playboy's 50th anniversary mix vol. 01 - Soulmate
What the hell is going on here? Excellent female turntablist DJ Shortee touring with Playboy Playmates on the declining skin rag's 50th anniversary tour? I'm sure this Atlanta decknician's getting mad bank for this jiggling 52-date jaunt. Can't begrudge a sista that. Even if she's contracted out her skills to corporate megaliths like Coca-Cola and Frito Lay, the lady can still bring the heat, no matter who's slapping a company logo on her record box.
As one can assume from the album title, Shortee won't be dropping science for true headz on this self-produced mix (available exclusively at the gig and at www.djshortee.com). Her agenda on Playboy's 50th Anniversary Mix Vol. 01 (on two other volumes, Shortee covers progressive house and mainstream rap) consists of skimming mostly recognizable, sure-fire gems from funk, soul, hip-hop and house's vaults. The first two-thirds of this 34-track/78-minute mix teases with brief excerpts from Pete Rock-style jazzy mid-tempo hip-hop, a snippet of Grandmaster Flash's "The Message," suave funk-jazz, and oft-sampled classics by Zapp, Brick, Chic, O'Jays, Tower of Power and others. Despite a few abrupt segues, Shortee's mix tantalizes. And respect to anyone who can transition from James Brown's "Cold Sweat" to Liquid Liquid's "Cavern" to Mark the 45 King's "900 Number" to George Kranz's "Din Daa Daa."
The album's last third features solid house tracks that tap into the genre's trippier, Latinized gene pools. Shortee lets these cuts play longer, but their faceless functionality sounds less enchanting than the disc's previous two-thirds. Shortee navigates crowd-pleasing genres admirably, even if this CD isn't the premier showcase of her rarefied selections. Yet those in attendance at a Shortee show will surely shake their tails to her Playboy bunny-endorsed bounce.
DJ Shortee spins at eleven50 Thurs., April 22. 8 p.m. $65.