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Rap Finesse

It's not about what you say, but how you say it

There are two types of music people. Ones who care about the lyrics and ones who care about the sound. Ya, you can be for both, but you’re also for one. I’m about the sound. Even with rap, it’s not so much about what they say, but how they say it.

I was listening to a Del a few years back and in one of his tracks I always thought he was saying “phonetical finesse.” Turns out he wasn’t, but those two words since have summed up what I love so much about hip-hop: wordplay.

Rap Finesse is a special playlist because a lot of the artists on here (towards the bottom) are the reason I started caring about underground, independent, and locally-known music. There wouldn’t be a Silence Nogood without ’em.

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Majestic collected

Curating Majestic Casual's almost 2,000 songs

What I respect so much about Majestic Casual is their focus on curation. Unlike editorial outlets like Pitchfork, it’s not about music news or witty reviews. It’s about finding what’s next in music.

Never before have I gone through another curator’s full catalog. It took about 10 days to go through all 1,932 tracks (and counting) on Majestic Casual’s YouTube channel and another week to whittle it down to 130 selected. Mind you, I only spent a minute or so on each track initially, which still comes out to over 32 hours of listening. Not including the hours it took to refine them down.

I was shooting to playlist less than 6% of their total catalog but ended up with just under 7%. And it wasn’t easy. I never realized how many tracks Majestic put on my radar over the years. Not to mention the ones I swiped up in the last few weeks, which are about 44% of this list. They promote a variety of music styles and are going beyond simply curating music.

Majestic is going on tour in the US over the next few weeks – I’ll be at the SF show. They’ve released a print and online journal. They’ve got merch, a record label, and are doing more with video and photography. There is one thing though they need help with.

It’s not just about promoting music partnerships. Uploads and even closer relationships Majestic has with artists are the bedrock from which they’ve become so successful – something we lack – but shouldn’t be the entire game. There is so much more good music out there that fits Majestic’s aesthetic and deserves to be in their collection, uploaded or not.

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Four on the Floor

Dance with some soul

I love and hate house music most. With anything taken mainstream, we’re all bombarded with bloodsuckers making a buck off of it, but beneath all that is an underground of creators making something fresh. My favorite, like all other things in life, is with soul.

And even in this soulful house playlist, there are many different styles. From horizontal disco to deep house, there are so many shades of sexuality, and it’s only gettin better.

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Late Night

When you wanna relax

Not only do I listen to music actively more than passively, but it’s usually for a purpose. I constantly think about how the song playing fits in with the rest of the music I collect. And how I conceptualize it as a whole.

I’ve created about a half dozen playlists for relaxing. They’re all primarily beat-driven, but I think they’re even more jazz inspired. Quite a few people have taken issue with me classifying these playlists as jazz, but I hear the inspiration more than ever.

I’d go as far to say many jazz legends would appreciate it, if not be actively involved in creating this beat culture if they were here today. The variance and experimentation these beats makers play around with deserves respect.

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Loose Control

The grooviest dance party

I love to dance, but rarely do so at live shows. If any of these tracks are playing though, it’s a different story. Loose Control is the collection of music I love to dance to most. At least contemporarily speaking.

Most of this list is funk-inspired, but we’ve got the best in all of dance here: disco, house, electro, and hip hop. Anything that grooves. And Anderson .Paak and Kaytranada groove most. They’re over-represented here. I just can’t help myself.

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