2018

Roll Back, Play That: Tommy Genesis

by Asia Burris | published: Dec 24, 2018

Roll Back, Play That: Tommy Genesis

By: Shantel Pass | Published: December 24, 2018

Saint Heron presents “Roll Back, Play That,” an original series of superior musical deep cuts curated by our favorite artists of today.

Tommy Genesis’s sharp-witted flow and wild femininity jettisons the rap world’s double standards and charms the attention of anyone within sight or hearing range. For this edition of Roll Back, Play That, the Canada-born rapper and model joins her eclectic tastes in a high-energy playlist that’s uniquely rock-heavy with touches of reggae and classic soul. From punk’s early Peruvian roots in “Come On (Ven aquí) by Los Saicos to the spiritually warm “I Luv I Jah” (by Rastafari band Bad Brains) and Barbara Mason’s slow-burning “Yes, I’m Ready,” Tommy’s scintillating selections honor the vivid colors that fill her own artistry’s palette.

Los Saicos – “Come On”

Los Saicos is a Peruvian band from the 1960s that made punk music before the genre ‘punk’ existed.

Saul Williams – “List of Demands”

Bad Brains – “I Luv I Jah”

Tones on Tail – “Twist”

Hole – “Teenage Whore”

Kleenex/Liliput – “Nice” 

Barbara Mason – “Yes I’m Ready”

MIA – “Pull Up The People”

Santigold – “L.E.S. Artistes”

Tatu – “All The Things She Said”

2018

Roll Back, Play That: Ari Marcopoulos

by Shantel Pass | published: Nov 20, 2018

Roll Back, Play That: Ari Marcopoulos

Photo By: Ari Marcopoulos

By: Shantel Pass | Published: November 20, 2018

Saint Heron presents “Roll Back, Play That,” an original series of superior musical deep cuts curated by our favorite artists of today.

Photographer and film artist Ari Marcopoulos creates arresting portraiture that captures pacesetting adventure and authentic personage. Growing up in ‘70s Amsterdam before his move to Uptown NYC in 1980, he remembers first-hand what it was like to find inspiring subjects for his art when cultural diversity wasn’t as widely celebrated. Still, the Amsterdam-born doyen is praised for the uninhibited movements (and emotions) in the ethnographic preservation of his work.

Saint Heron asked Marcopoulos to put together a playlist of songs recorded prior to 2008 that comfort, challenge and move the feelings that fuel his artistic fervor. What returned was a deep dive into the waters that seemingly journal a youthful Ari’s soul-watering sense of self; including the Kangol-hatted fashions synonymous with Afrika Bambataa’s “Planet Rock,” intense feelings incited by Bob Marley and The Wailers’ sonic splendor, Grace Jones’ signature personal and musical sass, and the transcendentally soulful and bluesy jazz vocals belted by Billie Holiday on “Strange Fruit.”

Planet Rock – “Afrika Bambaataa”

I moved to New York from The Netherlands in 1980. I was living uptown on the 4,5, and 6 lines. First thing I noticed was the massive amounts of graffiti on and inside the trains. The other thing was the looks of some kids on the trains. Lee jeans, in colors such as Burgundy, and then loosely laced low-top Puma or Adidas shell toes. Often with something like a puffy leather coat, hooded sweatshirt. Not to forget a shearling coat. Kangol hats, cazal glasses and  the occasional gold chain. Anyway, I quickly learned this was all connected to a new form of music I hadn’t been hip to in Amsterdam. There was 98.7 Kiss FM and 107.5 WBLS , playing late night hip-hop shows. One night I even tuned into a radio show on 105.9 WHBI, out of New Jersey. I taped all of these shows and would play the tapes during the week. At first, there was Disco Fever in the Bronx where you could see hip-hop and then it came downtown to the Roxy on 18th Street between 10th and 11th.  That’s when this track came on everyone went nuts, including me. Kraftwork sample is brilliant.

Eric B and Rakim – “Eric B. Is President”

The whole album Paid in Full was off the hook. A lot of the tracks off of that album were played, but this particular one had it all for me.

Strafe – “Set It Off”

Later on, another track that would move me on the dance floor and lose my mind was “Set It Off”. The urban legend about that record was that the master disc that all the vinyls were printed off of burned in the factory so that you better hold on to the 12” you had because there were no more pressings of it. Thank God for Spotify.

