KEEP IT ROTATING

Try and expand your music taste outside your normal flavors. Variety is the spice of life. This is something I really try to implement in my everyday life as much as possible. Sure, there are plenty of things I do that are incredibly regimented. For the most part, people could guess the meals I cook for myself, what I do every morning, and habits both good and bad I have absorbed overtime. But when an opportunity strikes to try something new, I am usually pretty keen on it. For me, it’s stuff like this: make a different coffee (both style and beans), pick something new off a menu, ride a different surfboard, try and surf different spots, and switch up workouts/wellness methods. You’ll never know if you are missing out on something until you try it. 

This principle/idea is ever so prevalent in something I do (and most of you probably do daily). Whether it’s working, driving, working out, or even just lounging around, you most likely have music playing. The only time I really don’t is when I am reading and when I am surfing. If I could have it playing while I surfed, I would. “What? Sorry I couldn’t hear you behind me I was bumping Savage Mode II”. Only in a dream world. 

Some may be scoffing at me talking about this, as I have always portrayed the image of a heavy rap listener. This is incredibly true. 90% of the time when you hop in the CR-V, there is some hip hop playing. For some reason, driving to rap is just something I can’t really let go. I don’t know if it’s just the best music for it, and I am sure not everyone agrees on that statement, but for me it’s just right. And if it’s not right, I don’t want to be right. Nothing pumps me up for whatever I am doing to do when I get out of the car like some of my favorite artists over hard hitting 808s and drums. 

However, when I am in the office (whether at the desk in my room or in the literal office), I typically have to keep it rotating. Even with the large amount of good music that has came out recently in the hip hop category, I still have been listening to music in shifts most of the time. An album of this, a couple hours of that, a podcast, and one last vibe to hop into before closing up shop for the day. The rotation keeps it refreshing. I have both playlists and saved albums that can easily take me from one end of the spectrum to the other. As soon as an album finishes or it’s time to flip, it’s a click away.

One main reason this is a really refreshing exercise for me is that in the hip-hop realm, I tend to stay in current times or even somewhat recent eras. Sure, every now and then I play older stuff. But not nearly enough as other genres. The way music was made ten to twenty years ago is so different it’s insane. And that is definitely half the fun for me. When I hop into my blues playlist, I hear Bill Withers, Curtis Mayfield, and Al green. All their music was made long before I was even born. The sonics and just feel of the music is largely different than that of the music of the 2010s. In other genres, a great deal of the material I listen to is older, and has some little nostalgia to an early time in my life. All the different sounds take me to different places.

My blues playlist is perfect for stretching and early mornings with little caffeine. My reggae playlist is a go-to for window down drives (when not bumping rap) or barbecues at home. My electronic music takes me back to my high school music taste and gets me fired up to tackle whatever in the right setting. My rock/“band” albums and playlist get me into a nostalgic era. Long story short: listen to different kinds of music. While you are at it, there’s not a better time to check out HIMOTHY BEATS, my producer alias. My catalog is growing quickly and isn’t going to stop expanding anytime soon. 

Quarantine Quintuplets

Can ya believe it? Still locked down and cooped up. How quickly could the world absolutely be turned upside down. When this was first coming on, I never would have anticipated the extremes in which it has gotten to. Never in my lifetime have we had such strange and turbulent times. Where seeing friends and meeting strangers is a bad move. Going into public is frowned upon.  We are spending a lot of time with our house. Or an apartment. You might be spending time with family. Or your roommates. Or total isolation. Either way you splice it, every one of us is having our social sanity taken away, and we are unsure when it will come back (for good reason, I am no way against social distancing and quarantining). This time alone is going to grow stale quicker than it came on in the first place. Whether it’s working from home or just cruising around the crib, you might as well take some time to try new things. Yesterday, I tried this thing called “Coffee Soda”, in which I mixed cold brew with tonic water and squeezed a quarter of a lemon into it. You would surely only do that if you had been locked inside your house for 2 weeks. It actually tasted really good. As a coffee snob and coffee purist, I thought there was no way I’d like it. And that’s the point. We should be trying new things we never thought we would do in this quarantine time, simply to pass the time and maybe find new things to adore. 

