Monday, May 4, 2015

Cinco de Mayo: Holiday, History, Mashup & Video

The Holiday and its History: Cinco de Mayo (Spanish for "the fifth of May") commemorates the Mexican army's improbable victory over French occupying forces at the Battle of Puebla in 1862. Though no longer a national holiday in Mexico ("Grito de Dolores," Mexico's Independence Day of September 16 is much more important), Mexican public school children still get Cinco de Mayo off, and it's a public holiday in the Mexican states of Puebla and Veracruz. The day has gained much more significance, popularity, and recognition in the United States (especially in the Southwest), and has spread to certain cities in Canada, the Caribbean, Australia, New Zealand, the UK, France, and anywhere else there are substantial Mexican minorities or appreciation for Mexican culture. Cinco de Mayo is even celebrated in Tokyo!

Celebrations outside Mexico were started in 1862 by Mexican miners in Columbia, California when they first heard the news of General Ignacio Zaragoza Sequín's victory over the French and spontaneously responded by firing rifles in the air, launching fireworks, singing patriotic songs, and making impromptu speeches. The holiday first gained real steam in the U.S. during the 1940s and the rise of the Chicano Movement, again mostly in California. While Cinco de Mayo celebrations had spread to cities in other states during the 50s, 60s, and 70s, they first became nationally popular when beer companies and other marketers (correctly) sensed there was money to be made and began to promote the day across the country. Since then, Cinco de Mayo has expanded around the world and become not just a celebration of Mexican ethnicity, culture, and pride, but for many people an excuse to party - something akin to St. Patrick's Day. However, as journalist Kenn Rodriguez noted last year, we should never forget its origins:

"Cinco de Mayo may have started as a purely Mexican celebration, but it is much more than that. It’s an American celebration, for all the people of the Western Hemisphere. It’s a day when the people themselves rose up against the tyranny of a foreign invader and fought for their freedom and, against overwhelming odds, won. Because of that, Cinco de Mayo should be an inspiring day for everyone who values freedom and justice. So when you raise your Corona to celebrate on May 5, don’t forget to send a salute to the underdogs — and freedom."

For detailed information about Cinco de Mayo and the history of Mexican America, watch this:

 


And if you have even the slightest interest in military history, please watch this:




Sources & links:
Wikipedia
News Bulletin: Cinco de Mayo Should be Celebrated for the Right Reasons
International Business Times: The Mexican Battle that Became an American Fiesta

The Mashup and Video: As a Mexican-American born in California, I have always appreciated Cinco de Mayo, though not always consciously. I dimly remember enjoying a few Californian parades and parties when I was a small child, but in 1977, my family moved to Washington State where the holiday was virtually non-existent and I was one of the few brown kids around. Yet Washington (or at least King County) has always been a relatively open-minded place, and despite occasional "beaner" jokes, I felt free to assert my Mexican heritage, though I had forgotten about Cinco de Mayo.


Some years ago (in 2009), I decided to remedy this lapse with a special Cinco de Mayo mashup, one I played for the first time at Bootie Munich. Though the show was on a Friday or Saturday, in 2009 Cinco de Mayo fell on a Tuesday, as it does this year, which made me keen to now finally produce a video. The reason is Ween's line featured at the end of the mashup: "Cinco de Mayo's on Tuesday." Here's the audio mashup (featured on Collected Mashups Vol. 4: Sleeper), which blends the music of War, Free, Deee-Lite, Beyoncé, Pitbull, and Ween:



Now for the video: As Warqueen was kind enough to point out on Twitter and as Wardrums commented on Youtube, the history of War (the band) has been complicated, with most of the original members losing a federal lawsuit to use the name, and now touring under the moniker The Lowrider Band (here's their website, facebook & twitter). I was unaware of this and even beforehand couldn't discover any original video of War performing "Cinco de Mayo," though in the meantime I've found this later performance by the original vocalist, Howard Scott with Reign. The War footage I featured in the video is only of original keyboardist, Lonnie Jordan, officially using the name after the lawsuit with a non-original band.

It's all good! Enjoy! ¡Feliz Cinco de Mayo!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Collected Mashups Vol 4: The Videos (Part One: Hip-Hop)

Before releasing Collected Mashups Vol. 4, I had produced a few videos for selected singles off the album, and somebody else did one as well. Some of them have become relatively popular. In the meantime, particularly since Sebwax's exclusive album feature on French radio, I've produced several other new videos and there are even more in the pipeline.

This is a good opportunity to feature four of five of them at a time in a series of blog posts, organized by genre, and without specific regard to chronology. This is the hip-hop edition. Let's begin!


