A Reader staffer shares three musical obsessions, then asks someone (who asks someone else) to take a turn.
Karen Hawkins, Reader digital managing editor
Why is Erykah Badu trending on Twitter? Ah, shit. I was at her fateful show on January 19 at the Aragon, and to cope with the aftermath, I’ve gone to a happy place in my head—namely the week before, when I was listening to her early albums nonstop, blissfully unaware that she was about to step right on in it. Not for nothing is she considered the queen of neosoul, and traveling back to the late 90s and early 00s with her was just the nostalgia I needed.
Prince & the Revolution, Parade: Music From the Motion Picture Under the Cherry Moon I recently got my family to rewatch Under the Cherry Moon for the Reader‘s online Flopcorn feature, and seeing the movie again 30-plus years after its release validated all of our initial opinions: the soundtrack is absolutely amazing, and the movie is . . . not. Fortunately, Parade is joyous, sexy, and infectious enough to stand on its own, and if you love the album but have never seen the movie, you’ve saved yourself 100 valuable minutes.
Quincy Jones’s version of “Maybe God Is Tryin’ to Tell You Somethin'” Despite my Methodist upbringing, I’m far from religious (sorry mom), but thanks to years of church services and riding around in my mother’s car, I have a deep appreciation for gospel music embedded in my DNA. This song from the soundtrack to The Color Purple has all the elements that make gospel speak even to the likes of me: soul-stirring vocals and instrumentation and a you-betta-wake-up message.
Karen is curious what’s in the rotation of . . .
Glitter Moneyyy, aka political party rappers Queen Trashley and TayyySlayyy
Quay Dash About once a week, I stay up till sunrise listening to new music, and it was on one of those nights that I discovered New York rapper Quay Dash. Her 2018 single “U.A.F.W.M.” is aggressive, sexy, provocative, and challenging, and it encompasses exactly how I feel when I strut my sexy self into neighborhood dive bars dressed in black leather from head to toe. Quay Dash is demanding to be heard and respected—and look, you have no choice. Bow down. —Queen Trashley
Tasha I discovered Chicago singer-songwriter Tasha on a friend’s playlist and was immediately in love. She simultaneously wraps me in political resistance with “fuck the police” poetry and reminds me how self-love and -care are acts of rebellion. In her tenderness there’s an immovable presence—she’s strong and soft, fighting and flourishing. “Kind of Love” hits me straight in the feels. The melody puts those young-love butterflies right in my tummy. I’m so excited to hear more from Tasha. —TayyySlayyy
Perfume Genius I was introduced to the music of Perfume Genius in 2014, when I heard the big drums, airy defiance, and luxurious synthesizers of the song “Queen.” Perfume Genius make daring, radical love music, and when I recently saw them perform 2017’s No Shape (opening for Florence & the Machine) I was transformed. Their songs are so personal and gut-wrenching. Music is most exciting for me when it’s rebellious and full of love, and Perfume Genius capture this perfectly. —Queen Trashley
Glitter Moneyyy are curious what’s in the rotation of . . .
Vagabond Maurice, dragon, lyricist, Afro-nerd
Uyama Hiroto Ever since discovering late producer Nujabes via Samurai Champloo back in the day, I’ve always found the music of his constant collaborator Uyama Hiroto to stand out on the tracks where he’s featured. His style ushers in a heavy down-tempo and ambient-jazz feel, which takes inspiration and influence from hip-hop—and those are all things I love. Also, I’ve kept his record Freeform Jazz spinning since it dropped in 2016.
Mahalia I stumbled onto Mahalia—a British singer who pairs her sultry vocals with honey- and soul-like compositions—through someone’s Instagram video of her performance on the YouTube music series Colors. If that’s not music discovery through the grapevine, I don’t know what is! Since then I’ve been keeping an eye and ear out for her tunes, and she’s continued to impress with all her releases—especially with a stunning visual for one of her songs that gave me the same feel I got from the Pharcyde’s “Drop.”
Black Thought What more is there to say about Tariq Trotter, the legendary MC and front man of the Roots? My pops been listening to them since ’95, so by extension I’ve been an active participant and fan for just as long. Black Thought’s 2017 Funk Flex master-class freestyle reminded everyone how ill he’s continued to be, and in 2018 he dropped a handful of releases throughout the year. To my delight, his multisyllabic Afrocentric lyricism remains, evolving along with the music. v