1. “Dreaming About You” by The Blackbyrds
The Blackbyrds are a jazz-funk band that have been sampled by many hip-hop greats, from MF DOOM to Gang Starr. “Dreaming About You” has smooth harmonies layered over dreamy horns and crisp drums.
2. “Yes. I’m Ready” by Barbara Mason
Mason’s voice is akin to climbing a mountain and arriving at the top just in time to see the sunset. Her voice is friendly and this song is wholesome about being ready to fall in love. Some of the strings were sampled by Phantogram in their song, “Fall in Love.”
3. “Fall In Love” by Phantogram
Phantogram is a duo of Sarah Barthel and Josh Carter. Although only two people, their music sounds like a whole orchestra is at work. Their music is infectious indie rock with hip-hop and various dance music influences intertwined.
4. “8 Million Stories” by A Tribe Called Quest
A song about problems and a milkshake, to begin with. This is a classic cut from Tribe’s third album, Midnight Marauders, and it is some of Phife Dawg’s best storytelling.
5. “Where is my mind?” by the Pixies
The pixies are some underground rock legends who could be defined as punks, alt-rockers, indie stars, experimental geniuses or anything to that effect. When you’re feeling morose, confused or out of hope––turn to the pixies.
6. “The Book of Soul” by Ab-Soul
Sampling a MF DOOM beat, this is one of Ab-Soul’s best, yet saddest sad songs. It’s basically an intro to his tragic life story but there are moments of beauty. This song has some of the most vulnerable and emotional verses in all of hip-hop.
7. “The Squirming Coil” by Phish
Like most Phish songs, this one will have you swimming and not wanting to leave the sea. This funky jam is perfect for adding some weirdness and happiness to your day.
8. “Stop It” by FISHER
FISHER is an exciting artist in the EDM scene today. His music has a signature fingerprint, similar to Kaytranada but dissimilar in sound. FISHER’s music is distinctive for its powerful sound.
9. “Gypsy” by Fleetwood Mac
One of my favorite Fleetwood Mac songs, second only to “Albatross.” Stevie Nicks puts you in a trance that transports you through your life, and you can’t help but dream when you hear this song.
10. “I’m So Sorry” by Kitty & Daisy & Little
This song is a sorry-song that’s not sad. It’s heartfelt, but upbeat. It’s a good song to dance to or just reminisce with.
11. “Can’t Knock the Hustle” by Jay-Z
With a sample from Scarface as the intro to this song, this song was Jay-Z’s introduction to the world. The opening track to Reasonable Doubt is a song that sets the stage for a man whose career has been defined by the phrase, “can’t knock the hustle.”
12. “A Taste of Honey” by the Beatles
One of the lesser known Beatles songs, a taste of honey is an early song but a preview of the psychedelic music they would make later on. A song that’s truly as sweet as a taste of honey.
13. “Q.U.E.E.N. (ft. Erykah Badu) by Janelle Monae
A collaboration between two R&B queens, from Janelle Monae’s excellent concept album, Electric Lady. When I listen to this song, I think of Erykah Badu passing the torch and sharing the crown with Janelle.