A strange consequence of these unprecedented times is that time has somewhat depreciated in value. This is due in large part to things having come to a screeching halt, and only recently starting to try and rev back up, and the grooves that we have worn over the past couple of months have taken a toll on our sense of time (or mine at least). There isn’t that race to the weekend that used to exist, but days have seriously started to flow from one to the other in this blob of consciousness.
On the bright side, there is a degree of normalcy that has been reached for better or worse, and we’re all learning to cope and exist in these Quarantined Times. In watching our neighbours to the south, I honestly don’t understand the hesitance to strap a mask on, and go about the day to day meanderings. Apparently folks would rather end up with a ventilator strapped to their mugs instead. If you are going to venture out and about, please put a mask on, and let’s try and keep this thing to a dull roar. In the meantime, here is the first stack of cuts I have for you on this long overdue Midweek Mixdown (side A?).
The fight over masks strikes me as hilarious, as it seems like such a ridiculous battle people feel like waging. We can all imagine if that same vitriol and energy was put into overhauling the societal systems that are so clearly broken and unfair, maybe we could keep the 2020 Revolution moving into true reform and rebalancing. This isn’t about one or the other, this is about taking care of everyone and bringing us all together as one; this isn’t a time for division, but instead for repairing relations and opening lines of communication. Stop fighting about the inane bullshit like masks and the like, and put that energy into causes that matter and can benefit everyone.
Haviah Mighty – “Thirteen”
This is a powerful and haunting video from the talented emcee Haviah Mighty. In a scant 3 minutes, we get a heartbreaking view of the history that has paved the road to the present Black Lives Matter movement. “Thirteen” is an important song which showcases the fact that equality is still a talking point, rather than a fact, and the current movement is the boiling point that has been a long time coming. Press play on this track and listen to this heart-wrenching gem.
Devon Gilfillian – “Unchained”
There are plenty of times where I am out hunting for new music, but there are special moments where I fortunately land on some inane weekend news program that just so happen to be showcasing a musician that has the power to stop me in my tracks. This is absolutely the case with Devon Gilfillian, who happened to be performing on some CBS news program, and I heard Unchained for the first time. It’s an amazing sound that straddles that line between new and old, as it has a soul and R&B penchant that is firmly rooted in the past, but sounds equally fresh and new. The video as well is heartwarming and uplifting as we get to see a window into the life of Devon’s younger brother who was paralyzed from the waist down at age 17. If you dig this tune, check out Devon’s album Black Hole Rainbow. One of my favourites of 2020.
Backxwash – “Amen”
Backxwash dropped one of the best albums in 2019 with Deviancy, and she quickly turned around and dropped easily one of (if not) THE best albums of 2020 in God Has Nothing To Do With This, Leave Him Out of It. The anger, vitriol and catharsis that is contained in “Amen” is palpable, and would serve as an ideal anthem for 2020. It’s that immediacy and energy that makes this one of the hottest tracks on the album, and is her claim as one of the best emcees in the game today. This is one of the heaviest hip-hop tracks in quite some time, this is heavy metal hip-hop at its finest.
Run the Jewels – “JU$T”
Run the Jewels have always been outspoken advocates of the downtrodden and mistreated, and continuing with their political leanings dropped one of the sharpest albums of 2020 with RTJ4. This cut “JU$T” is one of the the many bangers on this album, and marks the return of Zack de la Rocha. There are no punches pulled as Run the Jewels and de la Rocha lay the system bare, exposing how broken, disjointed and hypocritical is all is. If the societal reforms of 2020 needed a soundtrack, this would be it. There are few others in the game who are as essential as Michael “Killer Mike” Render and Jaime “El-P” Meline.