Forehead Kiss III Is For The Lovers by Maxwell Young

For all lovers of love and lovers of music.

Mix cover designed by The Kufi Smacker.

Mix cover designed by The Kufi Smacker.

Thomas, better known behind the ones and twos as "The Kufi Smacker," is likely to out aux chord you if you're about afro beats and grime music.

"I've been listening to grime since 2003," he said at Uptown Art House, running through b-sides from the pre-Skepta grime scene.  This is when the United Kingdom's garage genre by groups like The Streets still presided over radio waves.  "The first artist I heard was Kano or Dizzee Rascal."

Thomas is really just trying to dance.  FHKIII is representative of that fact, and it's just in time for you to catch the groove with your significant other on Valentine's Day.

"[Forehead Kiss] is the one kiss you give a girl that means she's the one.  You don't give them jawns out to anyone," he said about the inspiration behind his latest mix.

At 41 minutes, Thomas interlays a whole host of futuristic bounces to some familiar songs, new and old.  He covers the afro beat base with a remix of Juls' "Skin Tight," while later transitioning to a version of Masego's 2017 hit, "Navajo" that potentially sounds better than the original.  Around 22 minutes though, TKS hits this irresistible pocket remixing "Do For Love" into a perfect club joint.

Listen for yourself here, and if you're in D.C. don't miss him at 9:30 Club's Backbar on February 23.

Reviving Real's Mix for the 'Burgh by Alex Young

Illustrations by Yung Mulatto

Illustrations by Yung Mulatto

In an effort to connect the artistic communities of Pittsburgh's "big city small town," Reviving Real, a local clothing brand and collaborative platform, releases a music mix to showcase the city's thriving musical talent. The tape features unreleased music from underground champions who are bound to get the recognition they deserve. Reviving Real gives the artists on the mix momentum and exposure to grow the artists' audiences in the 'burgh and beyond. Also, "VOL 1" by R.R. diversifies the clothing label's content.

Additionally, music producer, cartoonist, and visual artist Yung Mulatto designed the cover art for Reviving Real's mix. To date, Mulatto is responsible for the artwork for several different projects. Most recently he helped young local rapper Blackboi with an interstellar doodle for his "ASTRO O2" album, a record about love and an end to Earth.  "Cover art is the visual connection with music. [You] can't see sound," Yung Mulatto says. His drawing, a style that takes cues from Danny Phantom and anime, provides creative direction for much of Pittsburgh's hip-hop scene. He says to look out for work with Benji, a rapper with a great live presence and band. Listeners can hear both Blackboi and Benji on the mix.

Moving forward, pay attention to the effort Reviving Real put forth as they support the music community in the Steel City. Watch for your ears because the mix they put together is entertaining thanks to the aforementioned characters and more like Mars Jackson, Isaiah Small, and James Perry. Peep the tracklist and do your research on the musicians.

Mix by Cautious Clay for InTheRough by Maxwell Young

Cautious Clay's biggest influences are soul and jazz because growing up that's what his parents were playing--I'm talking The Delfonics and crooners, like Jill Scott.  As he continues to hone his musicality on the flute and saxophone as well as the control of music production and beat making, his ear has always been pointed toward the future.  

I’m really about this future beats thing, just the concept and the perspective on music, like making music that’s oriented towards the future...making your own sound in a way that’s more respectively you, not just beats.
— Josh Karpeh AKA Cautious Clay

In Clay's exclusive mix for InTheRough, the past, present and future are beautifully amalgamated into a 19-minute groove.   We can hear the nostalgia of his upbringing as "Golden" by Jill Scott makes its way to the foreground, yet we also get a grasp of his ability to mesh contemporary sounds as he transitions to "Her" by Majid Jordan.  The futurism of Cautious Clay's track doesn't necessarily transport you to the year 2080, but the house synths, funky rhythms and piano melodies that move us in and out of each song within the mix are authentically his.  The array of sounds makes you move.  Listen to Clay's mix below and be sure to download it for future listening pleasures.