If you’ve enjoyed the Netflix docu-series Hip-Hop Evolution, allow me the opportunity to sell you on electronica. As corporate personality tests and my rabbit hole internet behaviors would agree, I enjoy filling my brain with a bunch of broad and specific information with the dream that one day I will connect it in a really cool and useful way. Today’s one of those days and you, lucky reader, are the object of my persuasion.
Hip-hop and electronica share a common ancestry, and I’d argue that their divergent fruits were the result of nuanced and complex differences in terroir and circumstance. Even micro-climates within the same city, like Detroit or Chicago, gave us techno and Eminem, house music and Kanye. That being said, diversity gets us all closer, and that’s why you’ll sometimes see electronica artists and DJs send a surprise love letter to hip-hop. It’s the stuff of gasps and heart-flutters.
It’s been twenty years since I first tuned into ASOT on a 56K connection in a computer lab and discovered the potential for the internet to connect people in radically authentic ways. Despite growing up in SoCal during the 90s, I’ve actually never liked hip-hop until I had my first daughter (a qualifying event for lots of changes). Since then, other shoes have dropped, like me, a righteous chamber music snob, getting into jazz.
So without further ado, let me sell you on one of my longstanding muses, Radio 1’s Essential Mix. Massive Attack did a mix in 1994, and like straight-cut lobs and dark lipstick, it’s aged well. They, like Portishead and other trip-hop legends from across the pond, have the niche ability to take the intersection of scary and lazy and turn it into sexy. But in this they don’t show off their robots or make you feel a sense of impending doom. Nope, as you guessed it, it’s hip-hop, and after you’re done, you will feel like a badass yourself.
Come vibe with me and listen to some loops, samples, and enjoy some classic MC’ing. Maybe next time we can take the tempo further up and further in 🖖: