For our last FADER Mix of 2015, we turned to one of New York's finest: Sporting Life. The man behind Ratking's beats has had a pretty productive year: there was a surprise album from the rap trio, his solo tape 55 5's on R&S Records, and a sweet vocal collab with Wiki and Skepta on the former's recent mixtape. Appropriately, there's also plenty of life to the producer-turned-rapper's FADER Mix—edits of Kodak Black and Kelela swim alongside evocative moments from the man himself, all stitched together with bubbling water samples. Dive in below, and scroll down to find out which book helped shape Sporting Life's career path. 55 5's is out now on R&S Records. FADER Mixes will be back in 2016, but don't forget to check the archives for all your holiday party soundtrack needs.
Where are you right now? Describe your surroundings.
As I'm writing this, I'm in a dimly lit room with lots of plants and a projector with an anime series called Death Note playing on silent. There's a pot of tea within arms reach and a Muji diffuser pumping out this essential oil called "Ocean," ha.
Tell us a bit about this mix—what do you imagine people doing while listening to it?
This mix is a lot of sounds that I've been playing at DJ sets, some blends and some tracks from 55 5's mixed in. I also put in some water sounds to splash on 'em.
You mentioned in your recent FADER interview about 55 5's last month that, along with rapping, you're working on some "street level Yeezus-type shit." How do you think your production skills help you as a rapper?
Learning music production helps a lot because you can conceive the whole idea of a song from point 0 to mastering. I already have so many raps memorized sometimes I'll start producing a track then see what raps fit over it. Then that can give me some direction on options for writing the flow. It's like being able to dribble with both hands, [it] greatly improves your overall game.
What's the last book you read that had a big impact on you? And why?
Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill. I was in school when I read it and the next year I dropped out and started focusing on finding and enhancing what I was already good at. At the time, what I was really good at was arguing about if a Malice verse (from the Clipse) was better than a Camron verse, ha. That helped form my taste in music and eventually led into making fire original tracks. Now I'm mostly reading equipment manuals.
And finally, what's your favorite dish to cook and how do you make it?
Ah man, crispy pan fried noodles! With tofu and vegetables. My girlfriend is a chef so she always makes it for me, but I help as her sous chef and take notes. She screams at me and I get nervous like, "Hey, I said sesame oil! Not soy sauce!" But I know she is very passionate about each meal she makes.
Kodak Black - Skrt / Boston Bun Time Bomb (Sport Teen Pregnancy Edit)
Zomby - Acid / HudMo - Forever 1 (Cashmere Cat Edit)
Sporting Life - Sports Nation
Sporting Life - Steep Tech (Let Me Know Edit)
Sophie - Lemonade / Dark0 - Sweet Boy Tears
Future - Thought It Was A Drought (Sporting Life Art Basel Edit)
Sporting Life - Pre-Order The Dope
Young Thug - Got Me A Check (Nice And Slow Edit)
Kelela - Rewind (Sporting Life Remix)
Post Malone - White Iverson (Sport My More Rounds Edit)
DJ Sliink - Coco Remix / Arca - Now You Know
Yung Simmie - When I'm Bored (Sport Badd Edit)