Where It Started At

“I’m not talking ‘bout the first record ever made. I’m talking ‘bout the first one that ever made you.
The first records that I played never played me. And I can still play ‘em today cause they stay true.”

– J-Live


At age 10 I could have sworn that Nelly was the best rapper alive. Puff Daddy, Mystikal, and uh….(me not being able to remember who my favorite rappers were back then speaks for itself) everybody else held their own, but Nelly was in a league of his own. I knew he was the best because he got the most radio airplay and had the hottest girls in his videos. I sang every word of E.I. not knowing what any of them meant, and thought I was cool because I listened to rap music.

That all changed when I went to camp the summer of 2000 at age 10. I had 18-20 year old counselors that I looked up to and tried to emulate as much as possible. They rejected my taste in music, which, in turn, made me denounce all things Nelly. At first I didn’t believe them, but then I heard Common’s “I Used To Love H.E.R.”. My life was changed from the first time I listened to that song. It was like realizing that everything I had been taught was a lie. I had to know the truth. These counselors took me under their wing, and not only showed me what they were listening to, but taught me about the culture of Hip Hop.

By the end of the summer I came home with a list of about 10 albums to get. I threw away all my Nelly and Puff Daddy albums, and until now never admitted to owning them. For the next couple of months I was like a fat kid discovering chocolate. I would just sit in my room for hours and listen to music. I was hooked on everything from true old school gems like Tribe, Wu-Tang, EPMD, Boogie Down Productions, Eric B. & Rakim, and Pete Rock & CL Smooth to new era typical white-boy-Hip-Hop like Atmosphere, Blackalicious, Aesop Rock, Talib Kweli, Mos Def, Brother Ali and my new “best rapper alive” favorite, Common. Imagine me, a frail ten year old boy on his way to private school listening to Dead Prez’s Let’s Get Free.

For a time all I heard was music. You know that feeling that Neo got in the Matrix whenever they programmed some new information into his head? That’s how I felt every time I listened to a Hip Hop album. I had discovered my passion. From then on, I utilized the internet as a resource to Hip Hop. I turned off the radio and hit up Amazon, reading reviews of my favorite albums and recommendations of new ones. I stumbled across some Hip Hop forums, and asked anybody that I thought could help me to point me in which direction I should go next with Hip Hop. I kept learning more about Hip Hop and building my album collection, something I’m still doing to this day, eight years later. At first I listened to rap to be cool and Hip Hop to act mature, but then I just listened to Hip Hop because I loved it. I became obsessed with it. It took my life to a new level and opened my eyes to a world I didn’t know existed.

It’s something that you could never understand unless you overstand it. The people who do hate on the culture, whether it be the elderly asking me to turn it down or Bill O’Reilly claiming it causes cancer, simply don’t get it. They have no right to speak on it because they never gave Hip Hop a chance and never will. Sadly, the radios will never play that real Hip Hop and it’s damn hard for kids to wake up and reverse the brainwashing of their music tastes. That’s where I got the inspiration for my first mix. Now I’m not saying this mix will change the world or overthrow the powers that be, but this music changed my life forever. And if it could change one kid’s life as it did mine, then I did my part. So download this mix, play it to your newborn babies, your mislead nephews, or your lost preteen daughter. Know that the youth aren’t as close minded as you think, and if you step to them without a condescending tone, they might just listen. Know that this is the music that changed my life, and has changed many others. But most of all, this is that real Hip Hop……know dat.


Where It Started At Tracklisting
19 songs: 1 hour 4 minutes (download/streaming links below)


1. Intro: Just a lil Dilla and Phonte…didn’t feel like I really needed an intro…

2. Move Somethin’ by Talib Kweli: This is just classic Kweli. Amazing album, great production, Kweli at his peak.

3. Excursions by A Tribe Called Quest: Personally, I think The Low End Theory is better than Midnight Marauders, but it’s all subjective. I think Tip’s verse is the first Hip Hop verse I completely memorized. Maybe the best opening track on an album…

4. Current Status by Atmosphere: Atmosphere can be misunderstood a lot, partly because of their audience nowadays. This is off their first album Overcast! though, and is simply dope beats and dope rhymes. I’ll admit, I went through my Atmosphere phase, but they did make some great music together, this song is a perfect example.

