It’s gotten weird that 2017 has been so devoid of good new music. I’m not saying there hasn’t been any – there has. The Calvin Harris album is good, same can be said for releases by Dan Auerbach, Portugal. The Man and a handful of other people. 2017 has been a year full of great songs and good to pretty good albums. There hasn’t been a lot out there that you can sink your teeth into for a handful of time.
In walks Amerigo Gazaway. This dude is a DJ and while I’m sure that helps pay the bills, he’s perhaps best known for his work as a mash-up artist. His Soul Mates project includes Yasiin Bey (Mos Def) mixed with Marvin Gaye, Otis Redding and Outkast, Fela Kuti and De La Soul to name a few. He does this with a deft touch, picking a choosing the perfect source material for the vocals to work off of. If you haven’t listened to his Yasiin Bey/Marvin Gaye mash-up Yasiin Gaye, I highly recommend it.
Gazaway’s newest project is A Common Wonder, a set of tunes combining Stevie Wonder classics and Common’s rapping. The end result is on par with Yasiin Gaye, almost as if the results Gazaway produces were simply meant to be. Nothing sounds forced, as is sometimes the case with projects like these. It also doesn’t sound cheesy or gimmicky. Gazaway isn’t doing this to get some Internet-hype. He’s doing this because he’s damn good at it.
On “Resurrection to Higher Ground” Gazaway brings together Common’s “Resurrection” and Wonder’s classic “Higher Ground” while Kanye West shows up on two tracks: “Bad Girl” and “Southside.” “Like They Used to Say” features Wonder’s “Sir Duke,” as well as outro music from Duke Ellington. Perhaps one of the album’s biggest and best moments comes in the back half with “The Light (I’m Yours,)” a mash-up of Common’s “The Light” and Wonder’s “Signed, Sealed, Delivered I’m Yours,” slowed down just a touch, giving the track and summer-time friendly bounce of a groove.
You can check out all of Gazaway’s projects in The Soul Mates collection here. There’s enough for every day of the week, every mood you could be feeling.