Grace Jones – “Private Life”

A cover of The Pretenders song from the album Warm Leatherette. Grace Jones was signed by Chris Blackwell of Island Records and he brought in Sly (Dunbar) and Robbie (Shakespeare) as the rhythm section, infusing the record with the Jamaican sound. Grace Jones was a phenomenon. She was androgynous and mysterious. The dub version of this track is the bomb as well.

Bob Marley & The Wailers – “Natural Mystic”

I had to include Bob Marley. Its hard to decide on one track, but I decided on this one. I saw Bob Marley play live four times. I went to all of the concerts he played in The Netherlands. We rode the train to The Hague and Rotterdam to see him play there. We smoked out the train with large hash joints much to the chagrin of the commuters in the train. There were designated cars but meant strictly for tobacco I guess. All of the concerts were amazing, and I am so happy I had the presence of mind at that age to get tickets for all of the gigs. Anyway, “Natural Mystic” starts low in volume and then comes into the song. Its also the opening track on the movie Countryman. There’s also a great single drumbeat that returns on some mysterious timing.

The Temptations – “Papa Was A Rollin’ Stone”

When this song came out I was 15 and this shit hit me hard. The opening beat then the funky guitar combined with the story telling lyrics; it made me long to move to America. Get out of the small country I was living in. Motown led us from this into Marvin Gaye, Curtis Mayfield, Diana Ross and the Supremes, Stevie Wonder and so on. I remember going to see Superfly with my friends as well. The music brought us right to the movies.

Miles Davis – “What I Say”

I discovered Miles Davis when our neighbor gave us the E.S.P album. He said he never listened to it. I was becoming interested in jazz, so I gladly took it. I started reading about Miles and found out about his incorporating electric instruments into his band. I went to the record store and decided on the album Live-Evil. I still have the record I bought back then probably around 1973. I was blown away especially by “What I Say”. Starts out with straight drum beat and bassline, a distilled funk beat with freely improvised individual solos. I spent many a night laying on my back on my parents purple shag carpet listening to this record. This album also led me to the free jazz of John Coltrane, Ornette Coleman , Sun Ra, Marion Brown and Dutch musicians like Han Bennink and Misha Mengelberg.

Ike and Tina Turner – “Proud Mary”

Tina Turner played live in The Netherlands and it was shown on TV. There on my parents small black and white TV was Tina and the Ikettes dancing to “Proud Mary” in their shiny mini skirts. What can I say.

The Who – “Magic Bus (Live)”

The first time I heard this was at my friend Bert de Groot’s house. He was my cohort in listening to music from classical, modern, jazz, funk – anything we could get our hands and ears on. We’d get stoned and listen to music on his parents sick stereo system. His dad was in the flower bulbs wholesale business which was reflected in the size speakers they had. Pete Townsend’s habit of smashing his guitar and kicking over equipment was also a perfect manifestation of our own teenage anger and angst.

Billie Holiday – “Strange Fruit”

Just listen to Billie Holiday

2018

Roll Back, Play That: serpentwithfeet

by Asia Burris | published: Nov 14, 2018

Roll Back, Play That: serpentwithfeet

By: NyAsia Burris | Published: November 14, 2018

Saint Heron presents “Roll Back, Play That,” an original series of superior musical deep cuts curated by our favorite artists of today.

Baltimore native serpentwithfeet is a multifaceted artist with a glaring visceral sound. Deep rooted in gospel and classical genres, the experimental artist envelopes versatile influences, as shown on this edition of Saint Heron’s Roll Back, Play That. From Brandy’s ’98 R&B ballad “Almost Doesn’t Count” to Kathleen Battle’s ’91 operatic number “Over My Head I Hear Music in the Air,” serpentwithfeet’s playlist displays his range in musical influences. Listen to the full playlist below.

Brandy – “Almost Doesn’t Count”

You will never catch me multi-tasking while this is playing. First of all, Mama is saaangin’ !!  Secondly, I marvel at the latitude Brandy has in this song. She sees exactly what homeboy is (not) doing & I pray for that kind of clarity everyday.

Natalie Wilson  – “Calvary” (reprise)

Musiq Soulchild – “Just Friends”

If we change a few of these pronouns, this song could be a bromance anthem ! I love that Musiq presents new intimacy possibilities here. All this care and transparency feels sustainable and exciting.

John Legend – “Show Me”

Kathleen Battle – “Over my Head I Hear Music in the Air”

Kathleen Battle is my favorite opera singer of all time and this song is the only anti-aging remedy I require. I become a dovelike 1st-grader each time I hear her sing this.

