Melanin [Mix] :: Maiya Norton


All of the best eras in Black music seem centered around and/or have been influenced by periods of immense struggle and it’s both sad and fascinating to see that no matter how much things change, they seem to stay the same, as the old adage implies. With “Melanin”, Maiya Norton delivers a mix of memorable soul records that bring nostalgia to the senses while simultaneously making you think how crazy it is that the same issues Gil Scott Heron and Marvin Gaye were talking about back in the day are the same ones we’re talking about now. Judging from some recent releases, we’re getting back into another politically-charged Black musical renaissance and Maiya Norton chefs up a body of work here that is the perfect companion for what’s to come, taking you through various emotions, from hopelessness (“Home Is Where The Hatred Is”) to pride (“Young, Gifted And Brown”).

“This photo is of my grandmother, Robbie Cook, holding my dad. A few weeks back, emotions were high as I was thinking about the violence exhibited towards people of color. This photo represents that combination of emotions for me. Protective. Feeling the need to reaffirm our value and our lives. Holding tightly. Loving harder.

I play music every day, but I definitely took solace in certain songs, and decided to mix them up and add a few to the list. Some of them uplifted people during the Civil Rights era (The Revolution Will Not Be Televised). Others represent unity (People Everyday). The celebration and the struggle (Sinnerman) of being black in America, and the one thing that pigments our skin: melanin. Open your mind, listen, share, and enjoy.” – Maiya Norton

1. Gil Scott Heron – The Revolution Will Not Be Televised
2. Gil Scott Heron – Home Is Where The Hatred Is
3. Marvin Gaye – What’s Happening Brother
4. The Stylistics – People Make The World Go Round
5. Joe Bataan – Young, Gifted and Brown
6. James Brown – Say It Loud
7. Curtis Mayfield – Move On Up
8. Arrested Development – People Everyday 
9. Kendrick Lamar – Untitled 03
10. Flying Lotus f/ Kendrick Lamar – Never Catch Me
11. Erykah Badu – Soldier
12. Black Star – Brown Skin Lady 
13. D’Angelo – Africa
14. Goodie Mob – Free
15. Gnarls Barkley – Who’s Gonna Save My Soul
16. OutKast – Liberation
17. Etta Jones – Good Morning Heartache
18. Nina Simone – Sinnerman

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Sweet Spot, Volume 4 – Saturday :: Maiya Norton

maiya norton

Straight from the dungeons of stuff I meant to publish months ago, mix-master Maiya Norton is back with another excellent mix for the final days of summer.  Here’s what she had to say about it:

I have ideas for mixes all the time. I’ve done more than I can remember. I began working on one after Sweet Spot Vol.3: Higher was complete. I was trying to commit to doing an alternative/rock mix since I skew really heavily towards soul music. I listen to everything though, and that’s not always represented in my projects. However, something about it wasn’t clicking. Sometimes, you just need to put things down when you hit a creative block.

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The Sweet Spot Vol. 1: The Honeycuts ’99-’01 [Mix] :: Maiya Norton

I’m honored to be able to host on Front-Free this beautifully arranged collection of jams from 1999-2001 by my talented fellow Howard Bison Maiya Norton:

If you know me, you know I love sharing music more than anything in the world. I’ve done dozens of compilations for blogs and music sites, but wanted to create a fresh, new platform.

This is the first volume of a new series, The Sweet Spot, which aims to highlight music that falls within a particular category. In this case, classic and rare gems that came out during a special 3-year moment in musical history (99-01). From Mama’s Gun to Supreme Clientele to In Search of…so many memorable albums made during that time.

Each volume will highlight a new artist or photographer, DJ and blend together for your listening pleasure. Play it loud and send it to friends. Enjoy.

Cover Photo by William Ukoh:
Mixed by Haz Solo: @hazsolo
Support + Inspiration by Rashid Zakat:

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