As many of you know, last year I was in Frankfurt am Main, Germany for the Frankfurt Book Fair and although I was only in the country for 8 days, there were a couple of moments that confirmed that hip hop is essentially the lingua franca of just about anyone under roughly 50 or so. After helping my colleagues set up our booth, and after we were done, I got a few recommendations for sections of the city to check out. I got off the metro and was wandering around their downtown shopping district and the old Roman section when I came across a sponsored event featuring a breakdancer, breaking to German hip hop – wait, let me clarify here: hip hop entirely in German. A few days later, while waiting for a friend in front of department store, I heard a vendor playing Biggie’s “One More Chance” and I was immediately transported back to New York.

Why did I mention that again? Well, at least anecdotally speaking, it seems that many hip hop fans forget that there not only is hip hop beloved overseas. especially in Europe, but that there are internationally-based hip hop artists, who are doing interesting work; in fact, in many cases, they’re focusing on hip hop in its purest form – emcees spitting fire and backed by dope beats.

DJ Create is a Croatian beatmaker, producer, turntablist and DJ, who’s based in southern Sweden. As a member of the Elite Fleet DJ/production crew and as one half of Create and Devastate, DJ Create has developed a reputation for a sound that owes a sonic debt to both the boom bap early days and of hip hop’s Golden Era of about 1989-1996.

DJ Create’s latest mixtape, Rolling Stoned features an incredible array of pop culture samples, including samples from Pulp Fiction, Katt Williams and others and 19 tracks from some of hip hop’s most beloved artists. So you’ll hear things like Redman’s “How to Roll a Blunt” off his incredible Whut Thee Album, Snoop Dogg, Sadat X and Brand Nubian, Cypress Hill (well, yeah), Rick James, and others. There’s also a collaboration between Redman and Snoop Dogg that I didn’t even know existed. Yes, it leans more towards deeper cuts but the selections and their sequencing reveal that DJ Create is not just super knowledgeable but is adept at creating a mixtape that’s absolutely celebratory, playfully self-referential. Check out how Rick James’s “Mary Jane” is immediately followed by the aforementioned Snoop and Redman collaboration which references the same song. But more importantly, Rolling Stone is full of really great hip hop. It’s worth the hour of your time, trust me