5. One Love by Nas: Best album of all time in my opinion. This is my favorite song on the album, partly because of Tip’s mesmerizing production and Nas’ reflective lyrics. I was so amazed when I first heard this album, still am today.

6. Deception by Blackalicious: This song is just so sick. Gift of Gab is a great storyteller and Chief Xcel is a criminally underrated producer.

7. I Ain’t No Joke by Eric B. & Rakim: What can I say about this song that hasn’t been said already? Just think, if it weren’t for this song, none of the other songs on this mix would probably exist.

8. Hip Hop by Dead Prez: The bass on this song is just fucking ridiculous, simple as that. Dead Prez just opened my eyes up to so much. A real influential album for me.

9. I’m Still #1 by Boogie Down Productions: KRS-One is one of the best emcees of all time. Period. It took my ears a while to adapt to some of the older sounding beats, but the lyrics are on par if not better than the lyrics coming out today. He may not be still #1, but KRS & BDP have a huge part in Hip Hop history.

10. Step Into The Relm by The Roots: A simply amazing group. I don’t need to go into much detail because I know The Roots get plenty of love, but they are undisputedly the best live performers in the game right now, and will be for a long time. I had fun mixing this one by the way, hope ya’ll enjoy it.

11. T.R.O.Y. by Pete Rock & CL Smooth: This might be the best Hip Hop song of all time. Simply amazing. Yet unfortunately, I know somebody will hear this song and say, “Hey, isn’t that from NBA Street Vol. 2?” Sigh…

12. Ms. Fat Booty by Mos Def: I hate how no recent albums can be considered classic. I don’t care what anybody says, Black On Both Sides is classic. Mos Def in his peak, I had such high hopes for him, but he got sick of rapping….oh well, he’s a good actor.

13. C.R.E.A.M. by Wu-Tang Clan: Can I get a SUUUUUUUU??? One of my favorite Hip Hop albums. Shit is just so grimy, and this is my favorite song off of it. The best group of all time, can’t even argue that if you look at all the classic albums the Wu have.

14. Alchemy by Aesop Rock (feat. Blueprint): I’m not gonna lie, I have no clue what the hell this guy is talking about. Don’t even act like you can decipher Aesop Rock. But his beats are unique and his flow is impressive, definitely one of the top emcees in the underground game.

15. Respiration by Black Star (feat. Common): Back in the day I played this album so much that it rarely gets thrown in rotation nowadays. That’s a shame, cause I think it’s another recent (well…considered recent) album that needs to be recognized as a classic. Sick verse after sick verse, Respiration is the highlight of the album in my opinion.

16. Let The Funk Flow by EPMD: A very slept on group in Hip Hop. I’m glad I got hipped to them early on. Such a great song. They had such a consistent run of dope albums too.

17. Room With A View by Brother Ali: I heard Shadows On The Sun before it really blew up and Brother Ali is one of the main emcees that got me into underground stuff. Great album, real personal, dope production from Ant, just great stuff. He’s been dropping some gems lately that people have overlooked too.

18. I Used To Love H.E.R. by Common: This is simply the most important song of my life. Got me into Hip Hop, simple as that. Best song of all time. My college essay was actually about how Resurrection changed my life.

19. Outro: I still do love her.


Link To Stream Though iTunes

Download & Streaming Link Through Internet


leave a comment, tell me what you think.


12 Responses to “Where It Started At”

  1. 1 Kat
    February 9, 2008 at 12:39 am

    Matt! Your blog is amazing! I can’t believe you have all of this accomplished ALREADY!

    And I am listening to your first mix, let me just tell you, I was going to hang out in my PJ’s and be a bum tonight (Friday); but after listening to these hot beats, I’m going out!

    The best part is, I am not that into Hip Hop or Rap music, because I think it has become so…fake; but you tap into what is REAL about it, you’re like a walking tribute.

    Keep up the good work, I look to seeing more of it!


  2. February 9, 2008 at 6:12 am

    “I Used to Love H.E.R.” is a *deeply* misogynistic song. I thought it was dope when I was a teenager too.

    But then I grew up.

  3. 3 Patrycja
    February 9, 2008 at 8:16 pm

    You’re.. incredible. Congrats on such a sick start to your project! I’ll be reading this every Friday.

