OK, so we’re a little biased when it comes to our hometown, but you’d be to if you lived in a place with as much to offer as Philly does. Now that the Eagles are finally Super Bowl champs for the first time, we can get back to appreciating all the diversity the City Of Brotherly Love has to offer musically. Which brings us to Ashok Kailath (a.k.a. producer ash.ØK), who just dropped an indietronica gem called The Unraveled. On it, Kailath touches on more genres than you’ll find at your favorite record store. Listening to The Unraveled got us thinking about what our homie listens to when he’s not holed up in his studio creating. So we asked him to make MAGNET a mix tape. Check out his killer jawn below.
Sonny Bonoho “Concubine Juicy”
From the first listen of this track, you know it’s on some other wave. First time I was introduced to Sonny Bonoho was at a live performance in L.A. Dude absolutely killed it onstage, and the energy he brought with this track was memorable. The video is just as striking and has a distinctiveness that most rap videos don’t typically bring. Try not getting this track stuck in your head.
Björk “Bachelorette (RZA Remix)”
Probably one of my favorite remixes of all time. You take the mastermind production of the RZA and pair it with Bjork’s piercing, rollercoaster-like vocals. The instrumental carries all the signature Wu elements laid over a really thick orchestral bed.
Neil Diamond “Solitary Man”
I truly regret never having had a chance to see him perform, especially after the recent news of his retiring due to Parkinson’s disease. This is music I grew up on, and it’s tough picking any single track as a favorite from this legend. The guitars, the pure indignation and hurt in his voice, along with the sweeping strings over that kit. It’s one of the few songs I consider perfect.
Keith Ape “It G Ma”
None of the rappers on this track speaks the same language, very little of it is in English, but it’s still level up from the get-go. The homage to OG Maco both lyrically and with the sparse instrumental, though, draws ire from some, but just proves the influential, borderless power of good music.
Robyn Cage “Fallout”
Beautifully shot video from one of my favorite indie artists. Her voice channels something ultra-classic with a vibe of Lana Del Rey, only more fluid and emotional. This track really carries strong, a running synth bass over a eerie set of pads, and fits perfect alongside Robyn’s vocals.
The Weeknd “Dirty Diana”
I think I first heard this track way, way, way late at night coming home from a studio session, and it blew my mind. It could have been the lack of sleep or something close to it, but when I woke up the next morning, this was the first song I tried to find online. It just stuck with me that strongly. Just like most of the world, I grew up listening to Michael Jackson, and “Dirty Diana” was always a favorite of that ’90s-era MJ. To hear it re-envisioned like this, not as a straight cover or over some kind of typical remix fare, really opened up my own creativity on how vocals and ethereal tracks could interplay.
The Gipsy Kings And Alabina “Habibi Ya Nour Elein”
Sung in both Spanish and Arabic and I can’t understand a word of it. But try listening to her voice at 2:57, and very few could put this song down without getting that lump-in-your-throat feeling. You can literally feel the emotion in her voice as it soars to some of these notes, especially against the gruff nature of the Spanish vocals. Like “It G Ma,” the passion in the music transcends language.
Flight Of The Conchords “Carol Brown”
This, without a doubt, is probably my favorite go-to song of all time. It doesn’t matter what mood I’m in, what the situation is, this track never gets tired, never gets old, and I can keep it on repeat indefinitely. Lyrically, it’s clever, and the simplicity of the instrumental, even after this many years, keeps me listening. Fun fact, which made me fall in love with this track even more: Sia was one of the writers and singers in the chorus of ex-girlfriends.
Jedi Mind Tricks Feat. Sean Price “Blood Runs Cold”
Pure, raw energy and power at its finest. This pick is a throwback to that classic era of hip hop: the samples, the lyricism—everything comes together perfectly over this one.
West Philadelphia Orchestra “Zla S’dba”
The only way to close out my mix tape is with something authentically from home. I was about to head down the route of pulling in a fave track from the Roots, Tunji Ige or Meek Mills, but on a mix with this far of a reach in genre, gritty Balkan-brass energy seems to be more appropriate. This track, in particular, is fire, but watch any one of their videos and you’ll just want to be front and center in that crowd. Closing out on that kind of energy. That’s how I’d call my mix tape complete.