Roll Back, Play That: Tyler, the Creator
Photography: Mark Peckmezian
Saint Heron presents “Roll Back, Play That,” an original series of superior musical deep cuts curated by our favorite artists of today.
Tyler, the Creator’s self-curated playlist opens brightly with “Black and White Town” from the Doves 2005 album, ‘Some Cities’, followed by a slew of Pharrell featured hits with Snoop Dogg, Usher and T.I. There is also Lenny Kravitz’s warm, funky-rock single, “California,” lifted from 2004 along with an André 3000 produced Gwen Stefani number.
Read up on Tyler’s song selects and tune into the full playlist below!
Tyler, the Creator: All of these are specific from my 8th grade year (2004)
Doves – “Black And White Town”
I accidentally came across this song in my school’s library and was hooked. Not sure if it was the panned piano loop or the fact that everyone in the video was my age and didn’t look like anyone in my school. It was intriguing and, looking back, probably opened my eyes to how music videos could work. No performance. Not one. The piano chords, simple, yet something I rarely heard in rock songs. The structure was amazing too – the pre hook worked as a bridge, more guitars in the hook but doesn’t take away from the piano. His voice is perfect. The numerous nights I’ve skated home to this, I wouldn’t mind re-living one more time. One of the few songs that sounds like brisk air.
Snoop Dogg feat. Pharrell – “Drop It Like It’s Hot”
In the 7th grade, I attended La Tieja junior high. There i met this kid…lets call him J. He got held back, was gang affiliated and although very problematic, took a liking to me. He knew how much of a Pharrell fan I was, so during the summer he called my house phone (not sure how he got the number)
J: Cuhz, did you hear that new Snoop and Pharrell song
Me: Nah, what, where?
J: Power 106. Its crazy nigga. Its weird but I know you like that shit. Its hard as fuck – they playing it every hour
Me: Oh wow, ok I’m gonna go check it out right now. How are you, man?
J: Iight, Ill see you when school start *hangs ups*
A few hours later, I returned back to the radio and my fucking brain melted. I was confused, excited and not present all at the same time. I’ve never heard anything like it in my life. Snoop has never sounded cooler and getting a P rap verse at the time was rare. I recorded it on tape from my boom box (my dial up internet couldn’t handle Limewire) and replayed it 400 times. This is the end of this story.
The Hives – “Two-Timing Touch and Broken Bones”
Energy. This had fucking energy. I didn’t know what the fuck he was talking about and I didn’t care. His moves, his voice, everything was perfect. It didn’t even have an intro. It instantly punched you in the pussy and I loved it. I’ve performed this song in my bedroom more than my own shit.
Usher feat. Pharrell – “Wifey”
‘Confessions’ by Usher was such a massive album. FUCKING HUGE. Word went around that Pharrell had a few songs that didn’t make it (not sure if they were meant for that album), but a couple of them leaked. A stand out at the time was “Wifey.” Classic Neptunes piano, simple drums, infectious hook and melody, and the icing on the cake was P and Usher going back and forth. Sucks that this never got officially released. (Major shout out to the girl Bianca that I was crushing on at the time. I emailed her this song. She wasn’t feeling it.)
T.I. feat. Pharrell – “Freak Though”
Classic. The way the chords just melt down during the verse, amazing. P singing on the hook, amazing. T.I. going in depth and detail, sticking to the concept, amazing. Not many songs that put the “hoes” of the neighborhood in a positive light. Around the way girl by LL may be the only other one honestly.
Lenny Kravitz – “California”
This song and “Where Are We Running” were on ‘on demand’ for Time Warner at the time. Since my internet was so slow, I would browse and look at everything available on the platform. One thing about the video that stuck with me was the warm tone of it, which was pretty spot on with Los Angeles between the times of 4pm and 7pm. Lenny grew up in the ’70s, a totally different time from the mid 2000s I was living in. But the skateboarding, backyard parties and music were things that I related to. The next few months, I went through a deep Lenny Kravitz phase which introduced me to Steely Dan and a bunch of other bands that I never would have heard of. There is a video of his dick popping out on stage if you are bored.
213 – “Gotta Find A Way”
I wasn’t the biggest fan of west coast rap, given that I was born and raised in Los Angeles. But this 213 album had some gems on it. This song’s sound was so nostalgic but still managed to sound brand new. Nate Doggs’ voice is the audio version of strong coffee with too much cream and sugar, which I would consider perfect for my 13 year old ears.
Ludacris – “The Potion”
This was the hardest fucking beat to me, Jesus Christ. Timbo the king! Luda was one of the best rappers to me at one point. His pockets and witty punchlines were so over the top, but I truly believe his only flaw was the fact he didn’t get serious enough.
Gwen Stefani – “Long Way To Go”
This was definitely a song that didn’t make ‘The Love Below’. Andre wrote a song about racism and color blindness when it comes to love, and that really opened my eyes at 13. This is a Prince song, the more that I think about it.
By NyAsia Burris | Published: October 2, 2018