Experimental hip-hop outfit Dälek is primed to release their seventh LP, Endangered Philosophies, come September. To celebrate, Will Brooks (a.k.a. MC dälek) shared with us some records that changed his life.
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My Bloody Valentine, Loveless
I actually got into MBV kind of late; I got introduced to them probably around 1995 to 1996 by my co-producer and also by this band that actually could have probably easily been on this list, All Natural Lemon & Lime Flavors. They introduced me to the record as well. I’d never heard anything like it before. The layered guitars, the textures, the way the vocals were buried in the mix. They were using noise to create pop melodies. I was completely blown away from the first time I heard it. I guess I’d never heard anything like that, but they’re definitely heavily influential in what I do.
Public Enemy, It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back
It’s hard, so much of hip-hop is so influential to what I do; I grew up with hip-hop. My cousins were DJs when I was a little kid. They introduced me to stuff like Grandmaster Flash. The first time I heard Public Enemy, even the first record Yo! Bum Rush the Show, I just knew that it was something different.
The first record was dope, but it didn’t prepare me at all for what It Takes a Nation of Millions was. I remember when I got that on vinyl and it had everything I wanted out of hip-hop that I guess I didn’t know that I wanted. They had political lyrics — Chuck D, that’s just one of my all-time favorite MCs and The Bomb Squad production was just everything. Again, it was just another moment when I was like ‘What is this?’ I mean, if you look at our sound … people try to make it out like it’s this completely different thing, but in my mind I’m just trying to keep up with Enemy.
Boogie Down Productions, By All Means Necessary
As an MC, [KRS-One is] the reason I do what I do. My cousins were very influential to me and they introduced me to Criminal Minded. To this day I think ‘Illegal Business’ is one of my favorite songs.
John Coltrane, Meditations
Jazz was something that I kind of got into late. Probably when I was in college. I was like twenty, or in my twenties, but I just love [Coltrane]. The use of noise is melody. His raw emotion is just… Coltrane is a good experience.
I don’t know, it’s kind of opened up my eyes to whole other world. And that’s definitely influential in the music that we do. Coltrane is what really opened me up to the whole jazz and experimental jazz world.
It just encompasses that golden age of hip-hop for me. That is really what I lived and breathed. To me, Illmatic is just a perfect album, top to bottom. The production on there… I almost feel bad for [Nas] because I feel like…you could never top that. You come out the gate with Illmatic, like you think very high of yourself. You should have held on to that one for like a third album.
(Photo credit: Eric Kjensrud)