DJ Nirso explores the connection between Africa, North and South America with tasteful remixes and mixtapes.
GRiZ - Mad Liberation. Take a 21 year old bedroom producer from Michigan, raise them on the the internet with a near complete access to the history of modern music with a focus on electronic/dance and apparently you get this incredibly humanistic and cross-cultural album that's both homage, monument and appropriation of hundreds of influences in modern music in an incredibly dubby dubstep framework. (Free album download here.)
Aloe Blacc, previously of LA-based hip hop duo Emanon, pulls a Cee-Lo and reinvents himself as a soul singer. [more inside]
4 Brothers Beats. This is a tribute to all the original music that built hip-hop – the best beats in soul, funk & jazz collected by four brothers. An amazing collection of out-of-print releases from the 70s and 80s.
R.I.P. Lyn Collins [NYT, reg. req.] Backing singer for James Brown, whose revue she joined in 1971 (she was also the sister of his band members Bootsy and Catfish Collins), her first hit was the monster Think (About It) in 1972, one of the most sampled records in hip hop, maybe most famously in Rob Base and DJ E-Z Rock's It Takes Two. (Extensive, but by no means full, list of Collins samplers here.) Audio sample (mp3) of You Can't Love Me If You Don't respect Me here. Brief obit and full mp3 of a great live version of Do Your Thing here.