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Love Letter To A Record: Mr Jukes & Barney Artist On A Tribe Called Quest & The Roots

Many of us can link a certain album to pivotal moments in our lives. Whether it’s the first record you bought with your own money, the chord you first learnt to play on guitar, the song that soundtracked your first kiss, the album that got you those awkward and painful pubescent years or the one that set off light bulbs in your brain and inspired you to take a big leap of faith into the unknown – music is often the catalyst for change in our lives and can even help shape who we become.

In this Love Letter To A Record series, Music Feeds asks artists to reflect on their relationship with music and share with us stories about the effect music has had on their lives.

Barney Artist – A Tribe Called Quest, Midnight Marauders(1993 )

Dear Midnight Marauders,

Thank you!

I haven’t loved anything as instantaneous as how I loved you.

Your basslines fill my soul with a warmth that’s like a hug from a family member.

Your drums embrace my heart so lovingly, my heartbeat automatically syncopates to it.

Your melodies soak my eardrums with lush soothing tones that transport me to a place of ultimate tranquillity.

Your lyrics wrap round my brain like silk laced ribbons simply intertwining the positive vibrations throughout my entire body.

Midnight Marauders.. you changed my life and for that, I’ll always sing your praises.

You are my family forever.

Thank you,

Barney

Mr Jukes – The Roots, Things Fall Apart(1999 )

I was 14 years old in Brent Cross shopping centre with my mum when I came across you on the shelves of HMV. My school friend and I were already fans of the band…. working out how to play songs on guitar and bass from your record Do You Want More?!!!??! I could already tell from the album cover that this was going to be a deeper and perhaps darker album (at the time I was unfamiliar with the novel that the title was taken from).

From the opening monologue (taken from Spike Lee’s Mo’ Better Blues) to the haunting spoken

word of ‘The Return To Innocence Lost’, and with track titles often called Acts One, Two, Three etc…this really felt like a piece of theatre or a film rather than just music. Yes there were light moments and catchy tunes… but the song that really hit me was the aforementioned ‘The Return To Innocence Lost’. A brutally graphic poem about domestic violence, addiction and broken homes set to a beautiful bell-like keyboard part. My friend and I would listen to it in stunned silence.

‘Dynamite!’ introduced me to the wonders of J Dilla and his unique swing. ‘You Got Me’ got me into the beautiful music of Erykah Badu and Jill Scott. The whole record showed me a dark and melancholy side of hip hop that I had never heard before.

Thank you for the endless inspiration.

Jack

Mr Jukes and Barney Artist’s debut collab album ‘The Locket’ is out now. The album includes singles ‘Vibrate’, ‘Blowin Steam (Open Your Mind)’ and ‘Check the Pulse (feat. Kofi Stone)’.

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