Now is a good time to listen to good music. If your life were a movie (and not like IG clout-chasers saying “Yo, last night was a movie”), the pictures associated with it would grow tiresome quickly. But maybe if you put a fire soundtrack behind the monotony it could be slightly more tolerable. I imagine walking to the kettle to turn on the hot water for coffee as an example. If I sequenced that to Al Green, you would think it’s another mellow early morning. But maybe if I put it to some wild techno or heavy bass rap, you would think something different was going to happen afterwards. No matter what, the next thing that was going to happen was the grinding of the beans. But the music could make you think otherwise.

We all have our go to sounds and the music we bump on the daily, pandemic or no pandemic.  However, you might get tired of your normal wheelhouse of tunes, and be looking for something new to spice up the rotation during these quarantine times. So here is a small gift for all social distancing: I’m going to call it a 5×5. A pentagon. 5 genres and 5 songs from each genre. Maybe you’ll discover a new song you like. Maybe after listening to 5 songs, you might have a changed mind about the certain sound. Maybe you’ll still hate rap music. While there are tons of sub-genres and all that jazz (no pun intended), the 5 in this rotation are to the writers preferences: Hip-hop, Rock, Electronic, Reggae, and Blues. Hit play. Shuffling them is up to you. 

(If I can’t get the embedded player to work, here’s a list of the 25 tracks):

[Peso-A$AP Rocky, Cabin Fever-Wiz Khalifa, Murder To Excellence- Jay-Z & Kanye West, Gatti-Popsmoke & Travis Scott, Soundtrack 2 My Life-Kid Cudi, Call It What You Want-Foster The People, Up All Night-The War On Drugs, Easy Tiger-Portugal, The Man, The Longest Wave-Red Hot Chili Peppers, Lost In Yesterday-Tame Impala, Land Of Promise-Nas & Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley, Sorry-SOJA, Reelin-Iration, Stone Love-Pepper, True To Myself-Ziggy Marley, Wall Fuck-Flume, Runaway (U&I)-Galantis, Happy Violence-Dada Life, The Half-DJ Snake, The City(with QuinnXCII)-Louis The Child), I’m Still in Love with You-Al Green, Cigarettes and Coffee-Otis Redding, What’s Going On-Marvin Gaye, Pusherman-Curtis Mayfield, Changes-Charles Bradley]

On Playlists: Different ways to carve out a sound.

A playlist is a special thing. It is a type of thing that can change your mood. Something that when paired with the right setting just feels too right. Crafting a good playlist is like striking gold. The less skips you have while a playlist flows speaks to how good of a medley of songs it is.

On Genres.

One way to categorize the sound you are trying to capture is by genre. For a lot (including myself), a certain type of music can set you in trance depending on the situation. A relaxed reggae or rock playlist helps ease into mornings and nights when needed. Guaranteed my Hip-hop and EDM playlists gets the amp up. Playlist that live in genres can sometimes get stale, when you are looking for a certain mindset across multiple genres.

On Locations/Feelings.

In a similar sense to above, for example would be songs to get you excited, across all genres. Some R&B songs can give you the same sense of a classic rock song. There are all different ways to pair genres and artists, like fine wine and cheese. This playlist in contrast to the genre playlist requires more curating. If you have filer based on loosely the vibe of the playlist or just add too much of some artists, it too can start sounding like a broken record.

On Driving.

Some songs just sound different in the whip. Whether you got some knocking speakers or just having windows down blasting with the sun roof ajar, it’s just a whole different intake. This playlist typically needs to be a medley of genres, also with a good ratio of bangers and cruisers. This paragraph is super bro-ey, but for kind of for a reason. There’s really nothing more obnoxious than playing music really loud, but sometimes it is necessary.

On Concerts.

A playlist consisting of concerts upcoming and already over can really bring back the classic sounds of live music. Even when not literally the live rendition, hearing those songs after a festival or concert can jog the memory bank to replay in your head, but the live version. If prior to the concert, it just makes you imagine how songs will sounds live, either to be blown or away or disappointed. Some people say you should listen to these playlists the days of concerts. That’s a hot take.

On Memories.

One of the coolest things about being a Spotify user is your year in songs: the top 100 songs of your year. There’s a good chance the songs you played the most will reenact certain memories, since you always had those tracks banging. Almost promised to have zero skips, this is an incredibly consist playlist to put you in a good mood while reliving the old memories and creating new ones.

On Artists.

Everyone has that one artist that makes the hair on his or her skin stick up. The one who can’t put out any bad music, and is played daily. This playlist is the one that doesn’t get old, and really makes a statement about the music you love. Play it on repeat and enjoy the sounds.