As is the case almost every year, 2013 was loaded with amazing music put out by the most creative artists of our age. We posted mixtapes from some of the biggest names in hip-hop like Pusha T, Gucci Mane, Lil Wayne, J. Cole, Killer Mike x Big Boi, Jay-Z + 9th Wonder and then other tapes by new schoolers like Big K.R.I.T., Trinidad Jame$, Travi$ Scott and Bishop Nehru. On the electronic side came a slew of interesting sets, free albums and conceptual works from the likes of dance veterans James Murphy, Skream and John B to festival headliners Bassnectar and Pretty Lights to world class DJs like Guy Gerber, Kingdom, Classixx, Busy P and Brodinski. But as good as some of those were, we had to give a little extra juice to the 13 mixtapes we assembled below — the ones we think were the most interesting in unique concept, in the lost treasures they unearthed or perhaps simply because they were best executed. So as we ramp up for all that 2014 will have to offer, let’s take a moment to look back at the best of 2013 — or at the very least the Wildest, Weirdest & Most Intriguing Mixtapes, Mashups, DJ Sets & Audio Documentaries we posted at Lost In a Supermarket in the year 2013, ranked in descending order from #13 to our #1… Enjoy the aural journey…
#13 “B.I.G. Over Premier” Mixtape: DJ Finesse’s ultimate fantasy hip-hop collaboration
In what would be the dream collaboration for anyone who has ever considered themselves a hip-hop head, B.I.G. Over Premier pairs acapellas from one Notorious B.I.G., aka Biggie Smalls, over beats produced by arguably the greatest beatsmith ever, DJ Premier. Known for his immaculately layered samples and complex chopping of breaks, Primo would be the fantasy producer for any Biggie project, even though in real life they only worked on 3 (awesome) tracks together: “Unbelievable”, “Kick In The Door” and “Ten Crack Commandments”. Look out for such Big Poppa classics as “Things Done Changed”, “Juicy” and “Long Kiss Goodnight” over Gang Starr’s “You Know My Steez”. Props to Finesse for putting together this dream mixtape, which also includes an intro from Premier himself.
#12 Bassnectar “Dreamtempo” Long Lost Mixtape
Sure Bassnectar came out with the more expected bass-drop filled Immersive Music Mixtape this year, but his Dreamtempo release is all the more interesting because it’s so far, far out. Exhumed from his personal vaults, the 2-hour treasure is best explained by Bassnectar, aka Lorin Ashton, himself:
“I’ve been wanting to re-release this for a long time… This was a mixtape I recorded in one take on four CDJs back in 1999, summarizing my love for thick, heavy, hypnotic downtempo music: ethereal melodies, weird loops, funky acid jazz, trip-hop, and everything left field of center.
Musically, it’s a collection of songs which are very special to me. Many of them were once rare treasure on white-label vinyl, or scavenged during endless hours of crate-digging, or given to me by friends, or something I had heard another DJ drop during some awesome sunrise set, out in a forest in one of our many free outdoor parties.
I made this particular mix as a gift for my girlfriend at the time, and stayed up all night working on it. You can easily hear a lot of ‘mistakes’ in the drawn out mixes, as I was literally weaving sometimes three songs together by hand, while experimenting with special effects and just having a good time with the sounds I loved… It should go without saying that if you are waiting for the drop here, you will wait a very, very long time… and then the tape will flip over …and psyde B will play, and hopefully take you on a ride into deeper musical terrain than you’re used to.”
A truly beautiful, most atypical mix from Bassnectar featuring Plaid, Indian Ropeman, We, Thievery Corporation, Kruder & Dorfmeister, Legion of Green Men, Shantel, Boards Of Canada, Genuine, Digitalis, Asian Dub Foundation, Govinda and more. Certainly not what you’ve come to expect from the San Francisco bass maestro.
#11 Daft Punk x Darkside = Daftside, Nicolas Jaar x Dave Harrington’s “Random Access Memories Memories”
Chilean/American tech house phenom Nicolas Jaar has often collaborated with producer Dave Harrington on a series of remixes and tracks under the moniker Darkside, and now the duo are putting their grubby little knob-twisting fingers all over Daft Punk’s latest opus, Random Access Memories. Aptly titled Random Access Memories Memories, the remix album shows off Jaar’s considerable production talents — especially on tracks like “Get Lucky” and “Giorgio By Moroder”. Makes you wish Daft Punk had called in a few younger minds to the studio instead of Pharrell to sing off key. Cheekily calling the project Daftside, you can hear the entire 14-track album below.