1. Michael & Janet Jackson featuring Treach vs. Buffalo Springfield vs. Public Enemy & featuring KRS-One: He Got Scream



This is the most recent video to date, released on April 12, 2015. Like all the others in this series the original audio mashup was produced in 2009, this one a week or two after Michael Jackson's death. The audio blends the acapella from the Naughty By Nature remix of "Scream" (including a rap by Treach) with Buffalo Springfield's seminal sixties folk-rock hit "For What It's Worth," and heavy breakbeat interventions on the refrains sampled from Public Enemy's "Bring The Noise" and "Rebel Without A Pause." I think I may have used P.E.'s Buffalo Springfield-sampling "He Got Game" for the main loop, adding another beat from KRS-One's "You Must Learn" as support on the verses, but as I recall, this was made mostly from scratch. The video of course borrows heavily from the original Jacko/Janet joint, which I didn't want to mess with much, since it was pretty awesome back in 1995, and I think still is.

2. Mobb Deep vs. Wu-Tang Clan vs. Kool & The Gang: Kool Shook C.R.E.A.M.

   

Featuring two of my favorite mid-90s hip-hop groups (Mobb Deep & Wu-Tang Clan) and the jazz-funk grooves of the 70s formation of Kool & The Gang, the mashup itself used strictly vinyl sources and was produced as a throw-back to my early work. This video was produced by Jason Patrick Chavez.

3. Faith No More vs. Queens Of The Stone Age: Epic Wit Chu



Faith No More's cross-over rock-rap from 1989/90 blended with a desert rock ballad from 2007 by Queens Of The Stone Age. Cycling home this evening, the strains of FNM's "Epic" hit me out of an open car window, and there was a much younger person at the wheel. I gave him the thumbs-up and he nodded. This mashup is so simple, yet utterly compelling. I consider it to be one of my best works.

4. Birdman & Lil Wayne vs. Muse featuring Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche: 100 Million Butterflies



This video is another very recent one I made (published on March 29, 2015) with the main vocals supplied by Matthew Bellamy of the English pop/prog-rock group, Muse ("Butterflies and Hurricanes") supported by the instrumental of Birdman's "100 Million Dollars," Lil Wayne's very Dirty South rap from the same tune, and spoken extras by Tibetan Buddhist teacher Chögyam Trungpa.

5. Dead Prez vs. Eastenders: Vino Hip Vino Hop



I've blogged this one before (the original audio blend is actually off Collected Mashups Vol. 3), but I posted this video and remastered audio version for the Sleeper Album. While the audio blends the acapella from the classic "Hip Hop" by Dead Prez with a remix (by Bassface Sascha & Franksen) of German beatmakers, Eastenders, the video is lifted almost entirely from the Dead Prez original.

That's all for now. Stay tuned for the next edition - an electronic music special, or just check out and/or subscribe to my Youtube and/or Vimeo channels to get all my new stuff immediately. Or just check my Twitter or Facebook page to receive the latest news.

Love,
DJ not-I

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

In The Ghetto Tonight - Big Time Blogging - A Statement

[NEW UPDATE, Feb. 25, 2015: World Star Hip-Hip replied to my e-mail and have updated their blog post! See below.]

First of all, I would like to thank Ambrosia For Heads (AFH) for blogging the original video of an old blend/mashup of mine and giving my early work some shine, while including some link love!

I started following AFH on Facebook when this pre-Wu-Tang GZA/ODB improv showed up on my wall and have been following them ever since. In the meantime, I've become utterly convinced that AFH is a quality site - dedicated to real hip-hop, with intelligent and articulate commentary, respect for the history of the genre (back to the old school), and openness to new developments. If you like quality hip-hop, I have no reservations about recommending Ambrosia For Heads to you.

When I first saw this post on my personal Facebook feed, I couldn't believe it. I thought someone was ripping me off. But no...yes, this was/is my work. Before we go any further, let's watch and listen (Don't worry, there will be some download links at the end of this):


DJ not-I: In The Ghetto Tonight (Eric B. & Rakim vs. Phil Collins) from DJ not-I on Vimeo.

