It's no secret that Kitty Cash can assemble a mix. The groggy, forward-looking R&B songs that populate her recently-released Love the Free II mixtape are some of the summer's most crucial sounds. So when it came to choosing artists to make us exclusive, celebratory mixes for Sell Off —our week-long look at Caribbean culture leading up to labor day— it was a no-brainer, especially since the Brooklyn-bred DJ and tastemaker was raised in a Trinidadian household. We weren't the only one's psyched when she agreed to do it, either. "Thanks for this, because my dad has been on my ass on why I haven't made a soca mix," she wrote us in an e-mail. "He sat in my attic and watched me mix this down...I hope ya'll like it." We do, Kitty.
What vibe were you going for on your mix? Tabanca vibes. When I was asked to make this mix, all I could think of was the amazing time I had in Trinidad when I played Carnival. As soon as you leave, you miss it. You dream about the following year, you start looking at hotels and flights right away. It's the songs—the soca music—that allows you to reminisce. You can remember the exact spot of where when you were singing that song. Even after all that rum!! So that was my inspiration, but I also just wanted to make an all around pre-Labor Day, feel-good pure soca mix. I want people to play this at their backyard fet, in their office and wine down in their seat, or over a few drinks with friends.
How does Caribbean culture shape your musical identity? Caribbean culture has heavy influences from African, Spanish, and French/European culture. That being said, I do realize that there are specific sounds and instruments that I am more so drawn to as a result of growing up in a Caribbean household. I am a fan of rhythms that have a heavy percussion side to them and I love music with an African influence, I know that I am known for creating a progressive hip-hop and r&b mixtape, but the core of me is definitely the sounds of the Caribbean. You don't really have a choice when you grow up in a Trini home. I love Chutney music, soca, parang, steelpan, dembow, and reggae music. As I continue to grow as a DJ, I do feel that it will definitely shine through more over time.
What's your ultimate Labor Day parade jam? You can't have one—there is no way. But I love anything by Machel Montano and "Carnival Tabanca" by Bunji Garlin.
Finally, how are you going to follow your triumphant Love The Free II mixtape? Such a tough one!! The thing is, I am not even done with Volume II. I guess, I'll let it out... I will be hosting a screening featuring exclusive visual interpretations of selected songs from the mixtape at Red Bull Studios on September 15. As for Love The Free Volume III, I have already bought a jumbo pad and have started brainstorming how to keep the mixtape fresh and fun. Just be ready.