Welcome to the Cosmo Baker Top Ten List Version 2.0! In the past I’ve always had a monthly list of ten records that I wanted to “chart” and share with my folks. These kind of run the line from older stuff that I’ve discovered to brand new stuff that I feel needs to get some shine. It’s usually a mix of different sounds that encapsulate where I’m coming from as a DJ. I profile a lot of music on my site, but these ten records are the “official” joints pretty much.
It used to be that I listed the records and then had them downloadable as individual MP3s. But after being inspired by my homeboy DJ Fashen, I decided that I was going to start to present the Top Ten in a monthly mix that could be downloadable in it’s entirety. Couple different reasons – first of which being that it switches the emphasis and brings me as a DJ into the equation. I don’t plan on making these mixes super involved or anything, just a solid presentation of the songs. The second was that I get a lot of early and exclusive shit and in the format of a mix, I’m actually able to share this with you guys.
So here it is – Cosmo Baker’s Top Ten Mix for January 2011. It starts off with the late great Lady T and then goes into overdrive of just some joints that I’m really feeling, both new and old. Hope you enjoy it!
*Edit: My cousin who is don dada of all this web shit is in Paris right now for the holliday, so when he gets back we’ll sort out a way to bring together the sidebar Top Ten jawn with this. Excelsior!
So far I have survived the holiday season and the blizzard. It took us nearly 4 hours to drive back to Manhattan from Philly yesterday, and we stopped counting car accidents that we saw on the road after we reached 30. Now I am comfortably nestled in my birds nest overlooking a city blanketed by haze and white. I don’t think cabin fever has set in yet but nonetheless this is a good enough time to write. I was going to post this yesterday but it was preempted by the news of Teena Marie passing. You can check my thoughts on that here.
Anyway, it was a successful and fun time with my family this weekend, all of whom I love very much. I went over to my big sister and her partner’s house with wifey, mom, my little sister and brother (who recently returned “back to the world” after spending 7 years in Japan) for our Annual Jewish Lesbian Anarchist X-Mas Brunch. Great times, great food, boardgames (and yo, I still say “ET” is completely playable in Scrabble) and the like. We never go overboard on giving gifts, but I always like to make a custom mix CD for each member of my family. On one of the CDs that I made this year (I think it was for my little sister) I put on the PHENOMENAL Maurice Fulton remix of “Love Endeavor” by Alice Smith AKA one of the greatest songs of all time.
I’m absolutely in love with Ms. Smith. Aside from her being my secret crush, she’s one of the most amazing vocalists I’ve heard in the past several years. She’s got an incredible vocal range and control. Her album “For Lovers, Dreamers & Me” is fantastic, and not just because of the not so subtle Muppets reference (although that doesn’t hurt!) Her material kind of falls in the chanteuse Norah Jones / Corinne Bailey Rae category of Starbucks music, except that it’s really good – edgy and not innocuous like a lot of the artists that share that world with her. It’s very much a “modern New York” soundtrack to me I guess.
When BBE picked House music legend Maurice Fulton to remix this record, I don’t think they realized what they were out for. We’re they going to get the guy who helped create Crystal Water’s “100% Pure Love?” Were they going to get the guy who was empbraced by the hipster world and returned that love in kind with his scorching remix of The Rapture’s “House Of Jealous Lovers?”
The genius of dude kind of never allows him to stay restricted to any written set of rules when constructing a song. And nowhere is that more evident to me than his re-imagining of Love Endeavor. I’ve tried to classify this song in my iTunes for so long now – I have it as “House” now but that’s just so I don’t get any more confused. At 112 BPM it surely isn’t house. It’s more like some sort of modern space astral traveling whimsy-boogie. Whatever the hell it is, it moves me both inside and out like not many other songs I’ve heard in my life. This shit just moves, and sends my mind on a fucking trip. I can listen to this song on constant repeat for the rest of my life. Like Ron Isley said, “A good combination…”
So if you do feel the way that I feel about you,
C’mon and share this crush with me,
Oh baby this love endeavor,
Don’t have to last forever,
C’mon and share whatever you want with me…
I wrote this thing like 3 times and then trashed it, just trying to figure out the right way of putting it. I’m not really good at this type of thing – eulogizing people I guess – and it’s also still kinda fresh up in the mix. But Teena Marie left the planet today. She’s one of my most favorite R&B singers of all time. But to actually just refer to her as just an R&B singer really doesn’t do her justice. Through the string of pop hits and chart dominance of her time, it’s often overlooked that she was one of the finest female singer / songwriters of a generation. And I don’t know… I know there’s always a lot of talk about her being a “white girl with a black voice” and, while I know what they’re saying but also in a sense I think that marginalizes things. It wasn’t a “white voice” or a “black voice” it was HER voice. Truly unique, and absolutely brilliant. And her voice rang out for so much more than just music, but also for the rights for artists to do what they do naturally – to create and to be not hindered by label politics. Her internal conflict with her label Motown helped lay the framework for what is called The Brockert Initiative (after her born name, Mary Christine Brockert) which makes it illegal for a record company to keep an artist under contract without releasing new material for that artist, helping not just her deal but many more after the fact. She was a gifted singer, songwriter, producer, and multi-instrumentalist. She also was a strong independent woman who made strides in having control and independence over her career at a time when that was tough for any artist, not to mention for a female artist.
