DJ Jim Q's Playlist: Serendipity

Are you feeling lucky or is it divine intervention? Serendipity is often in the eye of the beholder. We have a tendency to see meaning and patterns where there may not be any, drawing a bullseye around the arrow as they say. It’s far more satisfying to believe in the magic, mysticism and poetry of fate, than to believe that we are simply at the mercy of random events.

What about the positive side of randomness? Fortuitous and opportune, this months playlist is meant to be. Serendipity is the theme and these tracks of happenstance and lucky breaks will make a believer out of you. From Kendrick Lamar’s “DUCKWORTH.”, to Johnny Cash’s “Accidentally on Purpose”, to the Root’s “You Got Me”, these songs convey tales of chance encounters, adventitious adventures and beneficial coincidences.

I was pretty excited when I heard “DUCKWORTH.” off of Kendricks Lamar’s new record, “DAMN”. I knew it would be a great track to kick off the playlist. The brooding loop-driven track produced by legendary producer 9th Wonder is reminiscent of early RZA productions and would have fit nicely right along side of any of the tracks on Wu-Tangs “36 Chambers”. The track outlines an encounter between Ducky (Kendrick’s father) and Kendricks now label boss Anthony (Top Dawg). The story, taking place before Kendrick was born, describes how Ducky is spared by Anthony during the a robbery of a KFC. Lamar sees serendipity in the circumstances that led to the survival of his father and the eventual partnership between him and Anthony. I don’t know, I might hold a bit of a grudge against a guy that robbed my father, but that’s just me.

Every month I like to include a track from the city of the Creative Mornings chapter that selects the theme. This month’s theme was selected by the Moscow chapter. It was a little tricky to find a track, as a number of the Bandcamp bands I found weren’t on Spotify, but I eventually discovered Kedr Livanskiy. Kedr Livansky is a project of Moscow-born electronic artist Yana Kedrina. “Destructive Cycle”, the opening track on January Sun, is a lo-fi retro house track complete with 909 claps, asynchronous hit-hats and driving 4-on-the-floor bass drum rhythm. Not being able to understand her lyrics, I made a bit of a leap of faith that the track was on theme, based solely on the title, either way though, its a great track and the whole record is worth a spin.

From there, the playlist fills out with a mix of classics from Johny Cash’s “Accidentally on Purpose” and Ken Booth singing “That’s The Way Nature Planned It” to tracks from new artists like Amber Mark and Sampha the Great. Somewhere in the mix, you will hear ABBA singer Frida Lyngstad’s Swedish-language rendition of the Charlie Rich 70’s country classic “The Most Beautiful Girl”, “Vill du Låna en man”, it’s pretty awesome.

I closed out the playlist with The Roots first breakthrough hit “You Got Me”. The Erykah Badu collaboration was huge back in the day. The song describes a strained relationship between two people struggling to keep their partnership strong throughout the stress and trouble of being separated. The track recounts the tumultuous random events that brought them together and the commitment and dedication that keeps them together. It’s a great love song.

Thanks for listening. If you like these playlists, please share them and give me a shout on Twitter @jiquin. See you next month with another playlist.