I just finished a new hour-long mixtape, made with writer Sharifa Rhodes-Pitts and inspired by the sounds of Harlem. The project is the second edition of the Cities Mixtape series by Milan-based DOMUS, a magazine focusing on design, architecture and urbanism. This mix is titled “Harlem Is Nowhere”, after Sharifa’s new book which, in turn, borrows the phrase from a 1948 essay by Ralph Ellison. You can stream or download the mix here, and read our write-up, which begins:
Once, a group of tourists were asked what came to mind when they heard the word “Harlem”: some said “music” and the others said “riots.” The connection between the two is a story for another time. This Harlem mixtape is born of our own free associations: For Rupture, Francophone songs sold by scowling Africans along 116th, or old soul and R&B memories being hawked alongside the now-thing bootlegs across 125th; for Sharifa, church sounds tumbling onto the streets and distorted strains of jazz heard from a boombox carted around by a wandering neighbor.