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Baker's Dozen

Sonic Cinematography: Neneh Cherry's Favourite Albums
Helen King , February 27th, 2014 05:30

Following the release of her new album Blank Project and ahead of shows at Field Day and Sonar Barcelona, Neneh Cherry talks Helen King through her all-time top LPs


The Sugarhill Gang - Sugarhill Gang
I think when crustier hip-hop came along, which I think I got into slightly after The Sugarhill Gang, that probably became more of a trail that I followed. I used to go and see them downtown in NYC, around the time that record was coming out. It was just such a new thing – a totally new sound. They were the sound of NYC - they were everywhere. You know when something is just killing it on the radio and you couldn't get away from it? At that time I was going to clubs more downtown - rather than uptown in NYC - so when they started playing downtown, it really felt like something was happening. Of course, that record really started crossing over and so they started playing all these clubs downtown, where I used to spend my time, and it was just that feeling of being there while something is happening.

I suppose it was almost the first produced hip hop. Obviously it came from the streets: it grew out of people MC-ing on the streets and all that, but Sugarhill Gang was the first 'product' that came out of that environment. It was interesting also because the label was owned by Sylvia Robinson, and the record was produced by her. That was always another thing that I really checked for: the fact that quite a few of those records were produced by her, a woman, which was important to me. No doubt.