"I Trade the World"

After the jump, a righteous email from Jared about DJ Emskee's uplifting I Trade the World mixtape, recorded right after 9/11. (There's a link to the original tape at the bottom of J's email--a teaser for their gig this Friday night. Highly recommended.)

I remember DJing at Plant Bar* with some friends a few days after 9/11. My friend Joseph** was hosting the night, and he pretty much discouraged us from playing anything too topical or depressing. Then again: what could that possibly mean? It was still too soon: the moment defied articulate description, even assuming the special, obscure language of a DJ set. How could we have channeled our feelings? Were we supposed to feel...patriotic? Had the chickens come home to roost, whatever that meant? Were we feeling defiant? And if so, against who or what? All we really knew, as one of my friends half-joked, was that firefighters citywide were getting laid.

The mood that night was delirious, glassy-eyed, surreal. Of course crisis overdetermined everything, from gleeful funk tunes (too gleeful) to the Rolling Stones (too escapist, too nostalgic) to Ice Cube (too prophetic). At one point: sleigh-bells and piano, pained chanting-yodeling, then a blast of liberated horns. Eric was playing Pharoah Sanders' "Hum Allah" (or "Prince of Peace"--the same thing), a song addressed to higher authorities that ached for a beautiful, impossible peace. The song opened into a moment of blissful panic. Somebody asked him to take it off, but I can't remember if he did or not.



* -- Nice memories of Plant Bar over on the Acute Records blog.

** -- Click the link. JP's work for VBS.TV has been fantastic--especially that Charlie LeDuff piece.***

*** -- Especially this line: "TV without us is simply puppies and gunshots."

This Friday night: Jared and his crew welcome DJ Emskee to their weekly party at Santo's.

_I I_
None of us will forget the day the Twin Towers fell,
& the surreal days, weeks & months that followed in NYC.
All of us have our own unique story to put in perspective,
a difficult time, that has never really come to make any sense.

One of the few things that made sense for me at that time,
was a mix tape titled "I Trade The World" given to me from local friend/customer and talented DJ, Emskee.
A DJ we look up to in New York, all the us that have had the chance to get to know & especially hear him mix.
Emskee was generous with passing along cassettes of his mixes to me back then,
& it was no surprise that Emskee had immediately, upon this horrible event taking place,
just a small distance from his home in the Lower East Side of Manhattan, turn to his turntables to work the whole mess out.
Emskee had his own unique history with the WTC, his frequent sets on WBAI's "Underground Railroad" were widely transmitted around the tri-state with the needle atop the Towers.

Upon their destruction, all radio stations suffered, due to signals being shortened from that irreplaceable reach of height.
I had a feeling this mix was special even before I listened to it, and upon pressing play, to the sound of Bill Withers "Lovely Day"
I quickly understood we gotta keep pushin' on & we gotta keep dancin', that's the only way for us to see better days.

"I Trade The World" was a gift to me, and now a gift for you to download.
A time capsule of sound, where you can faintly hear, someone trying to make sense of a senseless moment in time for this city.
Given the tools of voices from the past, working through their own messed up moments in time, with music.
I can imagine for Emskee, this mix was not an attempt at sanity through mixing, but a must.
______________________________________________________________

On this Friday September 11th in the basement of Q-Tip & Rich Medina's "Open" party
the Lost & Found crew have invited DJ Emskee to do what he does best, and show us the message in the music.
This mix is something to get you ready, we all sincerely hope to can be apart of this special night.
-Jbx & the Lost & Found crew.
(Old Chris, Boogieman, Honeydripper & Mix Greens)
Santos is located at 96 Lafayette Street right below Canal Street
We will begin at 10pm $15 cover, contact me at this e-mail for guest list information.

-----> DJ Emskee "I Trade The World" - http://www.sendspace.com/file/i73bc <http://www.sendspace.com/file/i73bcl> l


Presented by

Hua Hsu teaches in the English Department at Vassar College and writes about music, sports, and culture. More

Hua Hsu teaches in the English Department at Vassar College and writes about music, sports, and culture. His work has appeared in The Atlantic, The New York Times, Bookforum, Slate, The Village Voice, The Boston Globe Ideas section and The Wire (for whom he writes a bi-monthly column). He is on the editorial board for the New Literary History of America.

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