#10 The Melker Project 3 Mixtape: 200 Tracks Of Turntable Madness In Under One Hour
OK, there’s a place for straight dancefloor crack on this list, and the third edition of New York mashup king Scott Melker’s “Melker Project” series is exactly that. Like his previous mixtapes, The Melker Project 3 is a rapid fire assault of hits, boasting over 200 tracks in only 49 minutes. But it’s not just the prolificity involved, the mixes are seamless and the song selection genre killing — Rage Against the Machine, Led Zeppelin, Mobb Deep, Lil Jon, Billy Idol, The Ramones, 50 Cent all mercilessly blended. Think Girl Talk party rocker, only with some nice turntablism involved.
#9 How High’s the Water Mama: A Mixtape Tribute to De La Soul’s Legendary “3 Feet High and Rising”
This year United States of Audio gave the “audio documentary” treatment to one of the 80s inarguable hip-hop gems: De la Soul’s groundbreaking debut 3 Feet High & Rising. The album was a masterpiece of sampling production, and along with opuses like Gravediggaz’ 6 Feet Deep was among the albums that fittingly elevated Prince Paul to the Mount Rushmore of Golden Era Hip-Hop Producers. Fittingly, 3 Feet High & Rising is about to celebrate its 25th anniversary next year so the time for a tribute is right. With over 100 tracks pasted, layered and swirled together, How High’s the Water Mama is more than just a simple mixtape, it’s an hour-long critical theory class in the age of Golden Era hip-hop.
#8 DJ Shadow x Stereo:Type “DJ Shadow Re-Mixtape”
This one’s a straight jammy jam — when DJ Shadow went on tour this summer to support last year’s All Bases Covered album, he commissioned DJ/producer Stero:Type to cook him up a 30-minute set of Shadow tracks, all re-interpreted, to get the hive buzzing. Mission accomplished. Taking material either sampled by or remixed for or by Shadow himself, DJ Shadow Re-Mixtape is the sample Mozart being sampled himself into an even more meta sonic representation. As Stereo:Type explains:
“When you’re commissioned to make a mix for DJ Shadow, you know you have to pull something special out of the bag. Making sure it was a musical experience was as much a key part of this as making it a hype mix to listen to, considering you are working with material by a guy whose process involves finding sounds which work together as though they were made for one another… Instead of making it a straight up one track into another kind of mix, I tried to approach it like a live performance, deconstructing tracks into their component parts then re-assembling and combining them with my own take on it.”
On top of the pristinely assembled journey, Stereo:Type’s DJ Shadow Re-Mixtape is a helluva good time, a bump-worthy exploration into the more uptempo aspects of Shadow’s work. Will definitely keep your head bobbing, and maybe your ass too…
Hit the Jump to continue reading the Top 7 Wildest, Weirdest & Most Intriguing Mixtapes, Mashups & Audio Documentaries of 2013..
#7 Blood Bros. III “Back in America” Mixtape: 1980s Action Movie Soundtrack Superset
Mad Decent is training, fighting, and winning… well maybe not in that order, but Derek DJ Allen and Dirty South Joe have rained down some 80s synth masterpieces mixed with some other 80s synth masterpieces for their latest Blood Bros release. As usual, all are culled from classic 80s movies about bad guys and the guys that punch them in the face. See below for the the pretty awesome track list — including Journey, Glenn Frey, Autograph, Emerson Lake & Powell, Don Johnson, Little River Band and Alan Thicke. Yes, even the dad from Growing Pains — otherwise known as Robin Thicke’s sperm donor — drops a lovely track of nostalgic love. They’re just protecting you and me from everything that isn’t 80s. This 45-minute mixtape is the third in the Blood Bros. series, so put on your leg warmers and start getting heated.
#6 The Herbaliser “War Of The Worlds” Mixtape
Another one to file under: Audio Documentary. The great Herbaliser, aka Ollie Teeba, has made many a world class mix in his day. Not simply satisfied with blending 20 or so jams together, the Herbaliser instead creates mixes with large scale concepts, or thematic motifs, that elevate them to the level of soundscape. Such as the case with this Halloween mix, crafted by Teeba to properly celebrate the 75th Anniversary of Orson Welles’ infamous radio staging of War of the Worlds. One of the first examples of mass media being used as a device of pranking, Welles successfully fooled half of (pre-internet) America into believing that we were actually being attacked by aliens. The musical version of the War Of the Worlds, recorded by Jeff Wayne, was a huge influence on the life and work of Teeba, so he used it as the groundwork for this hour-long set. Consider it an homage to Wayne, H.G Wells, Richard Burton and Orson Welles.
