black history month ppl staff album picks

“Untitled (Black Is)” by SAULT

‘Add a little SAULT to your life’

Sault are an anonymous British music collective that make a mixture of R&B, Gospel, Funk, Soul, House and Disco. There most recent timely release helps to address issues felt globally by the black diaspora and asks a lot of tough questions that chide society. In message, it is fundamental; in sound, it is fresh.

From David Akomiah, Repertoire Data Quality Co-Ordinator

“Chronology” by Chronixx

Why? – Chronology has such a happy vibe, listening to this album is so uplifting. Alongside the positive messages, Chronixx also tackles racism in “Black is Beautiful” and Jamaican poverty in “Ghetto Paradise”.

From Ross Ankers, International Operations Partner

“Untitled Rise” by SAULT

Why? – They’re an anonymous production group who create music around black-centric issues.  The album was written in response to the murder of George Floyd. It’s a beautiful album!

From Roisin Brophy, Relationship Manager 

“The Love Below” by Outkast (Andre 3000)

This album had a big impact on me, I was already a big Outkast fan and the way this double album came out and the different approaches they both took was very unique. The love below in particular was an exciting album, you didn’t know which direction the album was going from one song to the next but didn’t feel disjointed. I always liked different types of music and this album had everything it was interesting, dramatic, funny and the music videos. It had rap, jazz, classical, ballads, pop and for me solidified Andre 3000 as one of the coolest and most talented artists in hip hop.

 From James Coleman, Finance Manager

“Ji” by Junior Giscombe

The reason this album is soooo important and significant to me, is because;

  1. This is my Dad’s first ever album! Mama Used To Say was one of the first songs, I ever heard as a child. This song led my Dad to become the first black British artist to appear on Soul Train and this also earned him “Best Newcomer Award, whilst peaking at No.2 on Billboard’s R&B chart.
  2. This is where my name originates from…”Ji” means intelligent and wise. A good choice from my mum I think 😉

Just wanted to pay a tribute to my musical heritage!

From Jiyla Cupit, Relationship Manager

 My top go to albums are:

The Internet – Hive Mind, specifically track called Come Together

Labrinth (I feel like his work doesn’t get enough credit) – “Imagination & the Misfit Kid”, there a track called “The Finale” 0.10 second in, it has like a choir bit, which give me chills, like when you hear Kelly Price sing. Also the album he created for the drama Euphoria, the song All of Us, if you listen to his original version and then the version he wrote of the show similar but it expressed the character emotion. Great show to watch, if you haven’t seen it.

Luck Daye – my favourite artist right now, recommend to anyone who is missing Frank Ocean, as he slightly sound like him – Painted deluxe album. Top song are Ready for Love, Real Games, Misunderstood and Shoulda, this track feature Babyface

Donald Gover – Because the Internet

N.E.R.D – No one ever really dies

Brandy – Never Say Never,

Kendrick Lamar – To Pimp A Butterfly, but only because of the track These Walls, cause of Thundercats

Jidenna – 85 to Africa

Monica – Miss Thang

Goapele – this is not an album but a track recommendation “Break of Dawn”

I hope this list is ok – I am more a track by track person, as I generally don’t tend to like a whole album, there is also one song to ruin it for me lol

From Rochelle Grant, International Operations Specialist

 “BE” by Common

I absolutely adore this album as Common is one of my favourite rappers but also because of the heavy use of sampling in Kanye West’s production. And who doesn’t love a good sample?!

Be presents a softer, more loving side to hip hop. It gets to the root of the black human experience all the while staying sonically beautiful.

From Nancy Mills, Membership Specialist

 “The Essential” Teddy Pendergrass

I have a list of artists that I would listen to with my Mum as we cooked and cleaned on a Sunday. I have chosen Teddy Pendergrass “The Essential” as she absolutely loves him and the album holds some of the great hits we used to sing and dance too. Other artists if you need variation are (Otis Reading, Dionne Warwick, Aretha Franklin, Marvin Gaye, Al Green, Nina Simone, Gladys Knight and the pips)

From Dionne Pascal, Accounts Receivable and Payables Manager

 “Songs In The Key Of Life” by Stevie Wonder

This album is a timeless masterpiece and the songs are still very relevant today as it touches on racial issues whilst celebrating black culture and the power of diversity.

‘Black man’ written in 1976 is a track from the album refers to 12 people in the opening verse and acknowledges their efforts that have pushed the culture forward.”

From Rachael Philip, Repertoire Data Quality Co-Ordinator

“Folila” by Amadou & Mariam

Why? – An inspirational couple, they are both blind and met at the blind school in Mali, who write songs that make you want to sing and dance whilst the same time containing hard hitting lyrics that make you think about the world. They opened my ears and mind to the music and Africa which has led me on to discover lots more amazing artists

From Richard Stewart, Head of Dubbing & Tariff Development

“Landing on a Hundred” by Cody ChesnuTT

Why? – My favourite track from the album has to be “Love is more than a wedding day”.  My husband and I chose this song as the first dance at our wedding and a friend of ours read the song lyrics during the wedding service.  I just love the sentiment of the song – it’s about the realness of love and celebrating getting through all the tough bits! I love all his work but this album holds a special place in my heart with beautiful songs reminiscent of Marvin Gaye and Curtis Mayfield. I watched him perform the album at the Jazz Café, Camden several years ago and he spoke in detail about each track and the personal journey that the album charts. Those insights have made listening to the album even more meaningful and it’s an album I often return to.

From Camilla Waite, Deputy General Counsel

“Dance to the Best of ESG” by ESG

Why? – ESG are one of the most influential post punk no-wave bands in NYC in late 1970’s. They were such were an important band to me when I first got into music. As an young Asian woman surrounded by predominately male and Caucasian guitar bands seeing 3 black women playing guitar based music really inspired me. When I first listened to the song ‘You’re No Good’ it’s stripped down simplicity of bass, drums and vocals really struck a chord with me and even influenced me to learn the bass and drums.

“What’s Going On?” by Marvin Gaye

Why? – I have never been particularly good at articulating why I like a particular piece of music or album, so the following might not be very insightful. I think this album is simply brilliant from beginning to end and stands-up against any other album released in the last 60 years. The songs are expertly crafted, performed, and recorded and provide a social commentary that was not common in Soul music at the time. This vision captured in this album set a course that many musicians have subsequently followed, notably Stevie Wonder with Innervisions and Cutis Mayfield with Superfly. For me, this album opened a lot of musical doors when I first heard it working in a record shop 22 years ago. Listening to this album and reading the excellent book A Change Is Gonna Come: Music, Race And The Soul Of America by Craig Werner, led me to albums by Curtis Mayfield, Gil Scott-Heron, Parliament, Funkadelic, Isaac Hayes, Minnie Ripperton, Sly & the Family Stone, and Bobby Womack, to name a few. There’s also the fact that after releasing the track “What’s Going On” as a single, against the wishes of Motown boss, Berry Gordy, Gaye finished recording the rest of the album in 10 days, which is a staggering feat of artistic endeavour.

My favourite track on the album is “Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler)”, which exemplifies the balance of sublime song writing and socially aware lyrics that runs throughout the whole album.

From Michael Williams, Senior Legal & Business Affairs Executive