Bilal  – “Sometimes”

2018

Roll Back, Play That: Dâm-Funk

by Asia Burris | published: Nov 01, 2018

Roll Back, Play That: Dâm-Funk

Photography: Julien Tell

By: NyAsia Burris | Published: November 1, 2018

Saint Heron presents “Roll Back, Play That,” an original series of superior musical deep cuts curated by our favorite artists of today.

On this edition of “Roll Back, Play That,” funk musician and producer Dâm-Funk gives us a blast to the past with a playlist full of new wave and synth-pop finds. Tune into the floating soundscapes on Mr. Fingers’ 1989 deep house jam “You’re Someone Special” or the groovy “I’ll Be Gone” by Slave. Learn about all of Dâm-Funk’s handpicked selects and listen to the playlist in full below.

Starshine – “All I Need Is You”

Released in 1983 on the New York Disco based label; Prelude Records, late in the record labels solid run on the dance-floors, this was a song that I discovered on a Unidisc CD compilation in the early 90’s. I used to drive from my hometown of Pasadena, Ca. to Los Angeles every weekend and dig for records. Aside from my usual haunts; Aron’s Records, Beat Non Stop & related on Melrose, sometimes I found myself at more bigger stores like Tower Records & Virgin in Hollywood. I was heavily into collecting anything on Prelude, West End & Salsoul Records at the time. When I heard this joint, it blew me away in the car. My love for lush Funk x Boogie has not faltered since. It changed my life & furthered my confidence in enjoying ‘post-disco’ / Funk known as: Boogie. Mixed by François Kevorkian (D Train, & etc.) and produced by M. Traxxx aka: Michael Timothy Bailey

Tashan – “Read My Mind”

Released in 1986 on Def Jam Recordings, this was one of those jams that I was always attracted to while growing up. Poo Bah Records in Pasadena, Ca. was my main spot for diggin’ as a teen. I bought this album as a promo copy. This particular song jumped out. The perfect melding of street-funk x lush chords x a sinister feel. Should’ve been a hit, but folks weren’t ready. I was, even at this young age. Produced by Tashan himself & the mysterious A2Z.

SLAVE – “I’ll Be Gone”

Released in 1982 on Cotillion Records, this was the first album by the Funk band without legendary lead vocalist & drummer Steve Arrington. Longtime co-lead singer and rhythm guitarist Danny Webster picked up main lead vocals in the band and absolutely destroyed this tune via his Modern-Funk styled vocal delivery and guitar strums throughout. Mark L. Adams rumbles & slides his trademark bass lines throughout as well in such a G way. Many slept on the SLAVE’s catalog after Arrington departed but, I didn’t. This is one of the bands best songs and I would ride around the city of L.A. often to it, as I do ‘til this day. Produced by the band themselves.

PRINCE – “Wonderful Ass”

This was an unreleased song from the great PRINCE that many of us die-hards knew about / had on various boots & cassettes in the 80’s. This finally was released in better sound quality on the “Purple Rain” expanded edition. So glad this one was included. Produced and played by Prince w/ Wendy & Lisa contributing vocals & vibe.

Fashion – “Love Shadow”

Released in 1982 on the Arista label, I remember riding my bike to a record store in Eagle Rock, Ca. as a kid around this time and the record clerk had this playing. But, it was around ‘84. It struck me because I also (during my early experimentation years of different music genres) was listening to a radio station called KROQ 106.7 FM and this song used to play on that station. I had always wondered who it was. That day I walked up to the record clerk and asked who it was and was it for sale, being that it was used record store. Sure enough..I copped the album, with this song on it, finally. It’s still a favorite of mine. Produced by Zeus B. Held.

Soft Cell – “Numbers (12” Version)”

Released in 1983 on the excellent Some Bizzare record label & while still on my KROQ days, but a little earlier in them, after the hoopla of “Tainted Love”, “Sex Dwarf” & related began to subside; Soft Cell kept coming and getting even darker. I loved it & them. This 12” was one I bought as a kid. Produced by Dave Ball w/ Marc Almond continuing his special vocals, this killed! Still does in my book.

Prefab Sprout – “Appetite”

Released in 1985 on the Kitchenware / CBS label, I was turned on to this album by a fellow co-worker at (by this point I was now working) Poo Bah Records in Pasadena around ‘89 / ‘90. He put this CD on in the store and I was blown away by the chords & song writing. This song “Appetite” stood out as well as the whole damn album. Been hooked ever since. Much respect continued for anything primary member Paddy McAloon is on. This album was also produced by Thomas Dolby.

