Funk/Soul Sistas: I made y’all a mixtape!


We’ve been having a lot of fun with music here on the Blog lately, and I thought to myself: How can it be even better? If only we could make mixtapes and stream them online!

So I Googled it, and lo-and-behold: SpotDJ. Once I had the technology, the question was what sort of theme should this mixtape be about? Handily enough, I’ve recently learned that neosoul divas Angie Stone and Jill Scott are both releasing new albums in the near future. Ms. Stone’s upcoming album, The Art of Love and War, will be released on Oct. 16 on the reactivated Stax Records label, and Jill Scott’s The Real Thing: Words and Sounds Vol. 3, comes out Sept. 25.

I love, love, love Angie Stone and Jill Scott. There’s just something about the no-nonsense yet down-and-deep quality of their lyrics and vocals that make me feel like this world is capable of creating wonderful things. Plus, they make sexy sound smart, and that’s just all good.

Sadly, Sept. 25 and Oct. 16 are really far away, so I thought I’d make a mixtape of songs inspired by Jill and Angie. I even made the audio player look like a retro cassette tape (remember when you used to spend hours actually recording things onto a cassette for that person you had a crush on?). The mix starts right after the jump (just hit play), and below that is the track listing with more info (and links to iTunes in case you want to snag the songs for yourself).

1. “Let Love” – Res

This rhythmic, hypnotic track from Res’ first album, How I Do (2001), makes me want to sip from an umbrella drink in the tropics and wear a sarong. I don’t know why!

2. “Sometimes …” – Erykah Badu

This song, from Badu’s 1997 album Baduizm, remains one of my favorites of hers even though she’s released several albums since then.

3. “U-Haul” – Angie Stone

Don’t be fooled: This song isn’t about a lesbian first date. It’s about getting the hell out, with a sense of humor: “Now take a look at what’s happening, this is tragic like when Michael left the Jacksons.”

4. “Shoo-B-Doop and Cop Him” – Betty Davis

Originally released in 1974, this track from funk queen Betty Davis (Miles Davis’ second wife), lays it all on the line: “I’m gonna do it till the cows come home/I’m gonna do it till the chicken crows.” Uh, yeah.

5. “My Joy” – Leela James

From James’ 2005 CD A Change Is Gonna Come, this song is an anthem about finding joy out of pain: “The hate you showed to me/Taught me how to love myself.” It’s a thinking woman’s “I Will Survive”!

6. “Gills and Tails” – Amel Larrieux

Every time I listen to Larrieux I’m struck by how airy and liquid her voice is, and this song from her album Morning (2006), fittingly, is about life below the water and a desire to breathe free.

7. “Devotion” – Ledisi

From the awesome cover album Interpretations: Celebrating the Music of Earth Wind & Fire, Ledisi delivers a simply inspired version of the classic song. I also just learned that Ledisi is releasing a new album, Lost and Found, on Aug. 28; go here to listen to parts of the album.

8. “My Myself and I” – Beyoncé

If there’s one song on this mix that’s a guilty pleasure, I’d have to say it’s ‘Me Myself and I.'” (As opposed to other Beyoncé songs like “Naughty Girl,” which are simply pleasures. Wink.)

9. “No One Will Do” – Mary J. Blige

Nobody turns soul into pop R&B as expertly as MJB, and this song, from her 2005 album The Breakthrough, was stuck in my head for weeks when I first heard it (and that was a good thing).

10. “Cross My Mind” – Jill Scott

This quiet number, which builds into an unexpected yet characteristically Jill Scott-like ending, is hands-down my favorite Jill Scott track. So far.

11. “Make a Move” – Hanifah Walidah

This song, from out musician Hanifah Walidah’s album Once Upon It Is, is a motivating groove about, well, making a move. Don’t just sit there, talk to her! None of these women would be wallflowers, would they?

Bonus Track: Angie has already released the first single from The Art of Love and War, an addictive song called “Baby.” Here’s the video:

So that’s my mixtape for ya! Which funk/soul sistas did I miss?

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