1 in 3 African American males between ages 15 and 25 is rotting in a prison cell. every year, the CIA pumps 60 BILLION dollars worth of narcotics, mainly crack and heroin, into the ghettos (source Mike Rupert, political commentator, ex-CIA, ex-LAPD). education and pulling-up-by-bootstraps for a people systematically marginalised, disempowered, and disenfranchised for multiple generations is much, much easier said then done.

gangsterism is a grave and serious problem in the black community. drug dealing, prostitution, and petty violence breaks up families, leaves lives ruined (or very prematurely over), and perpetuates a culture of despair.

but there is a reason young people the world over (and millions of older folks too, like me ha) love gangsta-rap. and there is a reason why i hear Dirty-South Hiphop in high-end shopping centers in unlikely parts of Europe. and the reason is this -- there is something in the ghettos, in the projects, in the concrete-cotton-fields, that the rest of the world is missing, that the rest of us envy, want, and need:

a raw vitality, a life-or-death urgency, and a visceral in-the-moment experience of life.

this mix is a collection of some of my personal all time favorite contemporary Rap from Houston, Memphis, Atlanta, etc. --- what is known as the Dirty South sound. in addition to some of the fiercest flows since invention of the microphone, there are lots of new production ideas, wicked electronic sounds and textures, and other formal innovations in terms of the hiphop cannon -- Maceo's Nextel Chirp (track 06) for example: East-Coast snobs need to take some notes (and get your game out of the coma it's been in). steering clear of the likes of 50 Cent and Outkast (not because they too "mainstream" but because i don't like their music), most of the big names in the underground are represented, including the illest tracks from the biggest mixtape series on the circuit. i wanted to keep it fresh, in the 2000s, so lots and lots of amazing shit from the past, such as early 90s Triple Six, Ghetto Boys, UGK, or joints from the early No Limit / Cash Money days, are not included. and instead of focusing on tripped out songs about weed and drank, or nasty songs about fucking and sucking, this mix is all about the meanest, darkest, bleakest, most brutal, thugged out and straight BANGIN' tunes i could get my grubby hands on in the summer of 2006. an hour long white-knuckled, blood-shot adrenaline rush, like an eightball to the brain.

to be sure, these are songs about drugs, guns, hos, and money. but if you look beyond the lyrics at face value, this music is about more than that. from the hopeless frustrations and beyond-desperate situations of life in dog-eat-dog abject poverty there arises a fearless and un-stoppable expression of rage and deep seated resentment toward pervasive, pandemic oppression, toward a state which continually sanctions and perpetrates the murder and torture of its own (second class) citizens.

i sometimes fantasize about all these rappers putting political messages directly, upfront in their songs, instead of as (largely) unacknowledged subtext. what if they directed their anger at the system, instead of at eachother... (and instead of shooting up the neighborhood, burning down Beverly Hills) but this is largely impossible for mainly 2 reasons: 1. it would not be allowed, radio plays will stop for artists that decide to do this, and other ignorant thugs will take their place. and 2. this music is BORN of thug-life, and it will, sure as the earth is round or we all die some day, continue to be what it has been. it really is a sad, sad situation with no end in sight. and we must all remember that, even as we get hype and bounce to this mix.

the majority of visitors to this blog will be at best not into this kind of music, and at worst harbor unshakable prejudices against it. but that is why i decided to post this -- the polar opposite of most of the music presented on Different Waters. just like my love for the music of Morton Feldman or Steve Lacy, i love this music for what it is. and i hope that some of you who would never normally go there, maybe after a bad day at work or just feeling punchy, might do up a few rails or sip on some syrup, turn up the bass and just get BUCK to this -- your life will only be richer because of it.

note: haven't done a proper cover for this one but that picture of Young Buck just about says it all...

tracklist from memory:

01 Intro
02 Young Jeezy - Gangster Music
03 Bun-B - Dripped Up and Draped Out
04 Paul Wall with Rapid Ric - Tall Tee [from Whut it Dew mixtape series vol. 1]
05 Lil Wayne - How you Ride
06 Maceo - Nextel Chirp
07 Project Pat (i think?) with DJ Smallz [from Southern Smoke mixtape series]
08 Project Pat and Frasier Boy [from Ghetty Green album]
09 Swisha House f/ ??? Mystery MC
10 Three Six Mafia - Got It For Sale
11 Bun-B, ??? Mystery MC, and DJ Drama [from Gangsta Grillz mixtape series]
12 Swisha House f/Mike Jones and Mz. Trinity - Rulez
13 Disturbing Tha Peace f/ Shawnna - Posted
14 DJ Smallz - Dirty South Instrumentals
15 Lil Wayne
16 ??? Mystery Femcee [from Southern Smoke mixtape series]
17 Lil Jon [from Crunk Juice album]
18 Trillville - No Problem
19 DJ Drama with Killer Mike, Bubba Sparxxx, Three-6-Mafia - Get 'Em Shawty [from Got That Purp mixtape]
20 T.I. - You Don't Know Me
21 David Banner (I think)
22 Akon with Young Jeezy - Soul Survivor Alternate Version Remix
23 Lil' Wayne - Get Real Gangsta
24 Outro

bigup kid slizzard for filling in 4 important blanks in the tracklist.
(they is just a couple left and i ain't gon sweat it)

resta y'all stay true to tha game.


bb said...


Anonymous said...

Tracklist, please ?

zhao said...

those records are on the other side of the atlantic...

i can try from memory. give me a little while

Anonymous said...

for reals, i moved to brooklyn from dallas...having left most of my music home this is an audio blessing, thnx...sippin on sum syzzurp...

