Doux Beats Vol 1 : Maya's Picks
We love sharing music that inspires our lifestyle, so in the future, we'll be taking turns sharing our latest musical selections. Ladies First: this is Maya's week, so lehgo!
MY MUSICAL INSPIRATION. I'm the daughter of a musician and the step-daughter of a producer/engineer, both who've worked with music greats from The Brother's Johnson to Earth, Wind, and Fire. My first musical influences were what most people call "old school," or "classic soul": soul, disco, jazz, and latin jazz. The Meters. James Brown. The Crusaders. Chaka Khan. Sergio Mendes. Sly & The Family Stone. Parliament.
Honestly, I didn't hear much hip hop until I was about 7, because in LA, 1) the radio didn't play it, and my parents didn't buy it. My first encounter with hip hop music was subliminal, because unlike many of my peers, who had vinyl and tapes of their favorite emcees, I had an ear for the original recordings featured within the beats: the samples. I remember the very moment I was sucked in to Eric B. & Rakim's I Ain't No Joke. All I heard was a clever sample of what I knew then as Pass the Peas. I was hooked. For me, hip hop was not only a gateway to an emerging culture, but a new way of exposing my friends to music they probably wouldn't have appreciated otherwise. Since then, I've been fascinated with finding hidden connections between the old and new, which would explain some of what comes out in my work for The Doux™.
ABOUT MY SELECTIONS. Musically, my playlists always include a combination of not only hip hop, but the sound from which hip hop is rooted: soul, jazz, alternative, and rare grooves, because I don't believe that one can fully appreciate one without the other. I've learned that when you mix it all up, a simple playlist can be transformed into a time machine of experiences, which is what I like to create when I'm "playing DJ" at home.
Since much of my work is created while I'm listening to music, I've developed a "system" of selecting tracks to keep my playlist funky-fresh: Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue.
Something Old. This one is easy! The term "Old School" is relative to your age, your parent's age, and what was hot back then, so don't over-think it. It doesn't matter how far you reach back (some of us will reach waaaaay further than others, ha!). If it makes you think of your first crush, your first pair of sneakers, or Saturday mornings doing chores at the crib, a piece of nostalgia in your mix is essential. That said, this month I've been jonesin' for what was new when I was around 10. This year's New Edition frenzy goes without saying, so I'll move on to a less obvious choice, like De La Soul's A Roller Skating Jam Named Saturdays, or Soul II Soul's Keep on Movin'. If that's not far back enough, You late-70's/early 80's babies might remember hearing your parents play one of my all-time favorites, We Live in Brooklyn, Baby by the great Roy Ayers. And I can't close this category without my auntie's (Wanda Vaughn of The Emotions) infamous group, singing the hit, Flowers.
Something New. A freshly-squeezed new cut that's up-beat enough to make you wanna two-step. Pick the ones that inspire or refresh your creative genius, weather it's indie or mainstream, it should be fun and interesting enough to say "who's that playing?" when you hear it for the first time. My favorite song these day isn't really new-new. I mean, it came out last year, but I can't stop playing it...Dang! by Mac Miller feat. Anderson Paak (Paak, in my opinion got robbed at the Grammy's this year, by the way). Second in line (don't judge me) is Bruno's 24K Magic, which can only only be explained as one of those much-needed "feel good" songs that keep me in a good mood, no matter what's going on in the news.
Something Blue. A melancholy jam for the rainy days, the coffee shop, or the emotionally-charged thought process of the artist in you. Again, everyone experiences the blues differently, so expect your selections to be personal and introspective. I "get in my feelings" listening to everything from Coltraine's Naima to A Tribe Called Quest's Jazz. My latest favorite 'blue" vibe was actually written by my cousin, Wyann Vaughn, for Laylah Hathaway's Oakland. Check this gem out on Terrace Martin's Grammy-nominated Velvet Portraits compilation. Finally, what's an cloudy weekend without Emily King? Georgia from her Seven album is nothing less than perfectly emo.
What are your old, new, borrowed, and blue's for the week? Including a balanced playlist of equal parts from each category is my secret recipe to the dopest playlist on the block. Hope you liked my first picks. Look forward to B's next time... Enjoy!