I told a friend lately that for 2011, I resolve myself to be able to say more with less. So I think I will start tonight, and instead of speaking about the woman, allow her to speak to all of us through her work. RIP Teena Marie.
Son Of Bazerk’s 1990 debut album “Bazerk Bazerk Bazerk” is without question one of my top ten all-time rap LPs. Like seriously. Shit is so funky and together, and was completely unique when it came out. Listening to it today, it still sounds fresh and not dated at all. But even more so, that shit was so far ahead of it’s time. Shit was like some futuristic James Brown Review as interpreted by The Bomb Squad funneled through a hesher’s perception of what Kingston is like, I dunno man. The only other dude in my entire life that I knew felt the same as me about it was this dude, but we can’t really judge normalcy by his taste, can we? I know the sacred cow that is “Nation Of Millions…” is considered the pinnacle of Bomb Squad production, but truth be told this album is not that far behind in my mind. Yeah, you can start to send the hate mail now, I can take it. And all these rappers these days talking about “swagger” – man, Bazerk and them fucking invented that shit on this album, know that. I can honestly say that this album changed my life. It came and smacked me over the head like a truncheon, and while I was seeing stars the group disappeared into nothingness. So imagine my surprise when, out of fucking nowhere, Son Of Bazerk comes back out with a brand new – and fucking HOT – jam. With the help of the one and only DJ Johnny Juice (whom I plan to talk about another time) behind them they dropped the smacking “I Swear On A Stack Of Old Hits” and after 19 years, finally are gracing the world with their incredible sound again. Peep game below, because this is really how it should be done.
So my man Jesse Serwer hit me up recently and told me that he’s doing a show with Son Of Bazerk, and I figured I would hip everyone to it. It’s tomorrow night at Knitting Factory Brooklyn and trust me, I will be in the house getting the fuck down. Oh yeah, and also rounding out the bill is the one and only Leaders Of The New School, Grandaddy I.U. and Sugar Bear. Pretty much adolescent Cosmo’s dream rap show. And while we’re at it, peep some great articles and interviews about the group here, here, here, here, here, & here. Saying, I guess I wasn’t alone. (PS: Mom I’m sorry I’ll stop cursing so much on my site, but I’m really fucking excited about this one right here!)
Thursday, December 23rd, 2010
Son Of Bazerk, L.O.N.S., Grandaddy I.U., Sugar Bear, Sputnik Brown & More
Edit: Okay so I came back to do a little editing of this post, and figured that I would up some WMDs for the fine folks out there that read this. Also, even though I’m straight gushing over the prospect of seeing S.O.B. play tonight, in no way does that lessen how much I love the other artists. I mean, Leaders Of The New School… are you fucking KIDDING? I remember the first time I saw those dudes at the very end of In Living Color – real heads know what I’m talking about. So, in honor of tonight’s “REAL NINETIES” (and I don’t mean that backpack nineties, you know what I mean…) here’s some JAMS. (Yeah I know Sugar Bear is eighties but I don’t care.) PEACE!
DJ Stuart "Re-Work V2"
Wet "All The Ways" (Branchez Remix)
De La Soul "Beautiful Night"
With You "Ghost" feat. Vince Staples (Major Lazer Remix)
Tall Black Guy "The Heart Of The Town"
KRNE "I'll Be Good"
Drake "With You" Feat. PARTYNEXTDOOR
Christopher Cross "Ride Like The Wind" (Joey Negro Dub Disco Mix)
BAKERS DOZEN BONUS
Club Cheval "Discipline"
Mura Masa "What If I Go"
Kate Bush "Why Should I Love You?"