Concrete Jazz, a new concrete but jazz mixtape for that Blast Podcast.
There are certain mixtapes and podcasts that are expressive representations, like frescoes, of a historical period. Often just personal, of course, but sometimes these mixes end up illustrating a period of the music you are listening to. This mix here narrates a phase of my more than two decades long love story with the faboulous and sometimes wearying Hip Hop music, and it’s deeply linked to the indelible experience I was doing back then (when this mix was originally created) as a radio speaker and selecta.
Years before our friend FFiume arrived on Netil, on the frequencies of a small provincial radio station, the Concrete Jungle crew was subverting the average italian hip hop-themed radio airplay by making sophisticated and powerful sessions, cool but without pretentiousness.
We were literally diggin’ for new music, trying week after week to unearth gems from all over the world, music never heard before, new names, different sounds, styles over styles that no other radio program, at least in that third world of rap that is Italy, could ever have aired.
It’s amazing how important radios have been for the history of this music. So much so that it would be worth writing a book on it, if someone has not already done so.
Let’s just think about The Stretch Armstrong and Bobbito Show on Columbia University’s WKCR, a show of paramount importance for a certain type of underground imagery. But also to the fact that important experiences such as the Solesides collective, which later became Quannum, would never have existed if they hadn’t met via the radio station of the University of California, KDVS.
Although here in Italy there has never been that capillary infrastructure of university radios, nevertheless the experience at Radio Concrete Jungle has definitely influenced and expanded my (and hopefully many others’) taste as a listener. The proof is this mix, literally imbued with jazzy-flavored hip hop. These jazzy fragrances seems to me the ideal soundtrack to face the second summer still under the clutches of this never-ending pandemic, while hopin’ for a better Autumn.
In short, I personally made the selection, whilst JR Mastro The Junglist, one of my brothers from the Concrete Jungle crew, sealed the mix on the turntables. Everything came quite easy, as I wrote to my man Stromberg Tha Host back then…
(…) this podcast was born last summer. Basically, it represents a certain point in my life as a listener, for a variety of reasons. I have compiled a series of traces with a more or less marked jazzy edge, from all over the world: Russia, America, Japan, England, all equally distributed to represent this sound over the last 10/15 years. Selected by me, mixed by Jr. Mastro, a little warmth for the cold winter days to SB listeners. – TwoMave
And you couldn’t do better than that. Those winter days are now hot summer days, but the music of that period, looking in retrospect, remains to this day a great example of good hip hop. Those short years of “revival”, circa 2013-2015, have left behind beautifully crafted music, which is worth rediscovering now.
So, here we are. Concrete Jazz, a mixtape gem for lovers of hypnotic head-nod, adult boom-bap, and of the “strange” accents of those who do so well with English, but not necessarily as well as Method Man (in fact, listening to it again, I am almost surprised at how much British hip hop we were listening to at that time).
Tracklist of the mix included down here. As someone was saying back then, “highly recommended by the whole editorial staff”. A 40% Concrete, 60% Jazz mixtape. What are you doing, don’t you press play?
Concrete Jazz Mixtape – The Blast Podcast #121
01) Mass Appeal – Strangers of Necessity feat. Cosmic Lloyd
02) Just When The Sun Is… – In-Sist
03) Dead Calm – Peebs The Prophet
04) In The Frame – Abakus & Aokid
05) Broken Line – KSE
06) Know About It – Black Josh & Pete Cannon
07) Funtrude – Himuki
08) Maintain – Grooveman Spot aka Dj Kou-G feat. O.C.
09) Renaissance – All Natural feat. Lone Catalysts
10) Pizza Pizza – Bugseed