Henlo <3 May 2019's Moods mix is from the bb Matt Parent (@m-parent), the cunning connoisseur of unique electronique—and here, shows us his in-depth dive on hip hop and R&B from 1993-1995. For the tracklist, interview, and more, head below. wheeee!
Parent grew up in a suburb of Hartford in southeastern Connecticut "in a town where young families were flocking to raise their kids in the 1980s and 90s," he mentions. "This meant there were a lot of kids in the neighborhood, getting together every day after school to explore the woods and streams that surrounded our homes, exercising our bodies and imaginations. Eventually we’d head to someone’s house to warm up and inevitably, we’d turn on MTV." Mind you—this was 1993—so MTV was still a source for discovering music.
"One fateful afternoon, my friends and I were hanging in my basement and watching MTV roll out with some new videos. We were probably debating which Mortal Kombat character was the best, when all of a sudden there was an explosion on television. It was followed by audio from a Kung Fu movie. We were glued to the TV as the hook came in, 'WU TANG CLAN AIN’T NUTTIN’ TO BLEEEEEP WIT...' The beat hadn’t even kicked in yet and our eyes were bulging out of our heads with amazement. What. The. BLEEP. Was. This?! It was, of course, Wu Tang’s premiere video from their debut album. We were entranced."
1993 was also the national rise of Shaquille O’Neal (his second year with Orlando Magic), and Parent was obsessed. "CDs were starting to become the new medium for music and my parents belonged to a mail order club Columbia Hosue. They graciously allowed me to select an album every time they ordered. So when I saw Shaq’s mug on the cover of one of the CDs, I knew which album I was selecting." This, of couse, was Shaq Diesel, an album that Parent says "knocks almost as hard as what was coming out of Shaolin, albeit with some classic Shaq cheese."
Wu and Shaq were big entry points for Parent: the hardcore, unrelenting, chopped hip hop sounds of NYC energized him into his teen years (and still to this day, of course). "The style and personas that these artists took on fueled my creative side. I’d listen to KISS 95.7 and stay up late on the weekends to try and record to cassette any form of that nasty New York sound that was trickling up north." Which, ultimately, why this mix is such an ode to New York City from 1993-1995.
Dance music, then techno, entered the conversation after Parent began recording cassette mixtapes off of late night sets from KISS 95.7. "I’d listen to these tapes on the bus ride to school or bump them when my friends and I played basketball in someone’s driveway. I’d also make copies of these tapes for friends who were interested." Two mainstays: Technotronic’s Pump Up The Jam for its "fresh female vocal hooks" and Tag Team’s Whoomp There It Is for its "braggadocious, slamming fury." From there came a move to NYC, which opened doors further to bar scenes, clubs, techno, and a community that was also drawn to music that set a stage.
"To me these tracks sounded like they were made to soundtrack our basketball pickup games. I remember that one day we lowered the hoop enough so that we could slam dunk at the exact same time the hook came in with WHOMP! Like the New York hardcore hip hop sound, they oozed energy.
The last words from the artist: You’re all that I need. I’ll be there for you. if you keep it real with me, I’ll keep it real with you.
★ Das EFX - Interlude
★Digable Planets - Pacifics
★ AZ - Rather Unique
★ Mobb Deep - Give Up The Goods
★ Nas - The World Is Yours
★ A Tribe Called Quest - Midnight
★ Big L feat Missy jones - M.V.P. (Summer Smooth Mix)
★ Total feat. The Notorious B.I.G. - Can’t You See
★ Method Man feat. Mary J Blige - You’re All I Need
★ Aaliyah - Back and Forth
★ Shaquille O’Neal - I Hate 2 Brag
★ Das EFX - Freak IT
★ Ol’ Dirty Bastard - Shimmy Shimmy Ya
★ Smif-N-Wessun - Home Sweet Home
★ Gang Starr - Code of the Streets
★ Lords of the Underground — Chief Rocka
★ Boogiemonsters - Bronx Bombas
★ Fugees - Killing Me Softly
I've paired M Parent's mix with a still from John Akomfrah's Purple from 2017. This is a match that I'm particularly excited about, primarily because both artists mine hours and hours of content—primarily black-centered—and use it to tell stories through juxtapositions: Parent with 90s NYC tracking to suburban bball games and Akomfrah matching found with new footage to tell tales of identity, change, and global culture. I particularly love the specific still of this man standing against the massive saucer echoing out across the land (a nod here to KISS 95.7's role in Parent's upbringing).
For more about John, check this video out here :)
To keep up to date with M Parent, head here :)
M Parent's lovely portrait is also credited to Krystal Bordoni-Cowley :)