The Affix A-List, Episode 1: Urban Redefined

For all of its' contemporary clout (9 out of the top 10 on the Billboard Hot 100, 8 out of the iTunes Top 10 Singles this week), Urban Music has surprisingly long, deep roots. Indeed, many of todayʼs urban hits draw their influences from Jazz, Blues, Gospel, Rock, and Pop music.  Long gone are the days when "Urban" meant ghettos and guns, drugs and danger.  Even one of the godfathers of gangsta, Snoop Dogg, has gone mainstream - he appears on the latest Katy Perry smash, “California Gurls.”  We live in a new age where demographics are classified by age and attitude rather than race and region, and no genre crosses more lines than Urban Music.  In this edition of The Affix A-List, we take a look at some of the music that is helping to rebrand Urban Music as the global force that it is. 1. [wpaudio url="" text="Leave Me Be - Dave Herrero" dl="0"] Herrero may be based in Austin, but "Leave Me Be" comes express mailed from a Mississippi juke joint. It doesnʼt get bluer.

2. [wpaudio url="" text="Ride - Nappy Roots" dl="0"] The beat is authentically Hip Hop, but both the melody and the hook are based on acoustic guitar licks.

3. [wpaudio url="" text="Tristate - Mayhem" dl="0"] This electronic instrumental track points techno, trance, and drum and bass influences while incorporating various synth sounds. The sub bass and syncopated rhythm are decidedly dubstep.

4. [wpaudio url="" text="Neighborhood - Rhansum" dl="0"] This one rocks. Heavy electric guitars and a bridge with background vocals straight off an AC/DC arena rocker mesh amazingly well with the rap lead vocals.

5. [wpaudio url="" text="Whatʼs Going On 2010 - Brown" dl="0"] The Marvin Gaye nod goes beyond the title as Brown asks a new generation to examine themselves and their motives in this Hip-Rock tune.

6.  [wpaudio url="" text="Swagger Black Country Queen (Explicit) - Richelle Brown" dl="0"] If Urban is about attitude, then itʼs hard to be more Urban than Richelle Brown. This elecro-funk track hits hard and when Brown sings, you believe her.

7.  [wpaudio url="" text="Straight Pop - The Agency" dl="0"] A rolling piano riff drives this instrumental tune that would be as at home on a Coldplay album as it would on an Alicia Keys release.

8. [wpaudio url="" text="My Friend The Martian - SMKA" dl="0"] The prevailing synth leads on this record seem to be a tip of the hat to the big band horn sections of yesteryear, while the percussion blends a Latin influence with a more modern, drumline feel.

9.  [wpaudio url="" text="Two Sides To A Story - PVD" dl="0"] Upright bass, flute leads, and roomy snare fills...this one is a cigar and a martini away from a classic Jazz club.

10. [wpaudio url="" text="Harmonious - Mr. Fish" dl="0"] This instrumental track blends Rock guitar, bluesy harmonica and Latin drum feels - certainly an appropriate conclusion to the “Urban Redefined” edition of The Affix A-List.

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