JULY MIX by Aaron Burch


In 2009, my now-stepdaughter made me a mix CD. “To help make you more street,” she said. She was 13. I was in Champaign, IL, having gone back to school for my MFA. A move that possibly made her worry about my street cred? Or, probably more likely, the move and MFA had nothing to do with said worry. Or, maybe most likely of all, she was 13 and wanted to show off and share music she was excited about and I asked her to make me a CD and she took that as a challenge. Whatever the impetus, I was about to get hooked up.

(A year or so later, after expressing my huge love for the mix, she made me a second CD, which I remember her claiming was “even more street,” but she may have set her own bar too high. The first CD, the below mix, may be too perfect to be topped.)

I remember living alone in Champaign, back in school at 30, drinking a lot and rocking the shit out of this CD. I remember starting a reading series, Stories & Beer, and using ~15 seconds of baseball-like “walk-up music” for each reader and going back to clips from songs on this mix a lot. I remember hearing that Chris Rock would listen to Method Man’s “Bring the Pain” before big standup concerts, to hype himself up, and thinking of “Roger That” and “Hustlin” as equally hype-generating. I remember, the next year, going on a reading tour with Amelia Gray and Lindsay Hunter and a lot of these songs acting like a kind of soundtrack through the southwest, to the extent of using “Roger That” and “Hustlin” as actual soundtrack for a tour recap movie I made.

So, other than this intro, I present the below playlist sans commentary. You don’t really need me to say anything about the songs individually. You don’t even really need to have read this intro at all. Just enjoy.

Like Snoop says, “for Kings only.”


  1. I’m Going In, Drake feat. Lil Wayne & Young Jeezy
  2. Roger That, Young Money
  3. Overnight Celebrity, Twista
  4. Spit Your Game, Bone Thugs N Harmony (feat. Notorious BIG & Twista)
  5. I Can Transform You, Chris Brown feat. Lil Wayne & Swizz Beats
  6. Must Be the Ganja, Eminem
  7. Wasted, Gucci Mane feat. OJ da Juiceman
  8. Onto the Next One, Jay Z feat. Swizz Beats
  9. Drop the World, Lil Wayne feat. Eminem
  10. My Chick Bad, Ludacris feat. Nicki Minaj
  11. Baby, Justin Bieber feat. Ludacris
  12. So Lonely, feat. Twista feat. Mariah Carey
  13. I Wanna Rock (King’s G-Mix), Snoop feat. Jay Z
  14. Hustlin remix, Rick Ross feat. Jay Z & Young Jeezy
  15. Up Outta My Face, Mariah Carey feat Nicki Minaj
  16. Lollypop remix, Lil Wayne, Static Major, & Kanye West
  17. Every Girl in the World, Young Money


— Aaron Burch is the author of Backswing and the editor of Hobart. If street cred was money, he could buy at least a 2003 Toyota Corolla and a stack of chains. He lives in Ann Arbor.

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