End of the month so you know what it is. Crew Love, snitches! As we get ready to flip the calendar, we mark another month in the books by pointing out a few tracks that provided fuel for the working fire. In fact, the November Crew Love will be the last of 2011 (the year flew by, huh?) But don’t worry because we’re already working on 2011′s Finale entry, the companion piece to August’s The Intermission write-up and part of be all, end all for the year. If you’re unfamiliar, you can always take a look back at 2010′s round-up as a refresher for what to expect.
I always thumb through these entries and realize what a weird but wonderful batch of writers I work with. We may cover mostly rappity rap on the daily but I always know it’s deeper than that and feel a sense of pride when I have to go hunting for audio for Doris Troy, Toots & The Maytals and other randomness. These kids in The Crew probably wear mismatch socks and favor neon green as their choices of attire while they’re walking on the musical wildside. They just act normal in all of the other shit we post.
Deodato – “Tahiti Hut” — After sharing a blunt with the iHOP waitress I met three hours earlier, I placed my Love Island record under the needle while we lied staring at the ceiling. When the soft horns of “Tahiti Hut” came on, I immediately entered a state of euphoria that lasted all the way until the last bongo drum was tapped. A lot of great music released in the last year but none of it can replace what I find at Replay Records, my local vinyl retailer. — K1NG
Deodato – “Tahiti Hut”
Boston – “Peace Of Mind” — Sorting through of endless sea of middling tracks in search for a couple of gems can warrant a brain freeze of the coldest order. I stumbled upon Boston’s self-titled masterpiece around 2003 and wasn’t too astonished to see it was nearly double diamond considering every song sounds like a greatest hit. The second track offers the most substance for mental clarity but unfortunately it wasn’t enough for lead singer, Brad Delp, who committed suicide in 2007. — TC
Boston – “Peace Of Mind”
Drake Feat. Rick Ross – “Lord Knows” — Drake was fine here, but this gets my vote because of Just Blaze’s production, which meets somewhere between Saturday’s let out and Sunday’s devotional service, and Ross’ use of some of the most colorful imagery this side of pre-sobriety Lil’ Wayne — Greg Whitt
Drake Feat. Rick Ross – “Lord Knows”
Sly & The Family Stone’s “Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)” — I’ve written about “Thank You” before but the record simply never gets old to me and neither does the mean slap bass by Larry Graham. Give it 15 seconds of play and let me know if you’re not tapping your foot to the beat. — Gotty™
Mayer Hawthorne – “Dreaming” — After starting off like a swirling nightmare, the fourth track from Mayer’s major league debut How Do You Do awakens to find the Motown crooner shook by visions of an apocalyptic Pacific Coast, but still somehow ends up leaving listeners ditty-bopping over the upbeat chord progression. An oxymoron never sounded better. — BEWARE
Mayer Hawthorne – “Dreaming”
Amy Winehouse – “In My Bed” — Sure, when you listen to this song, you keep expecting to hear Nas’ gun squeezed and go off. But I still can’t help but watch the video and reflect on how sexy Amy really was. — Darius Sinclair
Gary Clark Jr. – “If You Love Me Like You Say (Live at the Foundry)” — Thank God for friends. Just when you think there’s no new music left to discover, they turn you onto something that sounds like Zeus triumphantly shitting off Mount Olympus. A friend from Pittsburgh sent me this Clark Jr. live performance that’s equal parts Muddy Waters and Hendrix. It’s ten minutes of my life I’ll gladly sacrifice again and again–kudos, Nick. — Ryan J.
Ron Gerald – “Used To Be” — Through blind clicking my way through Tumblr awhile back, I stumbled upon Ron Gerald’s compilation The Side Effects Of Love. While not Usher’s “Confessions Pt. 2,” “Used To Be” is an example descriptive detailing as Gerald breaks down the entire fiasco of how things used to be in comparison to the present day. There’s nothing scarier in the world than your girl going through your phone unannounced. Don’t believe me? Accidentally leave your phone unlocked around her and see how quickly your palms start sweating. — J. Tinsley
Ron Gerald – “Used To Be”
Doris Troy – “Just One Look” — Get thee to a sock-hop, brethren. Find the love of your life, dance down the moon, go forth and multiply. This type of joy-laden music is what sustainability in music and life is all about. — LC Weber
Doris Troy – “Just One Look”
Nikki Jean – “Pennies In A Jar” — Whether driving home from a late night at work or heading back there at the crack of dawn, the stars have been my constant companion over the past few months. Coincidentally, the title track to Nikki Jean’s stellar debut has become the soundtrack to those drives. Her inspiring song gives me hope that all the work will pay off in the long run. — MZ
Nikki Jean – “Pennies In A Jar”
Murs – “Dreadlocks” — When my hair dangled past my shoulders four years ago, Hyphy joints gave me wings but Murs’ dedication to long manes just made it feel like man was born with the singular purpose of growing dreads. I was never more proud of my locks and I never regret cutting them more than in those four minutes. — Raj
Murs – “Dreadlocks”
UGK – “One Day”
Sure, UGK has more than their fair share of gleefully mindless trunk rattlers , but I’ve always been more drawn to the sombre side of Pimp C and Bun B. “One Day,” the first full song on their seminal album, Ridin’ Dirty, is a gorgeous production constructed from the Isley Brothers’ “Ain’t I Been Good to You”. The message of the song seems simple enough: live every day as if it were your last. More than that though, it’s about the precarious tightrope traversed by those brave enough to put that mantra into practice. — Samir S.
UGK – “One Day”
Toots & The Maytals – “Pressure Drop” — Snow has been reported on-and-off in the North for the better part of a month. Toots, Jimmy Cliff, Sublime and Bob Marley are warm acts that always make the cold winter months bearable for me. One of The Maytal’s most famous songs, “Pressure Drop” features harmonizing vocals over a simple, stripped-back guitar chord. Great to make you forget about the foot of snow that the weather man is predicting. – AJ
Toots & The Maytals – “Pressure Drop”
Gnarls Barkley – “Transformer” — A recent run through of Cee-Lo’s and Danger Mouse’s sonic adventure really showed how the album is still ahead of the curve. “Transformer” keeps the album’s schizophrenic pace going with a wild drum pattern and Cee-Lo’s mix of crooning and rapid fire rhymes. Too bad the LP as a whole wasn’t as widely appreciated as “Crazy.” — S. Cadet
Gnarls Barkley – “Transformer”
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