Stevie G-New skool soul jams
I'm New Here [Ruckazoid Remix] Jesse Boykins III
Trust (Hell Below) Inc.
Swim Good (Remix) Frank Ocean
Blow Your Mind Dam-Funk & Steve Arrington
Hold On, We're Going Home (feat. Majid Jordan) Drake
Back For More DJ Jazzy Jeff & Ayah
Rose Quartz Toro Y Moi
Help Me Lose My Mind Disclosure Feat .London Grammar
Losing You Solange
Fool's Gold Amy Winehouse
Pretty Girl Rock Keri Hilson Feat. Kanye West
Ain't That Peculiar Oddisee/Marvin Gaye
It's Code Janelle Monáe
Hustler (SaneBeats Remix) Josef Salvat
Something Goes Right SBTRKT
Thinkin’ Bout You Frank Ocean
Crime (feat. Kendrick Lamar) Mayer Hawthorne
West Side Girl Bilal
The Consequences of Jealousy featuring Meshell Ndegeocello (Georgia Anne Muldrow's Sassy Geemix) Robert Glasper Experiment
Can I Get U Hi? The Sa-Ra Creative Partners
No to Love Jessie Ware
BTSTU (Prince Klassen edit) Jai Paul
This is a mix of mainly new and modern soul. We all love the classics but there’s nothing as exciting for a DJ as playing new music and for many years soul music was strangled by it’s rich past. When I first starting playing this music in the early and mid 90’s it was at the beginning of a new era in some ways.
Soul music was finding it hard to escape the rich legacy of the 60’s and 70’s and it had become a loss less organic in the 80’s. At the time, the better 80s stuff was unfashionable, and it wasn’t until the music started taking a street edge from hip-hop, that new soul music came back into focus and relevance. UK acts like Loose Ends, Soul 11 Soul, Young Disciples and Omar were all very big influences in the early 90s.
New Jack Swing helped pave the way, but by the time time Mary J Blige, SWV, Zhane and the likes came through with even more hip-hop swagger, it was clear things were hotting up! Soon we had D’Angelo, Erykah Badu, Lauryn Hill and later Jill Scott reaching big heights, and even music critics took the music seriously again. Neo Soul was a corny term, but with big players such as Dilla, James Poyser, The Roots, Raphael Saadiq pulling the strings, the music enjoyed somewhat of a renaissance.
Over the last 15 years, as with all music, fashions and trends came and went, but there has always been good soul music bubbling too. As usual, the music industry hasn’t always been kind to the best acts, but there have been many breakthroughs too, and the influence of soul music even on the pop charts has been notable. On this mix I’ve taken a snapshot of mainly new enough or recent recordings, to highlight the increased relevance of what I loosely describe as soul music in 2013.
Lessor known talents such as Josef Salvat, who I recently only discovered playing Body and Soul at the Electric Picnic, feature alongside prolific underground stalwarts like Georgia Anne Muldrow. Big names feature too, and I’ve always been interested in how singers such Janelle Monae and Solange are forging their own paths, while guys like Miguel and Frank Ocean are simply making some of the best soul music i’ve heard since Marvin Gaye and Stevie Wonder.
UK soul is rich in diversity and talent, as seen here by SBTRKT, Disclosure, London Grammar, Jessie Ware and Jai Paul, while the amazing Amy Winehouse merits an inclusion with probably the oldest track here. The Drake track is gonna be a big hit by the time this mix surfaces, but the greats like Marvin and Aretha had many hits too, and good music is good music I guess. The Ayah and Keri Hilson are straight up poppy r&b cuts, while Inc, THEESatisfaction and Toro Y Moi and others all thread unique music paths.
Sa-Ra are one of the great left-field groups killing it over many years, while the mighty Dam-Funk managed to coax Slave legend Steve Arrington into helping him create my own personal favourite soul album of 2013. Mayer Hawthorne has just turned in his most assured full length album yet, while Bilal is another one time “next big thing” who has stubbornly foraged his own path outside of the media spotlight.
I didn’t even have time to include the ever green Charles Bradley, Lee Fields and Sharon Jones, all artists who had to bide their time before gaining the recognition they deserve. There’s also nothing from Waajeed, Tiombe Lockhart, Raphael Saadiq, Esperanza Spalding, or a whole host of other relevant artists keeping it soulful in 2013. This is but an introduction, and it will hopefully lead a couple of you to dig out some new music for the mind, body and the soul!