DCT – Moonlight Vibin’

Looks like it’s my turn on the Urbanizm Music spotlight – I must admit that I often feel conflicted when I think about posting my music here…though not too conflicted, since I end up doing it anyway. This Mega Man X5 arrangement is one of the few tracks of mine I can actually step outside of “creator mode” and vibe to (no pun intended); I was really proud of what I’d done here and having it be my second song to be posted on OverClocked ReMix opened the door for a lot of people to listen and enjoy it too. Check it out; maybe you’ll start vibin’ along too (pun intended).

DOWNLOAD: DCT – MOONLIGHT VIBIN’

Joshua Morse – Bramble Reprise

Up next on this week’s Urbanizm Music showcase is Bramble Reprise, a Donkey Kong Country 2 arrangement by UM artist/webmaster Joshua Morse. There isn’t too much to say about this one; the music does all the talking – JM definitely enhanced the chill nature of DKC2’s Stickerbrush Symphony and added his own touches to it. It’s easily one of my favorite songs of his – dig it.

DOWNLOAD: JOSHUA MORSE – BRAMBLE REPRISE (right-click, ‘save as…’)

Dale North – Right Out of the Blue

Dale North - Right Out of the Blue

Today is a very important day for me: 6 years ago today, my record label, Urbanizm Music, officially went live. In these past 6 years, there have been some extremely productive times and some not-so-productive times, but my fellow Urbanizm artists and I have always strove to bring our fans and supporters the best music we could. All this week, I’m gonna be showcasing some of my favorite tracks from my fellow Urbanizm artists.

Up first is Dale North‘s debut album, Right Out of the Blue. After 5 years, this is still one of my favorite albums. As Dale says in the liner notes, this album doesn’t make any attempts to be conventional or commercial; that might be the most appealing thing about it. Even more impressive is the fact that barring a couple instrumental solos, Dale did all the songwriting/producing/arranging/engineering/mastering himself – this is his album in every sense. If you want an album to chill to, this is a great album for you.

PURCHASE: DALE NORTH – RIGHT OUT OF THE BLUE

Hidden Beach Recordings – Unwrapped, vol. 7

Hidden Beach Presents Unwrapped Vol. 7

I’m a few months behind on this one, but it’s better late than never. Hidden Beach Recordings has been releasing volumes of their awesome Unwrapped series for years, and over the summer they released Volume 7. For those who aren’t aware, Unwrapped basically takes popular hip hop tracks from stars such as 50 Cent, Eminem, Busta Rhymes, Drake, and others, and turns them into smooth jazz awesomeness. Volume 7 may be one of my faves though, as Wu-Tang’s C.R.E.A.M., Pete Rock & CL Smooth’s T.R.O.Y., and Nas’s If I Ruled the World – possibly my favorite track in the entire series – are some of the tunes that get the Unwrapped treatment this go-around. Check out some previews on Hidden Beach’s Soundcloud page, then order a copy for your own…then get volumes 1-6.

PURCHASE: HIDDEN BEACH RECORDINGS – UNWRAPPED, VOL. 7

Mark Hill – Amaryllistic

Mark Hill - Amaryllistic

Mark Hill of Artful Dodger is already one of the coolest guys ever, since he did some writing and production on one of my favorite albums ever, Craig David’s Born to Do It. This song, Amaryllistic, is NOTHING like anything on Born to Do It. This is sleeping-pill-caliber chill, and I don’t mean that as an insult; this song has been keeping me extra-relaxed while I battle this sickness. I wouldn’t be surprised if some yoga or Pilates instructors took to using this song in their classes. Incidentally, this song is a demo from an upcoming album Mark is working on…wouldn’t it be fun to hear yours truly contribute to an album like this? (Well, you can’t blame me for trying.)