Here are the basic facts and some details about "In The Ghetto Tonight":

1. The audio blend/mashup was produced back in 2006 and is featured on Collected Mashups Vol. 1: Mashanthology.
2. I produced the video in 2012.
3. This mashup blends Eric B. & Rakim's "drumapella" with Phil Collins' "In The Air Tonight" - both the latter's extended mix and the '88 remix.
4. All sources are vinyl, but the mix was constructed with an early version of Acid. I digitalized everything, then cut the Collins tracks into loops, arranging them to form a new backing track with additional editing to highlight certain lines of Rakim's lyrics.
5. This was produced for a Phil Collins Challenge on an earlier version of GYBO.
6. Based on the sources, I knew the vibe would be a throw-back to the late 80s/early 90s, and I very much intended it to be that way. To me, it's like taking a journey back to another place and time, or better yet, to a timeless place. "Mind keeps travellin'..."
7. I feel the interplay between Rakim's verses and Phil's refrains is lyrically perfect. Rakim is rapping about how we humans got to where we are (referencing Five Percent philosophy), but also about how he had gotten to the place he was at the time. "I can feel it coming in the air tonight; I've been waiting for this moment all my life" provides lyrical tension and anticipation of what's to come: "Since I made it this far, can't stop now..." While Collins' full lyrics might be about something else entirely, bear in mind that I used only his refrains, thus creating a new song to be judged on its own merits.
8. This was not an empty exercise. I didn't make this blend/mashup because I was expecting any fame or fortune. I made it because I wanted to hear it. If other people liked or like it, all the better! I felt very passionate about this at the time and still do.
9. I'm technically an "old man" and to me, Rakim was The MC who turned hip-hop/rapping from party-raps into social commentary, political message-making and a conscious art-form, inspiring KRS-One, Public Enemy, Nas, Tupac, and many others to speak truth to power.
10. This blend/mashup was only ever intended for true heads and conscious cats: "I come correct and I won't look back 'cause / It ain't where you're from, it's where you're at!"

Now, as the story continues, AFH's original post of Feb. 12 was re-blogged almost verbatim by the much more popular World Star Hip-Hop on Feb. 14. Because WSHH has so many more followers and readers, someone messaged me on one of my sites to say, "You're about to blow up!" Well, no, I haven't "blown up," because unlike AFH, WSHH didn't provide any links. While they credited "DJ not-I," they uploaded my video to their own player without linking to my original video, this blog, or any of my sites. [This has been rectified. See below.]

Again, here are the two posts for direct comparison:
Ambrosia For Heads vs. World Star Hip-Hop [now updated!]

In the interest of fairness, I've written to World Star Hip-Hop about this. I'll post another update if or when I receive a reply.
[I have received a positive reply, see below.]

While I've seen plenty of new visitors and downloads on my sites, most of the traffic has come from Ambrosia For Heads. World Star Hip-Hop followers can of course google "DJ not-I" or "In The Ghetto Tonight," but that's not the same thing. I understand we live in a "blog-eat-blog" world, but when it comes to blogging about hip-hop, a genre in which "biting" is frowned upon and "giving props" (i.e. proper respect or credit) is key, I might be forgiven for expecting a hyperlink, especially when the WSHH post has received almost 86,000 [now 89,500] views and 700 comments.

Don't get me wrong. Because I made the blend/mashup and video a long time ago, all of this comes as a wonderful surprise to me. I am truly grateful to Parfit of AFH for digging up the blend, writing a nice piece about, and showing mad love for it! And even though I'm a bit unhappy about the way Persist of WSHH did it, I'm still thankful for the exposure. [...and now some links! See below.]
 
My blends and mashups were always intended to be timeless, and although I've never (or hardly ever) made them to please anyone but myself, I've always been sincerely thankful for feedback of whatever kind and have been waiting a long time for some larger recognition. So, at the end of the day, it's all good.

Peace! Love, not-I

Bonus blogging (with links!):

Eric Woods
Calvin's Canadian Cave of Coolness
Street Knowledge  

[UPDATE: World Star Hip-Hop have replied to my e-mail, ending with "Thanks for writing in. [...] Keep up the good work," and added not just one, but two links to their original post. Communication is key! BIG THANKS to WSHH!]

And now for the downloads (song/album):



Monday, February 16, 2015

DJ not-I Full Feature on French Radio

On Friday, Feb. 6, 2015, French bootleg/mashup legend and radio DJ, Sebwax, dedicated an entire episode of his live radio show ("P comme Pirate" on PFM 99.9 / Arras, France) exclusively to DJ not-I mashups from Collected Mashups Vol. 4: Sleeper and plugged them, the album, and various not-I websites like crazy.

Here is the show:
P comme Pirate par Sebwax - S08E17 - DJ not-I Special

You can listen to and download the 45-minute program at the bottom of the linked page (click or right-click "Émission à choper en mp3"). If you don't understand French, it doesn't matter, it's mostly (my) music.

