when they linked up, and then they released his deck, it was the most anticipated of the time. It was definitely a defining moment.
#7 Santa Cruz Rob Roskopp III: The third in the series, this one was where the artwork really showed the monster really breaking out from behind the target. I always thought this series was so dope, and quite iconic.
#6 Vision Mark Gonzales: There wasn’t any other skater that had as much style as Gonz, or who arguably influenced as many. Everyone had one of these at least once.
#5 G&S Neil Blender Coffee Cup: This board had artwork that Neil did himself, and it was a departure from what everyone else was doing at the time, much like Neil’s skating. Dude was a true original, and this board was so much fun to ride.
#4 Zorlac John Gibson: Another monster deck, this John Gibson joint had the crazy Pushead artwork, much like the rest of the Zorlac line.
#3 Santa Monica Airlines Natas Kaupas: Natas kind of came out of the blue when we first saw him on videos, and everyone became an instant fan. The release of his first deck on SMA was kind of a big deal.
#2 Powell Peralta Guerrero Roses: Truthfully my final Powell Peralta pick was between this and the Steve Steadham deck. But while the art on Steadham’s is incredibly boss, there are not too many people that had an impact on our skating like Tommy, and his board was designed perfectly for street skating. I always preferred the understated roses design than the more popular sword & flames one.
#1 Alva Fred Smith Jr. Punk Size: Possibly my favorite board of all time, it’s the first board that I knew of that was the perfect size between a regular sized deck and a freestyle deck. So much fun to shred on this, I rode a Fred Smith for years.
Honorable Mentions: Powell Peralta Per Welinder Freestyle, Santa Cruz Jeff Grosso Toy Box, Madrid Mike Smith Concave, Sure Grip International Tony Magnusson, and the Powell Peralta Steve Steadham Ace Of Spades.
Cosmo Baker’s Top Ten Favorite Old-School Philly Skate Spots
#10 FDR Park: The spot is legendary and still going strong. The most complete skating experience in Philadelphia, hands down.
#9 The Sundial: Down on the river at Penn’s landing, this sundial had small, steep banks but its 360 degree design was tons of fun.
#8 The Afro American Museum Banks: These cool statues outside of the museum were great to ride but security would be quick to chase you away.
#7 The Hershey Banks: Right on Broad Street outside The Hershey Hotel, these were some of my favorite – and most ridable – banks in the city. It’s also the first spot that I ever saw the powers-that-be put metal coping on the banks to keep skaters from shredding the spot.
#6 The Party House on Rodman Street: Everyone lived on Rodman Street at least once, or at the very least, they knew someone who lived there. It was basically 2 blocks of houses where kids lived and partied. I can’t remember whose house it was, but some skaters built a half pipe in their backyard. It was the only one in the city.
#5 The King Of Prussia Dustbowl: You needed a car to get here or else it would have been higher on my list. But this was a system of dry reservoirs that were sick and went on for a long distance. No other spot like it in the area, but only a few people knew of it.
#4 McShred: This parking lot in West Philly had a great dip and curb where the asphalt had caved in. So much fun, Philly’s own McRad made a song about it! After skating through the city all day, this usually was the final destination.
#3 City Hall Concourse: The concourse underneath City Hall was miles of smooth riding with some great – but tricky – banks. The best thing though was that it was underground so you could skate there rain or shine, but it did get pretty shaky down there with thugs and criminals.
#2 Passyunk Avenue Outside Spikes Skates: Every day, we would pull out the various launch ramps and quarter pipes that were built specifically for us, and we would own the street all day long.
#1 Love Park: Duh… Long Live Love Park.