#5 Justin Martin “Jungle Mix Winter” Drum & Bass Retrospective Mixtape
These are the type of gifts from the cosmos that pop up in the Internet Age that bring true joy into our world. Dirtybird’s own Justin Martin, just for the hell of it, decided to compile a retrospective drum & bass mixtape of some classics — as well as some new dirtybird stuff — and post it for all to enjoy. Apparently it’s been over a decade since Martin’s recorded a jungle mix (on a cassette tape, no less), but who are we to complain? Featuring a tracklist that reads like a Who’s Who of the D&B world — Goldie, Marcus Intalex, Blu Mar Ten, Adam F, Renegade Hardware, etc — the nearly 1-hour Retrospective Jungle Winter Mix is a sure pleasure, and a helluva way to get the blood pumping in the cold winter mornings…
#4 DJ Jazzy Jeff x Mick Boogie “Summertime Vol. 4″ Mixtape
This July DJ Jazzy Jeff and MICK, aka Mick Boogie, assembled the fourth volume in their always breezy Summertime mixtape series. The concept is pretty self-explanatory as you’ll pick up from the first track — Jazzy Jeff’s biggest hit and arguably best production, “Summertime”, with some guy named the “Fresh Prince”. The 44-track mix starts off in a slow burn with a little Sade, Jill Scott and Erykah Badu and then begins sizzling up into a proper BBQ butt hustle with the likes of Prince, Rappin’ 4 Tay, Diamond D, Ghostface, Main Source, Hall & Oates, Smif-N-Wessun, Outkast, Souls of Mischief and many many more. Who cares if it’s snowing out? Bust out the burgers, scrape the ice off the Weber Summit grill and get your shit cooking already!
#3 Shlohmo “WeDidIt Halloween Takeover” BBC Radio 1 Spooky Mixtape
Personally one of our favorite producers at the moment, Los Angeles’ Shlomo jumped on the “Diplo & Friends” show on BBC Radio 1 for a Halloween-themed set. Which is perfect for Shlohmo, as his slowed & screwed style already has an organic spookiness to it. The 45-minute WeDidIt Halloween Takeover mixtape features tracks by artists like Makaveli, Cam’ron, Big L, Dr. Octagon, Vybz Cartel, LBC and even Phil Collins and Toto… sounding as if they went yachting and OD’d on syrup…
#2 The Genesis of Coldcut: Solid Steel Radio 25th Anniversary “Pirate Kiss 94FM” Mixtape
This is one for the archaelogical musicologists out there, as this year Solid Steel released this mixtape of storied sets from the early days of Coldcut — aka the founders of Ninja Tune Records (and Solid Steel radio). The mixtape is culled from the last mixes in 1988 that Matt Black and Jon More — the duo behind the Coldcut moniker — played at Kiss FM, the legendary London pirate radio station, as they joined forces prior to Kiss shutting down. As Coldcut explain:
“To start with we scan the airwaves through various London Pirate Stations of the time, landing at Kiss 94 FM to hear Matt Black’s Mastermix Dance Party dropping exclusive Coldcut tracks for the first time and music from the emerging House scene. Jon More takes over with the Meltdown Party playing ‘new’ releases from The Beastie Boys, Eric B & Rakim and Adrian Sherwood plus the original version of ‘The Only Way Is Up’ that they later covered with Yazz and took to the top of the charts. Then we hear them together for their last show on the Pirate Kiss 94 FM whilst waiting for a licence. Music comes from Kraftwerk plus a Todd Terry workout and, as they say goodbye, we hear a farewell from Kiss founder Gordon Mac and the announcement of a new commercial station for London…”
#1 Nas “Pre-Illmatic Demo” Full Album
This one had to be number one, just because of the massiveness of the find. You know it’s a
good great year when your morning dabbles through the inter webs on some random Tuesday results in free music from Nas. But not just any free music, or some throwaway new tracks that the God’s Son lazily flowed on to make his Aventador payment. This February unearthed the discovery of early music from some would argue (not us, however) New York’s greatest rapper of all time, Nas. The early demo tapes date back from before Nas’ landmark 1994 debut Illmatic. The Pre-Illmatic Demo features 11 tracks of early Nasty Nas nastiness, including his first verse ever “Live at the BBQ” with Main Source. Other guests include Biz Markie, Chubb Rock, MC Serch, Kool G Rap and Cormega, but who cares — what you really want to hear are early verses from Queensbridge’s finest. Could there be a nicer treat than unheard Golden Era hip-hop from Nas? We thinks not. Enough talk, hit play below and enjoy the rest of mixes throughout the New Year…