🎚 My 15-hour playlist of Milwaukee hip-hop

The Daily Reader

Last week I came across a post making the rounds on music Twitter rounding up 61 full-lengths and EPs that emerged from Milwaukee’s bustling hip-hop scene last month.  So I collected everything I could find on Spotify into a 15-hour, ten-minute playlist. (If you’re curious, here’s a link.) 

Whenever I try to acquaint myself with a regional music culture, I try to listen to as much as I possibly can at that very moment. Of course, I can only listen to one song at one moment. If I’m feeling particularly impatient I tend to jump from one track before it’s halfway through to another recording by a totally different artist for the same length of time or less. I find these intense listening experiences can often be energizing; I can spend hours chasing hyperlinks, and every new song that sparks my interest has the potential to open doors to even more musical worlds that have the potential to leave my head spinning. After a few hours—and depending on what time of the night I’ve begun my journey—this can also leave me exhausted.

The rudimentary playlist I assembled has allowed me to listen at a more measured pace . . . so far, anyway. Rather than trying to eat my way through a row of restaurants in just a few hours, I’m able to savor what’s in front of me a little easier. So when I went to run 5k over the weekend, I knew AyooLii’s boisterous material could give me a little boost when my energy felt depleted. 

I can’t possibly listen to the playlist’s full runtime in one go—at least, not with my current schedule. So I appreciate that this collection functions as a bookmark, allowing me to return to it after hours and remember what I wanted to listen to next. My listening habits are at the center of a constant tug-of-war between the organized part of my brain that likes to catalog what I’ve just heard and the chaotic part of my brain that likes to leave a lot of browser tabs open so I can return to a song or article of note, eventually. This playlist mollifies my anxieties around my attempts to listen to another scene more—at least, till I reach the end of it. 


 “The extremely online psychedelia of brakence,” by Mano Sundaresan (NPR)
 “Digging Through Jangle Pop Legend Mark Mulcahy’s Expansive Archives,” by Jude Noel (Bandcamp)
 “How Questlove Pulled Off the Grammys’ Crowd-Pleasing Hip-Hop Tribute,” by Joe Coscarelli (The New York Times)

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Issue of
Jan. 26 – Feb. 8, 2023
Vol. 52, No. 8


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