Sebwax has been doing his radio show, which highlights quality mashups and bootleg culture with expert insider commentary, as well as been producing his own beautiful mashups for almost ten years, so it was a great honor to receive a full feature.

Merci beaucoup!

Love, not-I.

Once more: the show is HERE
(click "Emission à choper en mp3" to download)

Live at Crumplebury 2015

Crumplebury 2015 was an international all-day online DJ festival organized by Pom Deter and broadcast live on mixlr.com. It showcased an accomplished team of DJs from Australia, Austria, France, the Netherlands, New Zealand, South Africa, the UK, and the US, most of whom have known each other since the heydays of a previous version of GYBO. The sets were highly eclectic, dropping anything and everything from breakbeats, drum & bass, electro, and techno to blues, jazz, and dub/reggae to indie, pop, rock, and metal.

Unsurprisingly, one of the festival's connecting threads was quality mashups (or, as they used to be called, bootlegs); the other was the crumplebanger ethic or (better) attitude/mindset of bending expectations, genres, and "rules" of music-making by just not giving a damn about them.
 
Crumplebury started on Jan. 31, 2015 at noon, British time (UTC+0) and ended on Feb. 1 at 6 AM. Amazingly, only one tune got played twice during the entire 18-hour event. It was truly a blast and I'm glad to have been a part of it. I did two sets, one at midnight and the other as the closing festival chill-out. Here they are. They're downloadable via the players. Love, not-I.



P.S. 1: You can check out all the individual DJ sets HERE or, if you have the time and courage, listen to or download the entire festival in one giant go:
 
And here are some links to all the DJs if you'd like to check out their other work (in alphabetical order):

BudTheWeiser
Dan Untitled
DJ Cougar (extra Facebook hot-dog)
DJ Forge 
DJ not-I
Eddie Pedalo
Grave Danger
KrazyBen
NeoPink (DeFunkto)
Oki
Pilchard 
PomDeter 
Scott Cairo

P.S. 2: And here are the Mixcloud links to my sets for streaming (no download option, but with tracklists):



Monday, December 22, 2014

Collected Mashups Vol. 6: Challenger II

Happy Holidays! Here is a gift. Challenger II features all of the mashups I made in 2011, most of them for various challenges, plus three bonus tracks. Many of them have never been "officially" released. Now they are here. Here they are. Enjoy!

Love, DJ not-I.



DOWNLOAD

(alternate DL link in comments)


















Tracklist:

DJ not-I
Collected Mashups Vol. 6: Challenger II

1. Galvanize The Truth (The Chemical Brothers vs. Najat Aatabou)
2. Rebel Rhythm Circle (Arabian Radio) (Zeb vs. Azeem vs. Rakim vs. Public Enemy vs. M-1)
3. Smells Like Bee Gees (The Bee Gees vs. Nirvana)
4. Downtown (New York/Tokyo/Vienna) (Petula Clark vs. Alicia Keys vs. Yellow Magic Orchestra)
5. Interruptor Principal de Cricuito

    (Don Omar, Fat Joe, N.O.R.E. & LDA vs. Mark Ronson & The Business Intl)
6. Sympathy For Sexy (The Rolling Stones vs. Right Said Fred)
7. Phone Me Till You're Blue (Lady Gaga vs. Alan Hawkshaw)
8. Killing Chaos (Edo B & The Melody Maker vs. Yellow Magic Orchestra vs. My Bloody Valentine)
9. Take It As It Bangs (Mark Ronson & The Business Intl vs. Concord Dawn)
10. Where Eagles Have Been Lost (Redux)
11. Smells Like Bee Gees (Original Rough Mix)
12. (Ready For) Love In Kashmir (Original Mix)

Complete list of sources in mp3 tags.

Produced by DJ not-I @ Mexikotrax, 2011.
Compiled with additonal production in 2014.
For promotional use only!


DOWNLOAD

(alternate DL link in comments)

Playlist:

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Collected Mashups Vol. 5: Challenger

Challenger is a double album of 36 different mashups comprising over two and a half hours of quality music produced in one year (2010). Every track was made for a challenge of one sort or another, hence the title.











Download:
   
Disc 1 & Disc 2
(updated links, Aug. 12, 2015)
Alternate links in "comments."