DOWNLOAD: MARK HILL – AMARYLLISTIC

Mary J. Blige – Be Without You (Manny Faces Remix)

Mary J. Blige - Be Without You

I decided to crawl out of my sickbed to spotlight one of my favorite remixes, by one of my remixing inspirations and a guy who was kind enough to shout out our little site recently, Manny Faces. It’s tough to single one of Manny’s remixes as my favorite, but his version of MJB‘s Be Without You would definitely be a front-runner. The original already has a timeless feel to it, but you can’t tell me that you couldn’t imagine this remix getting play in the 80s alongside Lionel Richie or somebody like that. About this remix, Manny’s mentioned, “I REALLY love me for this one;” we can allow him a little braggadocio, cuz this is SLICK.

DOWNLOAD: MARY J. BLIGE – BE WITHOUT YOU (MANNY FACES REMIX) (right click, ‘save as…’)

McVaffe – Vega’s Ballad

I first heard this song almost a decade ago, and I still cannot wrap my brain around how McVaffe was able to transform the Vega Stage music from Street Fighter II from an ultra-Latin piece into a smoothed-out R&B joint; the man is either a genius or on some wonderful drugs. If I’m not mistaken, this was the first tune I heard from Mike, after stumbling onto a little site called OverClocked ReMix back in ’01. I could easily see this on the radio with the right lyrics written (although this style of R&B unfortunately isn’t as prevalent as it was when McV wrote this). The music video that McVaffe made for this song is putting me in the mood to play SFII, so….bye!

DOWNLOAD: MCVAFFE – VEGA’S BALLAD

Maxwell – The Lady in My Life (cover)

If you’re a singer, doing a cover of a popular song can be a tricky thing for 2 main reasons: 1) people are often so used to the original version, that trying to put your own spin on it won’t go over well, and 2) oftentimes the artist doing the cover will stay so true to the original that it will sound like karaoke at best and a bad American Idol audition at worst. Taking this into consideration, doing a cover of a Michael Jackson song can be disastrous because one of the most celebrated figures in the history of music did that song before you. The video above, which shows Maxwell covering MJ’s The Lady in My Life at a Grammy nomination special earlier this year, is an example of a cover done right. He stays relatively true to the original, but still puts his “brand” on it, even down to him stating he wants to “give you a back rub” and “paint your toenails” – no comment. I still wish Maxwell would release a studio version of this, but I’m not gonna hold my breath.

If you’ve been living under a rock since 1982 and never heard Michael Jackson’s original, cop it below and compare the two. And while you’re at it, check out the LiML-sampling Hey Lover from LL Cool J, who introduced Maxwell in the above video.

PURCHASE: MICHAEL JACKSON – THE LADY IN MY LIFE

Wish – Skool Gurl Diaries (Reloaded)

Wish - Skool Gurl Diaries (Reloaded)

If you’re an R&B fan who’s on the net, you’ve noticed that Wish‘s Suga Daddy is EVERYWHERE – and I take personal pride in knowing that we were one of the first sites to post it. =)

In the interest of providing a bit of “history” on Wish, we’re posting her first album, Skool Gurl Diaries. This is how I first found out about her, after our mutal friend Cathryn Marie posted a catchy little tune called Slut (Gimme a “S”); I’ve been hooked ever since. As much love as Wish and her songwriter Donny Roc got for this album, I’m surprised it didn’t get even bigger than it did. This was an incredibly written/performed/produced collection of tunes (although personal preference still could have done without the unnecessary Auto-Tune). In any event, vibe out to this album, listen to Suga Daddy if you haven’t already (if you have, listen to it again), and anticipate Stripdown knowing that you’re all caught up!

DOWNLOAD: WISH – SKOOL GURL DIARIES (RELOADED) (right click, ‘save as…’)

Hope – Love Love Love

Hope - Love Love Love

How in the world am I just finding out about Hope? Her voice is incredible, her songs are ultra-catchy, she’s had music placed in movie soundtracks, AND she’s from upstate New York! This song, Love Love Love, is perky and bubbly and needs to be in a romantic comedy as soon as possible. The tweets have it that a video for this song is on it’s way, so I’m definitely looking forward to that. Hopefully (no pun intended) Hope will get the props she deserves when her debut album drops.

EDIT: Just as she promised, here’s the video with Jason Mraz!

PURCHASE: HOPE – LOVE LOVE LOVE

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