Anonymous said...

great mix

Dave Knapik said...

Oh this is so dope! Nice one!

I love experimental electronics and noise as much as you do, but I also love loads of different kinds of music, especially smooth ridin' sounds like these.

Thanks for this, and go start working on its sequel!

zhao said...

dave: smooth ridin' sounds... ha! more like rough ridin' to the max with finger on the trigger... the streets paved with shotgun shells.

kid slizzard said...

12 Swisha House - rulez (verse by M. Trinity)
13 Disturbing Tha Peace Posted f/ Shawnna

kid slizzard said...

23 Lil' Wayne "Get Real Gangsta"
18 Trillville - No Problem

zhao said...


Anonymous said...



because i trust you with the music
you post- i gave these a try....

but i can't get past the immaturity
of the language, no matter how hard i try..

it bores me more than mel torme...
too much testosterone,
not enough Truth.

thanks anyway.
r o b


Kevin said...

thanks for this, it's great.

zhao said...

fair enough. this music is surely not for everyone!

it's not even for me most of the time... but once in a while, on the right day, this stuff is just crucial. it's a dark rush of adrenalin... have i posted any black metal lately? hmmmm... :D

Wake up said...

Sorry I have no sympathy for these people in this day and age they gotta look outside the box of their own making.....

zhao said...

thanks for dropping the line, i think i know what you are trying to say but

1. slavery (of not just AfroAmericans) is not over and
2. did anyone ask for your "sympathy"?

square dancer said...

Big up, zhao, this looks wicked! Great write-up too, it quite accurately mirrors a lot of my own sentiments (though the fact that I'm white and European makes things even a bit more akward).

. said...

waaaaa? I read all of the text, got kind of excited- figuring I was going to hear something that I haven't heard before...


and then found myself staring at the tracklist- feeling ahhhhhh..

ripped of?....

I think that if you're going to do something like this- you've gotta dig a little deeper, you're a bit confused... There is no underlying meaning to these tracks- no "subtext". All lil' wanye wants you to do is buy his fucking record.

Thats it.

Thats what the record is about. Talking about guns and cars; or in lil waynes case "sports"... sells records.

Not to say lil' wayne isn't talented though- but thats not the point.

Lil wanye is a business man. What your little rap circus contains is "business music". Not hiphop.


Have you ever heard real hiphop?

Hiphop that shows a true love and knowledge for the forefathers and gods of true funky music????

Hiphop made on an MPC and headphones with a cheap 100$ condenser mic...

and not in a massive multimillion dollar studio with 10k audiophile quality reference monitors and 5k ribbon based microphones.

Hiphop that makes real, coherent connections to urban culture??????

Hiphop made with no money (GASP!) or success (WHAT?!) in mind??

I don't think you have...


zhao said...

hey thanks for the comment!

i got this ill 12 inch from PBW with guest rappers on it, straight dope -- sounds about 94' with DUSTED production, that 3AM tunnels of NYC vibe na mean? madlib is good in the studio and a hellava nice guy. jdilla of course done some cool shit. other than that a lot of the mcs on S.T. just bugs. same as a lot of other sonscious shit -- tongue twisting themselves to death with, funny you should mention, no funk anywhere in sight.

too bad you can't see the magic in these cuts. no SHIT it's about business: THERE IS A SONG CALLED "GOT IT FOR SALE" fa chrissakes. hello?

i have met sooooooo many "yo I'm all about the underground" people walking around with self righteous attitudes looking down on what they perceive as "mainstream"... you have no idea.

zhao said...

oh and lil wayne's uncut genius is just about all US hiphop's GOT right now.

Daniel Deronda said...

This is all raw, so good. And I agree with you about Weezy even if I think he has slightly gone off the boil since Drought 3

I HAVE TO KNOW WHAT TRACK 16 IS so i can get it full length / on record / anything

BRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR rat a tat a tat a tat
tat a tat a boom i'm a motherfuckin goon

so perfect

I listen to it every day

Any idea?
I will be eternally grajteful

zhao said...

yeah that chick is sumfin fierce on that cut huh? and that haunting little piano or bell sound in the background... it's offa one a them Southern Smoke mixtapes... fuck if i remember which volume.

cheers for the feedback. makes me feel not a complete waste of time :D

kid slizzard said...

a belated answer to your question re: where are things headed - check my latest blog post for a compilation of rap's latest Hated Music, and the sickest Lion King appropriation ever, not that there's been others

zhao said...

dang! happened to yo blog kid sliz?!

Anonymous said...

"there is something in the ghettos, in the projects, in the concrete-cotton-fields, that the rest of the world is missing, that the rest of us envy, want, and need:

a raw vitality, a life-or-death urgency, and a visceral in-the-moment experience of life."

I agree... but, also have to say that there might be an inability of the average shopper to seek alternate means to a more "in-the-moment" lifestyle. they tend to be so beaten-down by tv, advertisements, celeb culture, and video games to notice real life. so, they seek-out gangsta rap.

but, now that I have that off my chest, I thank you for this nice mix! I dig it!

Anonymous said...

What eva happened to the daz when someone gave us somethin foe nuthin we just said "thank you" You complainin peeps make me sick.If u don't have somethin nice to say just don't say nuthin and go rain on someone else's parade. I'm not crazy bout gangsta rap but if u sayin this ain't movin u insides and speakin to some part of u, u lyin or u just plain dead. zhao i'm lovin it and can't wait to hear the next. Oh and Zhao....thank you so very much.