From Bass-Riddled Electronic Music to the Rawness of ‘90s Hip-Hop, DJ Lindsey Provides Our Final Playlist for Black History Month
In celebration of Black History Month, EDITION enlisted the aid of Black artists across all music genres to curate playlists comprised of songs that have connected with them the most. Each record they’ve chosen highlights fellow artists they’ve grown to appreciate over the years alongside their thoughts on the impact the tunes have on their artistry and lives.
We’re ending Black History Month on a solid note with a playlist comprised of an eclectic mix of hip-hop, electronic, and R&B curated by DJ Lindsey.
The trendsetting DJ and curator’s long-running “Negroclash” night at New York’s APT was a celebration of the Black contribution to electronic music, which caught the attention of Prince, who often called upon her to DJ his private events. In addition, she recently established the show Black Is Black on Sonos’ free Sound System platform. The program taps into Black musical diaspora, spotlighting influences, its global impact, and how Black artists have unfailingly transformed culture through music. Click here to experience Black Is Black.
Listen to DJ Lindsey’s selections below and read on for the inspiration behind each song she selected.
Roni Size - "Music Box”
When I started going out in college, I ended up going to raves. So many of the ravers were white kids, but I could hear the Black influence all over what they were listening to, especially jungle. I learned later on that producers like Roni Size, Tom & Jerry/4hero, DJ Krust, LTJ Bukem, Goldie (I could go on) were all Black! By this time, I was already listening to their music on DJ mixtapes without knowing. I knew I had found my "thing." All the soul, R&B, disco, and funk music I was raised on was already in my blood, but this was mine!
4hero - "Hold It Down"
I moved to NY at a time when the jungle/drum and bass scene was pretty small, and becoming a professional jungle DJ was nearly impossible. This new sound was emerging from the UK that, to me, was like if Missy Elliott and jungle music had a baby. I knew that as a DJ who had NYC rent to pay, I needed a sound that I still loved (and loved me back) that I could play out without feeling like I lost my integrity. Broken beat was that, and when I think of that time, this song is the essential cut.
The Marvelettes - "Don't Mess With Bill"
Episode six of Black Is Black talks about how Motown artists were groomed for TV appearances to appeal to a whiter audience. I really bought into that for a long time as a youth, but I knew when I heard "Don't Mess With Bill," there was something edgier to these artists. Like, I can almost hear Wanda Young tighten up her lip when she sings her warning. She wasn't playing! And suddenly, the whole Motown polish had this exciting edge to it! That was a discovery point to me into the history of that famous label and its artists.
Snoop Dogg - "Tha Shiznit"
I mean, it took me like 30 minutes to pick one Snoop song. I love Snoop so much. I settled on "Tha Shiznit" because that's where the love affair started for me. I inherited an '83 Honda Civic we called Blue Suzie that puttered out a cloud of smoke, and you couldn't tell me it wasn't a '64 on D's when I was listening to this album. Snoop did this freestyle in one take, and that was it!
Alexander O'Neal feat. Cherrelle - "Never Knew Love Like This"
Of course, there's “Saturday Love,” but anything with Alexander O'Neal, Cherrelle, and Jam & Lewis production (See also "Innocent") is undeniable, but I love putting a lesser-known jam on a playlist. It's all about dusting off those far reaches of people's memories or uncovering something unknown that makes me happy. Plus, they are really having a whole conversation with each other in the adlibs.
Atlantic Starr - "When Love Calls"
I was raised with music playing in the house all day. There were certain voices and sounds that resonated with me, and the voice of Sharon Bryant on "When Love Calls" just really is everything that's great about this R&B/disco era of music. I don't think I will ever get tired of hearing this song.
Busta Rhymes - "Everything Remains Raw"
The intro to the "Woo Ha" video had this snippet of another song. Busta Rhymes was in a Land Cruiser driving through NYC with Spliff Star wilding with him in the front seat distorted through Hype William's fisheye lens. That energy was what made me want to move to NYC. Me being me, I fell in love with "Everything Remains Raw," and tons of the album cuts on ‘The Coming.’ Busta Rhymes is just such an individual. This was another artist whose catalog was hard to choose from because I have loved him from early on in his career.
Stevie Wonder - "Tuesday Heartbreak"
There is no one Stevie Wonder song I could possibly choose. He's that important to me and my family. Stevie Wonder was the most consistently played music in my house as a child. Both of my parents simply adore him. My father sang "Isn't She Lovely" to me as I was growing up, and it was the song we danced to at my wedding. Stevie Wonder's music is a part of my heartbeat.
Steel Pulse - "Chant a Psalm"
My dad and his love for reggae music was also a huge influence on my music taste leading to my ears perking up when I heard those references in jungle/drum and bass and later broken beat genres of music. The entire ‘True Democracy’ album is incredible, but “Chant a Psalm” is such a joyful opening track that will "dash away your bluesy feeling."
Prince - “Money Don’t Matter 2 Night”
Period. There's no way I can pick just one but for this list, I selected "Money Don't Matter 2 Night" because we all need this message these days.
Kilo Ali - "Baby, Baby"
I added this bonus track because ATL in the late ‘90s was another huge life-changing time for me (Freaknik!). I was finding all of these different styles of music that were connected in one way or another. Booty shake/bass music was another fast tempo genre that I adored. It doesn't technically get classified as electronic music, but that's exactly what it is. This was what was played on some ATL radio stations during rush hour, and I almost would be sad to get home!