Tracklist:

Disc One:

1.   One Love Plunge (Cool Calm Pete vs. Nirvana vs. Talib Kweli vs. The Herbaliser/DJ Food) *
2.   Dear Proud Prudence (John Fogerty vs. The Beatles) **
3.   Bloody Red Killing Jar (Siouxsie & The Banshees vs. Vin Gordon) **
4.   Psycho Chillin’ (Talking Heads vs. Tego Calderón & Don Omar) **
5.   ToxicToxicity (Britney Spears vs. System Of A Down) *
6.   Steez (Guruji Remix) (Guru/Gang Starr vs. Dan The Automator vs. GZA/Genius) ***
7.   Apollo Mambo Request Single (T. Rex vs. Macy Gray vs. Ghostface Killah vs. Beyonce) **
8.   Welcome To The Game (Peter Gabriel & Kate Bush vs. Coheen and Cambria) **
9.   Simon The Overlord Says Bang (Pharoahe Monch vs. Lazerbeat vs. Rye Rye & M.I.A.) +
10. Buddy Holly's Mosquito Bite (Weezer vs. Queens Of The Stone Age) **
11. Heavy Metal Dead Man Dance (Dr. Dre vs. Motion Man vs. Jedi Mind Tricks & Ill Bill vs. Lady
      Gaga vs. System Of A Down) ++
12. (Would You) Do The Right Thing (?) (Redhead Kingpin vs. Usher vs. Paris) **
13. Teardrop Adirim (Elizabeth Fraser/Massive Attack vs. Balkan Beat Box) **
14. Lotus Milk (Kyozan Joshu Sasaki Roshi vs. Nichiren Chanters vs. Lazerbeat) +
15. Freeland Band (On The Run) (Paul McCartney/Wings vs. Freeland) **
16. Gritty Money (Ol’ Dirty Bastard vs. David Holmes) **
17. Mercedes Under Fire (Miss Platnum vs. The Prodigy) **
18. 1000 Heart-Shaped Boxes (Nirvana vs. MSTRKRFT) **

Disc Two:

1.   Peninsolar Steppin' (M.I.A. vs. Noetics) **
2.   Lady GaGa Eats Madonna's Rays (Madonna vs. Collapsed Lung vs. The Beatles) **
3.   Really Love One Thing (Amerie vs. Freelance Hellraiser/Paul McCartney) **
4.   (Ready For) Love In Kashmir (Candido vs. Crookers vs. The Four Tops vs. Led Zeppelin vs. Puff
      Daddy vs. The Temptations) +++
5.   Right Drunk Back Around (Flo Rida vs. Riva Starr vs. Justin Timberlake) **
6.   Back In The Casbah (The Beatles vs. The Clash) **
7.   In Digital Bloom (Nirvana vs. Daft Punk) **
8.   A Pop Rhapsody (Jay Sean vs. Flo Rida vs. T.I. & Rihanna vs. Shakira vs. Taylor Swift vs.
      Soulja Boy / Sammie vs. Lady Gaga vs. Beyonce vs. Katy Perry vs. Kelly Clarkson vs.
      Coldplay vs. A-Trak) §
9.   Keep On Rockn (My Rebellion) (The Steve Miller Band vs. Arcade Fire) **
10. Burst Your Own Way (Fleetwood Mac vs. The Chemical Brothers) **
11. Hot Cold n Ill (Katy Perry vs. Mayer Hawthorne) **
12. Linus, Lucy and James (Metallica vs. The Vince Guaraldi Trio)
13. Telstar In Love (The Beatles vs. The Tornados vs. The Beach Boys) **
14. Live A Little (T.I. / Rihanna vs. Dreadzone) **
15. Drop Your 99 Guns (Jay-Z vs. Control Freak) **
16. California Giveth (Über Alles) (Dead Kennedys vs. Queens Of The Stone Age) **
17. My Favorite Allez (Nothing Else Matters) (Metallica vs. Eastenders vs. Diana Ross/The
      Supremes) *
18. Skillz (D&B Remix) (Guru / Gang Starr vs. Drunken Masters) ***

Challenges:

*       Produced for Off The Beaten Meter: Mashups Beyond 4/4 (compilation).
**     Produced for GYBO Weekend Challenges
***   Produced for the Guru Tribute Mixes
+      Produced for the GYBO 8-Bit Challenge
++    Produced for the GYBO 72 Mash Cup Challenge
+++ Produced for the Mashstix Stanton Challenge
§       Produced for the Mashstix 2010 Pop Challenge

Complete list of sources in mp3 tags.

Produced by DJ not-I @ Mexikotrax, 2010.
Compilation: 2014.
For promotional use only!

Central cover image by Cromenonunder Creative Commons License (CC-BY-NY-ND-3.0).


Download: Disc 1 & Disc 2. (updated links, Aug. 12, 2015)
Alternate links in "comments."

Enjoy!

Love, DJ not-I

Playlist: