Month: February 2013

Bilal – “All For Love” (2006)

This week Bilal Oliver unveiled his much-anticipated album, A Love Surreal. While the effort marks his third official studio release, most fans know it’s actually his fourth album. Love For Sale, which should have been his second commercial release, never saw the light of day after gun-shy executives shelved the project indefinitely. (His then-label Interscope decided the project was unmarketable after the project leaked.)

Although the project ended up in major label purgatory, promotional CDs and white label vinyl pressings ended up in circulation worldwide. Many of the songs from the project have become staples in Bilal’s live set, and “All For Love” remains one of Mr. Oliver’s greatest works. Equal parts folk, soul, and blues, the underground favorite may have actually had a decent shot at crossover success. This heartfelt reflection on love lost is haunting in the most beautiful way possible, and certainly worth a second spin.

Words by @BrotherHayling

Bilal feat. Robert Glasper – Butterfly (Audio) (2013)

Bilal’s latest offering, A Love Surreal, is vivid. Even in its most brooding moments, the music seems to pop with an unexpected vibrancy. It hits and you should be ready for it.

Initially, I wanted to explore the first proper track from the album, a song that has already received considerable coverage, but definitely deserving of another look.
Bilal – West Side Girl “West Side Girl” is a lyrical birthday party. It’s just fun. I must have played that song for a half-hour straight, just so I could master the vocal cadences to lines like…

“Well, if the Devil wears Prada, this is Hell
It gets hot when you close to me
Love, drug, potion me
Burn like 151
I think it’s so much fun, girl”

All of a sudden, I’m dancing around my room; falling in love with a girl I haven’t even met yet. Lyrical 151. It’s that kind of real.

So, the plan was to do an in-depth exploration of that song and call it a day. But I told myself that I needed to finish the album first. Because every relationship needs closure.

And that’s when I happened upon “Butterfly.”

This is the track that completely contradicts that sonic buoyancy I referenced earlier. This one’s for the midnight sessions.
Bilal – Butterfly feat. Robert Glasper Bilal and Robert Glasper. That’s all the moment requires. And it’s an appropriate simplicity. A composition this tender needn’t be layered in grandiosity. Real emotion is raw and naked, just like this.

Again, there isn’t much to even expound upon. This is doing a lot with very little. To set a mood is to elicit feelings buried underneath. You do so not with hyper-aggressive overtures, but with a subtlety deserving of a response. This was a flawlessly executed endeavor. Modern balladeers, relax and takes notes.

I will say this. If the Black Jesus I pray to every night does, in fact, exist, we will get some sort of joint project from the two. Their chemistry is frightening in the most beautiful ways I’ve ever heard. Masters at work, I thank you.


Written By: Paul Pennington
Bilal - A Love Surreal

Gilles Peterson’s Tributes to Donald Byrd

If you are going to do a tribute mix on a legend like Donald Byrd, who we recently lost, the most important thing is to be thorough.

Fortunately, the worldwide musical personality known as Gilles Peterson released his two part series that pays an excellent tribute to Donald Byrd, which are aptly named The Acoustic Years and The Electric Years. Knowing it came from Gilles Peterson, there is one thing that we know for sure. It’s Thorough.

For someone who is a life long fan, someone who is not too familiar with the work of Donald Byrd, or someone who just wants much of his work organized in one place, this is a must listen. Gilles also adds his own insight, which is always welcomed and appreciated.

Thank you, Gilles Peterson, and of course, this couldn’t be possible without the musical contributions of Donald Byrd. Rest in Peace.

Please note that the above artwork was not officially released with the mix. It is exclusive to 70×

Little Brother: 10 Years Later, We’re Still Listening

Today we revisit a classic album on the day of it’s release, The Listening by Little Brother.

Giorgio Moroder – Theme From Midnight Express (1978)

This obscure sample from this great producer is accompanied by a short film that is a great representation of vintage film.

OutKast – “Roaches and Rats” (c. 1996)

In late 2005, André and Antwan had the music world waiting with bated breath as they prepared their feature film debut Idlewild and its accompanying soundtrack. On the heels of the universally acclaimed Speakerboxxx/The Love Below, longtime fans and new comers were waiting after three years of silence from the Southernplayalistic emcees. While the duo’s sixth studio album didn’t quite live up to expectations, a one-off leak months ahead of the release still demands repeated spins after the forgettable album has faded from memory.

Recorded in the early years of OutKast and Organized Noize’s groundbreaking partnership, the actual recording of “Roaches and Rats” was made years before it’s late 2005 leak. The single’s laidback, jazzy vibe harkens to their 1996 sophomore record ATLiens, and is a must have for any longtime listener.

Words by @BrotherHayling

The Cannonball Adderley Sextet (Live) (1963)

Cannonball Adderley – Alto Sax
Nat Adderley – Cornet
Yusef Lateef – Tenor Sax, Flute, Oboe
Joe Zawinul – Piano
Sam Jones – Bass
Louis Hayes – Drums


The Art of Digging According to Wajeed

A video from Wajeed shows us the importance and value of searching for the perfect record, especially the ones that are often overlooked.

Tony Williams: Life Time

Carled extensively recalls the greatness that is Tony Williams, a drummer that lived a full life in a short amount of time.

BrotherSpanky- “365 (Valentine’s Day)” (2011)

Since the advent of music recording, the love song has been the most crowded topical territory by far. Whether you’re celebrating new love or lamenting heartbreak, chances are you’re just one click away from finding dozens of appropriate tunes for the occasion. With enough romantic tunes on your iPod to fill up the whole Hallmark section, why celebrate “Valentine’s Day” through song yet again?

Far from cliché, this independent release from BrotherSpanky was one of several carefully crafted songs from his 2011 Soul Beauty 2: The Love EP, which featured the producer on all instruments, production, and vocal duties. The good brother takes a step back from the usual 2/14 romantic fare, accompanying the tune with visuals that spotlight his DIY creative process from soup to nuts. Elements of Motown, disco, and funk, create an intimate soundscape for this D.C.-based auteur to paint shades of true love— even if you’re able to fight the urge to soulclap along with the soulful outro, chances are you’ll want to revisit this one all twelve months of the year.

Words by @BrotherHayling


Freddie Hubbard – Sky Dive (1973) (Audio)

An album that should be in the minds of any Jazz fan, as well as any Hip Hop producer

ORD 2 SFO: The Travels of Sev Seveer

The travels of Sev Seveer are a personal journey that teaches a life lesson that we can all learn from.

Parabéns, Sérgio Mendes (Sérgio Mendes & Brasil ’66)

Happy Birthday to an iconic figure in Brazilian music, Mr. Sérgio Mendes.