The music playlists keep coming in, and one artist after the next has been generous and enthusiastic in sharing the songs that inspire their original work. In approaching hip-hop legend Mannie Fresh, a New Orleans-bred breadwinner, the world-renowned musician was energetic to participate through conversation, not digital correspondance. Mannie didn't send us a submission, he called us on the telephone.
In dishing it out, NoDef discovered the tracks that put Mannie in the mood- the mood to dance, the mood to smile, the mood to relfect, the mood to entertain. "I have so many ‘favorite’ songs you know, and this list changed so many times back and forth", Mannie said. "And I’m a DJ you know, but when I have time to myself, these are the songs that I really like." We like them too Mannie, we like them too:
1) ‘What's Going On’ — Marvin Gaye
Marvin Gaye was one of those artists who was daring to do something different. The record company didn’t want him to do it, they thought it was too risky, or whatever and it was something that needed to be said. And when you listen, these lyrics are timeless. Just he title alone, it was sent from god, you know that song will forever, its going to forever define the time- there’s no better title for a song, and the words are timeless and for someone to go against an entire machine to make a song, because of what needs to heard and what needs to be said. This song is like the MLK of songs, it took guts to do it.. What's going on- I been asking that since I was born, and I'm still trying to find out. That’s my quest. I know people know me from Cash Money, and the bling bling and all that, but as an artist, I’m so much more than that- I’m really on a quest for knowledge. I really want to know everything I can know, every time I pick up a book, or listen to a record, I’m opening my mind, I’m listening for everything. Don’t close yourself off, ask what’s going on, be on that quest.
2) ‘Mantronix’ — Bassline
A lot of my music is based around this song- when I heard ‘Bassline-‘, I really thought it was the greatest thing in the world, the greatest notes that could be put together in a rap song. I grew up listening to Mantronix, and when I first started DJing, this was always a song I put on to get the party started. I couldn’t buy a brand new ipod, ipad, whatever, without putting this stuff in it. I will never grow tired of this stuff, it’s feel good music.
3) ‘Square Biz’ — Teena Marie
This is one of my favorite songs because my sister used to bring me to her high school dances, and whenever that song came on it was just like the number one song, it was the jam. This was before I knew it was Teena Marie, but that song was memorable because it was introduced to me by my sister. I was way too young to be going to some of the things that I went to, but she always let me tag along with her, and wherever we went around the city, whenever we heard that song, it just made the night. Teena’s timeless, that’s all I can say.
4) ‘Let's Groove Tonight’ — Earth, Wind & Fire
This was one of my parents’ favorite songs, you know growing up and seeing my parents interact off that song. I remember hearing that a lot, as it was one of my dad’s favorite song, put him in that loving, dancing mood. So this is more of a family jam, and I wound up loving the song.
5) ‘Inside & Out’ — Bee Gees
If you’ve never heard this song before, you’ll find yourself singing along right away. Before the song is over, you know and are singing this song. And it’s a nice ice breaker, I mean if you’ve got a chick with you it don’t matter what age where she’s from, religion, race, none of that, you can play that song, and you’ll find yourself vibing to it, and then that question comes in like who is that, that’s the Bee Gees and that’s the ice breaker, and on top of that, c’mon the Bee Gees vocals are unmatched. I mean songs like that just put me in a good mood. If it’s a long day, I play the Bee Gees and I have this ritual that I do…before a set, I need to play myself some songs that put me in a good mood, and put me in a good place to put other people in a good mood, and the Bee Gees are part of that ritual for me.
6) ‘Play That Beat’ — Globe & Whiz Kid
Honestly- I just love this song!
7) ‘Planet Rock’ — Afrika Bambaata
My dad was a street dj, and I remember the first time I heard him play it, and I just remember cursing, and my dad said ‘What Did you Say?’ and I couldn’t’ help it, I was just like ‘Fuck!’ You know my dad played that record when that record first came out, you know because you really had no way of promoting the records, you just thought it was cool and you bough it. So you know I was just like damn this is what I want to do for the rest of my life it ain’t gonna get no better than this you know growing up in new Orleans and listening to the jazz music and all that that New Orleans heritage, but when I heard planet rock it just changed everything, my whole way of thinking, and all of it. The rhythms, the BPMs, how it’s put together- for thise times, if you think about it, it’s classic, ‘Planet Rock’ is so important to house music, electro music, everything- it set that trend.
8) ‘Flash To The Beat’ — Grandmaster Flash
This is the song that introduced the drum machine, it was infused with both real live drums and the drum machine. And what made it classic, is that in and out sound. That song was vital to me because the whole concept of the Hot Boyz was based around Grand master Flash and the Furious Five, and ore specifically this song. whether they even know that or not. They didn’t grow up on that, so they didn’t understand the concept or definition, but my inspiration for the Hot Boyz is directly from that song- getting four guys to come together and embody that new role of a DJ and the effects, and what a group can do. This song is the blueprint.
9) ‘Tom Sawyer’ — Rush
I used to spin this record as a break beat back in the G and nobody ever knew what the song was, they just danced to it. And nobody asked, and the crazxy thig was it was a rock song, but it worked in hop hop. I would play the beginning oft hat song, and back spin it, and I d try to emulate everything the drummer did, and I just thought he was incredible. This was before I even understood the role of the drummer in a band, but I mimicked those patterns. The crazy things was I never even took the time out to know the name of the song. But I had some white friends and I heard them playing it. And I never even knew the name of the song, I just took it around with me. I still play this song in my set, and when this song comes on, two generations later, people still be pulling out their imaginary sticks and air playing the drums, without even realizing that’s how they’re dancing, because it’s magic.
10) ‘Rock Box’ — DMC
Rock Box is basically when ‘white meets black’, when hip hop came over to rock, and it fused, and it made a baby, and it’s called ‘Rock Box’. It showed that Hip Hop can be anything, and something good can come out of it. That was the very first song to do that, in that realm and it was like oh wow, we just conquered rock now, so what’s next? Flash was on the breakbeat records, but he wasn’t on the rock records. Run DMC grew up on the rock albums, they listened to them, and started rapping on top of them. So this track is so critical, because it went everywhere, across genres. With ‘Walk This Way’, Run knew the original song, because they did their homework, they were listening to that music. And then they came out with that track, and no one knew that it wasn’t their original song, they didn’t know it came from Aerosmith, we thought it was just a brand new Run DMC song. Rock Box was so critical because no one complained about the blend, about the guitars, about the elements we weren’t used to, because it was, and is, the jam.