Jessica_128-Flat

“My memories of seeing an LP and my realization of the uniqueness of its sound are two different memories. The first time I can remember connecting with an LP was at an age I cannot recall. My mom used to work at a record store before I was born, so there was a pretty righteous soul/funk/ disco collection at our house.”


WORDS: JESSICA CROSS

PHOTOGRAPHY: HAYDEN PHIPPS


CATCH A FIRE
BOB MARLEY AND THE WAILERS
1973

This record ignited a fire in me. In many ways these men taught me how powerful music could be, within me and in the world. I don’t know if the world can be saved, but The Wailers enlightened me to the fact that the world can be changed. It starts with emancipation of self: mind body and soul. This record marked the beginning of my self-exploration; and it continues to provide guidance and wisdom as I move through the world.

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CHOCOLATE MILK
MILKY WAY
1979

This particular record represents how records themselves have had a huge impact on my journey. More so, Milky Way is a reminder of home. I was stranded in Washington DC, my first venture across America to live in a new city far from what I called home. DC was still gentrifying and crime lingered in the hoods I could afford. I had looked at many spots to live and most were cool, but nothing felt all the way right. When I walked into this one particular house there on the wall were a series of old record covers. I felt positive energy moving up and down my body, some might call it a ‘tingle’. Finally, I had found the place. When I asked about ‘who what and why’, the woman told me “they belong to the house”, my new home. Throughout my life, records have provided a certain level of validation and guidance. They are a major influence in my decision-making. Wherever I roam, the first thing I do is find the local record store, whatever happens after that is meant to be.

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KRS ONE
I GOT NEXT
1997

Anybody in here, right now, with tape decks, turn ‘em on and put ‘em on record. I’ll give you second. I want to add authenticity to your tape // so when it’s sold out in the streets, you all can know it was a really party.

These are poems written across the nation // everybody’s bad and everybody’s tough // but how many people are intelligent enough // to open up their eyes and see through the lies // discipline themselves yourself to stay alive // not many. // That’s why universe sent me today on this stage // with this to say // The rich will get richer and the poor will get poorer // in the final hour // many heads will lose power // what does the rich vs poor really mean? // psychologically it means you gotta pick your team // when someone says the rich gets richer // visualize wealth and put yourselves in the picture // the rich get richer, cuz they work towards rich // the poor get poorer cuz their mind can’t switch from the ghetto // let go // it’s not a novelty // you can love your neighborhood without lovin’ poverty // follow me// every mother, father, son, daughter // There’s no reason to fear the new world order // We must order the whole new world to pay us, the new world order and the old state chaos // the big brother // watchin’ over you // is a lie you see // hip hop can build its own secret society! // But first // you and I got to unify // stop the negativity // and control our creativity // The rich is getting richer // so while we ain’t richer // could it be // we still thinkin’ like Niggas?? // Educate yourselves // make your worldview bigger // visualize wealth // and put yourselves in the picture.  Need I say more?

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JAMES BROWN
LIVE AT THE APOLLO
1963

Be wild. Be free. Be yourself. Let loose. Find your soul. Scream. Leave it all on stage.  Believe it or not, this man and his music gave me the key to unlock the performer.  Rewind: 16 years old: Jamaica. I am about to go on stage – my nerves are pumping – why did I accept this challenge to sing sex machine live…fuck it. I threw the lyrics to the ground and swear on my life – that day, I became James Brown. I think there is a recording out there somewhere; I would pay to see it.

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DEATH
SPIRITUAL / MENTAL / PHYSICAL
2011

This record tells so many stories. Thoughts of a punk phase that never really ended, the musical freedom of being your true self…family… destiny… determination and willpower. All of this from one record!

When I first discovered Death I was watching their documentary at an independent theatre in Oakland with one of my best homies and musical soul mate from childhood. We were partners in crime, hitting every mosh pit we could find before the age of 16. And here we were, learning about the newly discovered pioneers of punk – and damn the man! They were Black. Halfway through the film I was busy emailing my local record store and contemplating my next tattoo. Yes – I got both.

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STEVIE WONDER
INNERVISIONS
1973

Where to start…there could be no end…Stevie Wonder is a leading light in the musical revolution that is as real as my heartbeat. Aside from his endless contribution to music as a singer, songwriter and composer, in my book, Stevie Wonder as a human being embodies all that is possible using music as a catalyst for communication from one heart to another. One of my greatest inspirations

So many memories come to mind…any Stevie record would do, but I chose this one because the cover art says so much about him. The illustration highlights his unique ability to envision while not being able to use his eyes to see.

Just like the feeling I get when listening to his music, it touches a special place in me because it comes from a special place in him. In fact, it is a place that we both share, us, and the rest of humanity. One might ask, “How does he do it? Every time!?” with effortless ease..?

This cover reveals a secret; Stevie can see as clearly as anyone. Not only can he see, he sees from the most powerful place. In this record, he shares visions from his third eye; the truest eye; the eye that matters most. IMG_2372