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Baker's Dozen

Future Islands Discs: Samuel T. Herring's Favourite Albums
Patrick Clarke , October 14th, 2020 08:40

From teenage years spent amassing an arsenal of underground hip hop CDs to his first forays into jazz, post-rock and indie, Future Islands' Samuel T. Herring picks thirteen records that soundtracked his coming of age


Goodie Mob - Soul Food

This is one that I listen to still. It’s still in my top five records of any genre, period. I was listening to this at a time, I think this record came out in 1996, but it was probably around 1999 that I was listening to it. Those were the years of ‘Gettin’ Jiggy With It’ in popular culture, but I was digging back and learning about Boogie Down Productions and KRS-One, and Eric B and Rakim and moving forward through De La Soul and A Tribe Called Quest. I was a 14-year-old hip hop purist! That doesn’t really work in rural North Carolina where nobody knows anything about hip hop except what’s on TV. What hip hop did for me as a kid was it showed me other people’s life experiences that are completely different from my own. Goodie Mob’s Soul Food is them talking about poverty and starvation and feeling locked inside of a cell in their own homes.

Listening to these guys from Atlanta talk about their lives and their struggle, is very different from me as like a white kid in rural North Carolina. But at the same time, I found that their stories were empowering. Instead of talking about ‘All this money we have’ or ‘All this fun we’re having’, these people are talking about real struggle. To me that was powerful, the thing that made them interesting was showing that vulnerability. The thing I get from Goodie Mob still is the ability to be a really strong person and then share your weakness and reveal something that’s really true and honest. This is one of the albums that shows me you can be strong and vulnerable at the same time. Also, there’s the sounds of the South. There’s a whole song that has the sound of crickets throughout the whole track. It found me in my place and spoke to me, but even more as a kid trying to figure out who I am in this world.