Original Format: cassette
1999 was a weird year. I never expected the world to end in Y2K, as we called it then, but I expected something to happen — some kind of sea change, which as it turns out did occur, but not in the way anyone expected and not right away. In the lead-up there was a fair amount of anxiety, which has become much more noticeable in retrospect.
This mix is heavy on the hip-hop, which I was belatedly discovering at the time. It also displays a preoccupation with righteousness, which — as anyone who listens to reggae will tell you — is one of the side effects of smoking too much weed. If my lifetime usage were charted it would spike, I think, in 1986 and 1999.
As for the cover art: That was an actual door I used to walk by in Oakland on my way to BART. It is long gone now, but fondly remembered.
Rip Rip David Holmes
Those are the voices of Don Cheadle, Steve Zahn, and Isaiah Washington from Steven Soderbergh’s Out of Sight, which I consider to be a nearly perfect movie. I’m about due for another viewing.
Gone Till November (Makin’ Runs Instrumental) Wyclef Jean
“The remix of ‘Gone till November’ features R. Kelly and Canibus, with backing vocals by Destiny’s Child, and contains interpolations of the songs ‘Michelle’ by the Beatles and ‘Karma Chameleon’ by Culture Club. A separate music video was also made for the remix version.” —Wikipedia
The March Aceyalone
“A Book of Human Language plays like a jazz album… it deals with the human community, communication, society, and the human condition which is unified throughout everyone’s lives. By following simple totems of human life, rather than the streets or politics, Aceyalone taps into an unharvested field of intrepid rap lyricism and orchestrations of emotional vignettes. This is one of the best albums of all time. Not Hip Hop albums of all time, but of ALL albums of ALL TIME, made for ANY reason.” —“Irate Tyrant,” Allmusic.com
Los Dangerous Haiku d’Etat
I must have been really into this song at the time, since I used it on two mixtapes in a row, which is a breach of The Code. It is pretty great, so I can’t really blame 1999 me.
Shoulder Holster Morcheeba
“One of the 90’s true classics. Encapsulates so may emotions and truisms. In a strange way the 90’s will go down as one of the great optimistic decades, only matched by the 60’s for the whole of that intense century. For a while there it felt like things were getting better and good things were done.” —YouTube commenter “Thinking Clearly”
Do It First Elvis Presley & Mickey Shaughnessy
It took a minute to figure out where I got this from, but I think it’s Jailhouse Rock (the movie) with Shaughnessy playing Elvis’s cellmate and musical mentor.
Real Raw Dr. Octagon
Whosampled tells us that the drums on this were sampled from Les Baxter’s “Hot Wind.” Let’s take a listen:
The Rep Grows Bigga Gang Starr
While we’re at it, Whosampled lists no fewer than 9 sources for this track:
- “Come Dancing”/Jeff Beck
- “Listen to the Man”/Kev E Kev and AK B
- “Off the Books”/The Beatnuts
- “C.R.E.A.M.”/Wu-Tang Clan
- “Fakin’ Jax”/INI feat. Pete Rock
- “Krell Shuttle Ride and Power Station”/Louis and Bebe Barron
- “Just to Get a Rep”/Gang Starr
- “The Nearness of You”/Dr. John
- “DWYCK”/Gang Starr feat. Nice & Smooth
Last time I was in downtown Oakland I saw this portrait of the late, great Tim Parker, a.k.a. The Gift of Gab:
For the Love of This Pras
In case you’ve forgotten, Pras was the member of the Fugees who wasn’t Wyclef or Lauryn Hill. He had one big hit as a solo artist; this wasn’t it.
Pink Flamingo Love and Rockets
“i really like this album [Lift] for some reason.. i think it was kind of overlooked.” —YouTube commenter “bh617”
Noodletown Mitchell Froom & Steve Donnelly
Money Habits The Highlife Movement
“All tracks done 4-track, SP-1200, and dirty mic style. All verses from unreleased demos and college radio shows — support!” —Liner notes, The Highlife Movement, …estuary
Satan’s Monopoly Peter Tosh