12 December 2013

Op Ed: I Heart Mashups

     Seriously, I do. Whoever decided to take two or more really good songs and smoosh them together (yep, that's what I said.......smoosh) to create something new is a genius, period.

      Now, the term "mash up" may be a relatively new one, but mash ups have been around for quite some time now. Mash ups have gone from the simple blending of two tracks to putting verses from several songs over a reworked beat, a combination of beats or an instrumental. The art of the mash up has matured past the realm of hip hop and has embraced genres from country to rock, even from classical to the many forms of electronic music, to create a new experience. It can easily be argued that in blending so much together to create these songs, mash ups could be considered their own legitimate genre.

     Now, when it comes to what songs get thrown together, it's all about the imagination of whoever is putting it together(I don't know what to call them. Mashers? Mashupeteers? We'll go with Mashers until some cooler than me makes up a word). If the Masher can get the timing to match then the sky is the limit; it doesn't matter what genre the lyrics or music come from. Matter of fact, the more off the wall the pairing is, the better it tends to be. One of my favorites right now is a mash up of Knuck If You Buck by Crime Mob and Hey Jude by The Beatles. They don't even sound like they'd go together, right? But that track is the truth. We'll come back to that later.

     There are a slew of mashers, and if you haven't really tried looking for mash ups until now then it can be overwhelming. A lot of these guys are putting out some good work, some not so much. A lot of what you may like depends on what you like to listen to or how much music you recognize. I decided to highlight a few that I have been following for a while now and have been putting out some pretty dope work. And before you start in with how your bank account is set up, most of the music these guys put out is free:

DJ Earworm - This guy's work is what got me into mash ups religiously. Since 2007 he has released an end of the year mash up of all the pop hits for that year. On top of creating what is becoming a mash up standard, United State of Pop, DJ Earworm has also made a number of mash ups using samples from artists such as: Common, Nelly Furtado, The Police, Madonna, 2Pac, The Fray and many others. Another cool feather for this guy's cap is the fact that he pretty much created the soundtrack for the 2012 Olympic Summer Games in London. So yeah, you can say things are pretty serious. He has a collection of free and for purchase downloads that can be can be found on his website. I would definitely suggest checking out his original United State Of Pop,the Nelly Furtado mash up Free At Night, and for the brave listeners check out Over The Confluence of Giants. You can find all of his mash ups and other goodies on his website by following the jump here.

Girl Talk - Crazy name, dope DJ. This Philly representative will use upwards of 300 different samples and loops to create his mash up albums. His most recent release, All Day, has samples from the likes of: Ludacris, Eve, DMX, Belinda Carlisle, Simon & Garfunkel, Radiohead, Fat Joe, Eightball & MJG, Iggy Pop Outkast, Beyonce, M.O.P., Nirvana, Daft Punk, Drake, Genesis, and this is only a small list. This dude is definitely serious with his.
      Girl Talk has been getting parties started with his brand of mash ups going on over 10 years now. His brand of music and production has not gone unnoticed; in addition to nods from music culture magazines such as: Spin, Rolling Stone, and Pitchfork, Girl Talk is currently working with Freeway on a collaboration album tentatively titled Broken Ankles. The potential is there for these two to be as highly regarded as as hip hop's latest odd couple, Run The Jewels, but only time will tell. In the meantime hop on over to Girl Talk's page and give him a listen. If you don't check all of his work, at least peep the albums: All Day, Feed The Animals, and Night Ripper. It's definitely worth your time. Jump to his page here.

 Isosine - In mash ups earlier days, a lot of the focus was on hyping a club up to critical mass on the dance floor. DJs would take two or more club bangers and create a a mash guaranteed to fill the floor to critical mass. Isosine, as well as the other DJs that rep GLDN Collective, do the damn thing when it comes to when it comes to mashing club monsters. A lot of their club music is EDM or has an EDM beat to it (EDM = Electronic Dance Music) so if that's not your thing, be warned or be brave, your choice. What sets Isosine and his companions apart is their ability take the idea of the mash up out of the club and further explore the idea that mash up can be just as cool to experience without the black light and liquor. Isosine has created quite a few mash ups that are dope enough to sit back and listen to. An example is his joint Poeticwhich mashes together Anna Kendrick's Cups,Kendrick Lamar's Poetic Justice, and Florence + The Machine's Never Let Me Go. Isosine also juxtaposes songs from genres that may have not had anything to do with each other, like Korn and Taylor Swift. Just let that sink in for a minute. For more of his music, follow the jump here for his SoundCloud page or check his Facebook page here

The Melker Project - Scott Melker, aka The Melker Project, is currently my top choice when it comes to mash ups. Melker has made a name by creating monster singles such as Anything Could Happen vs. Twerk, a mash up of Ellie Goulding and Juicy J, as well as Skyfall vs. Neva Eva which mashes Adele and Trillville. Recently, Mr. Melker has made some sonic waves by releasing EPs that mashes recent hits with iconic music groups like The Beatles and Fleetwood Mac. His most recent EP, Ballin' Oates, which pairs reworked Hall & Oates tracks with the likes of T.I., Rich Boy, and Wu Tang, has garnered attention from several mainstream social commentaries, including MSNBC and Billboard. Now before you dismiss this cat as someone you wouldn't listen to, follow this jump here to his SoundCloud page and just check out some of his work. I can almost guarantee you find at least one track that you will rock to for a few days. That Beatles/Crime Mob mash I was talking about in the beginning of the post? Yeah, this guy did it. Matter of fact, click right here and check it out right now while you read the rest of this.That joint is serious. To fully experience The Melker Project, follow the jump here to peep his website and see just how deep the rabbit hole goes.

     Once again, a lot of this stuff is free of charge or open to donations to support the artist. While I'm sure the fact that so much of it is at no cost has something to do with copyrighted material, artist ownership and all other types of fancy legal phrases, at the end of the day there is a lot of good stuff out there that right in a lot of people's spending range.....free. I said it before and I'll throw it out there one more time; there is a lot out there to sift through and quite a bit is garbage, just like in any genre of music. But I think if you use the featured artists as a starting point and go exploring from there you should be in good shape. Happy hunting.  

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