  4. February 10, 2008 at 11:53 pm


    i am a big blog / podcast dork, so i’m gonna try to leave you as much commentary + feedback as possible.

    what i think i’d love most is a podcast that’s more like a radio show than a mixtape. i dunno if you’re set up to do that or not, or maybe it’s not what you’re aiming for, but i think it’s one thing to read your tracklist and then go listen to the music when it’d be sweet to hear you talk about a song right after it played. just a thought maybe for future episodes.

    no need to disown that nelly + puffy now man! some of that shit is hot!

    i’d love to hear a mix or read an entry on your take on hip hop in the current day and age. i find myself listening to the genre less and less these days, and when i do listen to hip hop, i mainly listen to the same records i was listening to years ago. try as i might, i can not get into lil wayne and ti for more than a few tracks or guest appearances, and apparently that’s what everyone’s up on these days. i’m also not crazy about lupe either (he’s got some good tracks but overall dude kinda irks me a lot). i don’t want to be a curmudgeon but i kinda feel like i’m heading that direction. anyhow, save my old ass.

    i’m rambling. keep up the good work hombre, i look forward to reading and listening down the road.

    *shameless plug*: my music blog is linked with this post. i update it irregularly, and it’s mainly a lot of nonsense, but you may dig the outkast piece i wrote a month ago or so. cheers.

  5. 5 mashpg
    February 11, 2008 at 12:20 am

    thanks for your support patrycja & kat, i appreciate it.

    g.d.- thanks for checking out my blog. although i can see some misogynistic tones in i used to love h.e.r., that’s not how i view it. and i know plenty of adults who still regard this song as a classic. to each their own though, thanks for the comment.

    graham – thanks for the comment. i was thinking of doing it more like a radio show, and i am set up for that. but personally, that’s not really my thing. i like my music straight up without filler, and i know if i were listening to somebody else’s podcast, i wouldn’t want it to be interrupted by chatter. i feel like if people do want my commentary on it they’ll read my track description and the like. i see where you’re coming from though, and might experiment with that later on.

    oh and definitely expect my take on current hip hop. people ask me for my take on that all the time, so my blog/podcast is definitely a way to express my thoughts on the matter. theres a lot of great music being put out today that the average hip hop fan simply isn’t aware of. i’m hoping i can change that a little bit. and hopefully you’ll enjoy some of the dilla i just upped if you’re not up on that already.

    it’s not going to be all hip hop though. i been listening to a lot of jazz, soul, & funk lately, and hopefully my entries will start to reflect that.

    i checked out your blog too, some good stuff on there. i’ma add you to the blogroll. thanks for the support though graham, i appreciate it and hope you keep checking out the site.

  6. 6 Jordan
    February 11, 2008 at 4:10 am

    Matt, these are some classics. I’ll disagree with you on the low end theory being better, but they’re both great. You know, I never listened to that much J. Dilla before. I have donuts but that’s it, you gotta make a list for me man, I definitely respect your music taste.

  7. 7 Mara
    February 11, 2008 at 11:15 pm

    Man, this is sick! After changing your project so many times, you’ve really got a great start already! Keep up the good work, I look forward to more entries! The music’s great, and your writing is passionate.

    Pod 7 HOLLA!

  8. 8 Hannah D.
    February 12, 2008 at 12:19 am

    Hey Matt. Good job, I was really impressed by the entries and songs. I just got done listening to the first mix and I really enjoyed it, I like how you put all the music together. I’ll definitely be looking forward to reading new entries and spreading this around. You got a really great start, keep it up.

  9. 9 Sam
    February 12, 2008 at 1:22 am

    I’m pretty sure Move Somethin’ is technically by Reflection Eternal, Talib and DJ Hi-Tek.

  10. 10 mashpg
    February 12, 2008 at 2:36 am

    thanks silky

  11. 11 Clarebear
    February 12, 2008 at 3:39 am

    sick! lumi. hahaha, seriously though Matt this is compelling and interesting, I really like it alot. I’m looking forward to every friday, you should do more writing without music other days of the week 🙂

  12. March 6, 2008 at 9:17 pm

    this mix is real sick..i never heard that “I Used to Love Her” song; my jaw dropped when i heard the last line

    Krs-one and blackalicious were both dope-i hadnt heard those songs before

    i really liked the mixing at the beginning and ends of the songs..espesially at the end of cream

    respiration and a solo song by mos and talib?.. theyre dope emcees but you could have replaced one with a jayz track or somethin

    overall sick mix

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