- 25 Oct 19
Crossing five decades of classic records, a selection of Ireland’s most exciting young artists discuss their favourite albums since the dawn of Hot Press.
I was familiar with a few of the songs on Mama’s Gun from MTV in the early ‘00s, but it was only a few years later, when a friend put ‘Green Eyes’ on a mixtape for me, that I completely fell in love with the sound. I was amazed at the way Erykah Badu manages to combine vulnerability, humour and compositional excellence onto one 10-minute-long track, with this gorgeous jazz improvisation in there too. It’s like a three-part suite. Immediately, I knew I had to check out this artist.
I binge-listened to the album. The opening track, ‘Penitentiary Philosophy’, is so banging – and the videos of her and her band doing it live are amazing. ‘Didn’t Cha Know’ is super cool, and is still unparalleled today – because it’s so genuine. ‘Booty’ and ‘Bag Lady’ are great tunes too. Even when she’s being funny, she’s packing these really big messages into the music – but it’s being delivered in such a smooth, chilled-out way. All throughout Mama’s Gun, there’s incredible depth and honesty in her songwriting.
They recorded it in Electric Lady Studios, at the same time as D’Angelo’s Voodoo and Common’s Like Water For Chocolate. They’re all analogue recordings and are mixed similarly. There’s some gorgeous freeform playing on those albums too. It’s a great example of that ‘90s/‘00s neo-soul that has really influenced this current generation. So much of my music, especially ‘This Heart’, has been hugely inspired by that.