Todd Rundgren & Utopia – “Disco Jets”

Discovered on yet, another one of my weekend runs to Tower Records Hollywood, a CD released in Japan only of unreleased demo’s of the great Todd Rundgren included a heavily sought after demo tape of his band Utopia doing some disco flavored stuff, recorded in 1976. It later got a good release on its own via this project / packaging seen here. Great project. Wonder why it was never officially released back then? Glad it’s avail now. Solid all the way through, with this song being a stand out. Produced by Todd & Utopia.

Mr. Fingers – “You’re Someone Special”

Released in 1989 on the iconic Chicago House Music label: Jack Trax, this was bought when I started getting into House & anything Mr. Fingers aka: Larry Heard had his name on. My lid was totally flipped by this song. I bought it in 1990 on Melrose. It was everything I was looking for in music after Prince & other heroes of mine started changing their sound x the constant onslaught of New Jack Swing & Soul II Soul bitten drum patterns on the radio. The chords, drum machine & electronic sounds x cool vocals was what I needed at this time.8 plus minutes of absolute bliss. Stayed underground. Still awesome though. This song really is ‘special’.

Switch – “Forever My Love”

Released in 1984 on the Total Experience label after Bobby Debarge, Phillip Ingram & others had departed, this was a slept on project with new members now on board. But, one particular song, the last one on side 2, always stood out & has continued to have me in awe every time I listen, from back then & ‘til now. This (“Forever My Love”) was composed by one of the original members still on board from the glory days of Switch: Eddie Fluellen. He was the keyboardist for the band. I feel it’s a fine piece of Black excellence, rarely seen with no particular genre assigned to it. Just a beautiful composition (with no beat, just beautiful vocal harmonies, keys & cymbals) by a great composer included on a mid-80’s Funk album at the end of the record.

2018

Roll Back, Play That: DJ Soul Sister

by Asia Burris | published: Oct 18, 2018

Roll Back, Play That: DJ Soul Sister

Saint Heron presents “Roll Back, Play That,” an original series of superior musical deep cuts curated by our favorite artists of today.

New Orleans’ own Queen of Rare Groove, DJ Soul Sister, is one to never disappoint. Her musical knowledge and curation as a DJ extends decades with tunes that are sure to always get you moving on the nearest dance floor. She doesn’t disappoint, as she brings the funk on this edition of “Roll Back, Play That”. From jazzy soundscapes from saxophonist Gary Bartz to Go-Go rhythms from the iconic Rare Essence and grooves from the Bride of Funkenstein, this self-curated playlist is truly made for the soul. Tune in below.

DJ Soul Sister: What I’m In The Mood For Today.

Yesterday’s New Quintet – “Life’s Angles”

This is a soulful electronic project from the producer Madlib from 2001. If the highest, happiest feeling you could feel had a sound, this would be it.

Gary Bartz – “Sea Gypsy”

Ethereal vibes and tricky times from the veteran saxophonist’s 1975 album, The Shadow Do! I tend to like songs in either (what I feel are) happy or sexy keys. This has both.

Aretha Franklin – “That’s the Way I Feel About Cha”

Here, the Queen of Soul puts a mellow beauty on top of the Bobby Womack original and, as always, makes it her own. Recorded in 1973, produced by Quincy Jones. Her keyboard work on this knocks me out.

Rare Essence – “Hey Buddy Buddy (Live)”

Even though I’m true New Orleans in where I’m from and where I live, I rep hard for D.C. go-go no matter where I go. This is a recording past the 1980s go-go records on PA tapes and vinyl that I’ve collected for years, but it’s one of my favorite go-go cuts. Snoop Dogg recently posted an Instagram vid of himself jamming in his car to this.

Nicholas Payton – “The Egyptian Second Line” (Instrumental)

Two words. A groove. 2017.

Brides of Funkenstein – “Disco to Go”

Including this to represent for the women of Parliament-Funkadelic. This cut features vocalists Lynn Mabry and Dawn Silva givin’ up the funk in 1978 with P-Funk. Produced by George Clinton and Bootsy Collins.

Kool and the Gang – “Soul Vibrations”

A cut from my favorite album of all time. Released in 1972, good feeling funk from start to end. First bought this record when I was 6 years old, and I still can’t get enough.

Grover Washington Jr. – “A Secret Place”

Mellow gladness. 1976.

Circle City Band – “Magic”

One of my favorite rare grooves. Sounds exactly like what it’s called, especially on the dancefloor. 1983.

By NyAsia Burris | Published: October 18, 2018

2018

Roll Back, Play That: Tyler, the Creator

by Asia Burris | published: Oct 18, 2018

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