Janelle Monáe- Q.U.E.E.N.
The lyrics alone make Q.U.E.E.N. one of my favorite jams from 2013. Janelle Monáe has created a lyrical mantra for the marginalized, with verses such as “Even if it makes others uncomfortable I will love who I am,” and from her powerful flow at the end: “You can take my wings but I’m still gonna fly//And even when you edit me the booty don’t lie.” Rhythmically, this track is straight funky. And as if this song couldn’t get any better, Erykah Badu makes a guest appearance. Finally, the video: YES.
Dubbel Dutch – Dip So
When listening to Dubbel Dutch’s promotional mix for their upcoming Cloud Club EP on Mixpak, I was already pretty into it. Then around the 17 minute mark I heard Dip So and FLIPPED OUT. The infectious swirling synths, hard-hitting tropical bass rhythm and sped-up dancehall vocals make Dip So one of my favorite club anthems of 2013.
Beyoncé – Blow
A few weeks ago, Beyoncé quietly released her self-titled full-length album while most of us were sleeping. My favorite track off of the album is Blow, particularly because of the video. The video for Blow, set in a skating rink, has an 80’s Miami vibe with great lighting, neon outfits and brilliant tributes to Donna Summer, Rick James, and Prince. The track itself is a funky disco jam produced by Pharrell Williams that makes me want to throw on some skates and roller-dance with Beyoncé and her crew.
Princess Nokia – Versace Hottie
Princess Nokia’s deliciously anti-social lyrics (“I don’t like nobody…”) amid a dark, grimy rhythmic backdrop makes this the perfect track to drop for a crowd of sweaty, sexy queers around 1:30am.
Ejeca – Night Rays
I mean, technically this came out in 2012, but it feels like such a big part of 2013 for me that I have to include it. The second I heard the evocative synth lines on this deep house thumper released on W&O Street Tracks, I had it on repeat immediately. Part of Night Rays’ appeal for me is the element of 90’s nostalgia present throughout the track. Ejeca was brought up on 90’s garage house and it definitely shows.
Favorite Hybrid Genre
The greatest part of scouring for music in 2013 is when I discovered that two of my favorite rhythmic styles, footwork and jungle, are now being combined. This type of production has been going on for a few years, but I just caught wind of it so I have been celebrating with it on full blast all year long. Om Unit (under the alias of Phillip D. Kick for awhile), DJ Rashad, Machinedrum, and The Renegades are some producers whose tracks I keep coming back to. Below are a few of my favorites:
Machinedrum – Gunshotta (Om Unit’s Rollers VIP)
Atetraxx – Rudelord (The Renegades Mix)
The Renegades – Omega Ray
DJ Spinn and DJ Rashad – Take Her
Brenmar for SSENSE – History of Chicago
In History of Chicago, Brenmar tracks the progression of Chicago booty house from the mid-1980’s until the mid 2000’s in a seamless mix that I vigorously dance to alone in my living room on the regular. I am really looking forward to incorporating more booty house (and footwork/jungle) into my DJ sets in 2014.
Jessica Dilday serves as the assistant website editor for IASPM-US. Her interests include local music scenes, dance floor dynamics, queer theory and musical nostalgia. She is also a DJ, producer and promoter of queer-friendly dance parties in North Carolina.