First record I bought with my own money: Greatest Hits by Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers. I was already familiar with Tom Petty thanks to my father, who was a fan. Me and my cousin would sing “Breakdown” and “Free Fallin’” at the top of our lungs in the living room. American rock ’n’ roll at its finest.
Essential Saturday night listening: “Flash Light” by Parliament. I know it seems like an obvious choice, and it is! You would be hard pressed to find a song that gets my blood pumping or gets me moving like “Flash Light.” Also, A Tribe Called Quest’s Midnight Marauders, an album you can put on at any party and it will have people dancing, reciting the lyrics, and enjoying themselves. With all-time classics like “Steve Biko (Stir It Up)” and “Electric Relaxation,” you just can’t go wrong.
Essential Sunday morning listening: Atlantis: Hymns for Disco by k-os. “Everyday is Saturday night, but I can’t wait for Sunday morning.” He’s a certified rule-breaker when it comes to music, and is definitely one of the most dynamic hip-hop artists out there. His music takes you on a journey from reggae to rock ‘n‘ roll, and then bounces to neo-soul, but it never feels disingenuous.
Artist more people should know about: Wake Self, who hails from Albuquerque, New Mexico, is one of the finest emcees in the greater free world. We have been great friends with him and toured together on and off for close to a decade. He is best described as a socially concise and constructive rapper. He made a song and video praising the power of women before the #MeToo movement called “Malala,” and he just dropped a very powerful video exploring gun violence and gun control called “It Won’t Go Away” featuring Rhiannon Jewel.
Album that changed my life: Lucy Ford: The Atmosphere EPs by Atmosphere. I found this album and others, like Personal Journals by Sage Francis, at such a crucial and influential point in my life. This one spoke to me in a way that no other album had. It showed me how personal hip-hop could be. Slug has a way of utilizing his storytelling to explore the raw emotions of all human experience.