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Record Store Recs: Darius & Wayne Snow Take Us To Paris, Berlin, Tokyo & Beyond

Wayne Snow & Darius with "Equilibrium" vinyl

Photo: Courtesy of artist

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Record Store Recs: Darius & Wayne Snow Take Us To Paris, Berlin, Tokyo & Beyond

The powerhouse pair's latest release, "APOLOGY," is an emotive, thumping track and was just dropped on Paris' Roche Musique on Oct. 1

GRAMMYs/Oct 8, 2020 - 01:40 am

With the unprecedented global disruption of 2020, it's important to support the music community however we can. With our series Record Store Recs, GRAMMY.com checks in with vinyl-loving artists to learn more about their favorite record stores and the gems they've found there.

Berlin-based Nigerian future soul artist Wayne Snow and Paris-based French dreamscape producer Darius are quite the musical force, with Snow's rich, inviting vocals being the perfect fit for Darius' floating melodic house beats. They first joined forces in 2015 on "Helios," following with two collab tracks ("Night Birds" and "Lost in the Moment") on the producer's 2017 debut album, Utopia. 2017 was also the year Snow released his debut full-length, Freedom TV.

The powerhouse pair's latest release, "APOLOGY," is an emotive, thumping track where the singer's angelic voice is backed by a gospel-inspired chorus asking for forgiveness in a dark world. The powerful, poignant track is the follow-up and B-side to "EQUILIBRIUM," and was just dropped on Paris' Roche Musique on Oct. 1.

For the latest Record Store Recs, Snow and Darius invite us into their musical world, sharing some of the music that inspires them (including jazz, bossa nova and experimental electronic music artists). They also invite us to crate dig for vinyls with them in their hometowns of Berlin and Paris and while on in Seoul, Tokyo and Los Angeles.

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Pick three to five records stores you love.

Darius:

Bigwax in Paris 

Hi-Fi Record Store in Tokyo 

Music Library in Seoul

Amoeba Hollywood in Hollywood, Calif.

Snow:

Oye Records in Berlin

Sound Metaphors in Berlin 

Hard Wax in Berlin

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Why do you love these shops? what kind of goodies have you found there? 

Darius: I have to talk about Bigwax because they are both our partners for years on all our Roche Musique releases and one of my favorite Parisian record stores. The place is super nice, spacious, modern and if you like electronic music, it's the perfect place to find house, techno and experimental nuggets. If you want to dig a little bit more, there is also a very sharp selection in hip hop, jazz, funk, disco, soul, etc. This is my favorite part because I always find at least one or two nuggets on the spot. Moreover, for someone of my generation it's really the ideal place to have a drink with friends because the place also regularly organizes events with DJ sets and live bands.

During my first visits to Tokyo on an Asian tour, I had the chance to discover Hi-Fi Records, this exceptional little record store in Shibuya owned by a couple! A friend of mine had taken me there and I remember listening to a small selection of soul and funk music taken at random and coming across some incredible stuff.

The store also offers a repertoire of a large number of records that can be pre-listened on the site. Unfortunately, if you don't live in Japan no delivery is possible but the advantage is that you can still discover their selection and I admit that I keep looking from time to time to find new nuggets when I want to feed my Spotify playlist.

Music Library is a bit of a must-see in Seoul if you're a music lover. When I'm in Seoul, I usually stay a five-minute walk from the Music Library. The space is bright and the architecture is beautiful. It's really nice to see that there are places like this that highlight the world of vinyl as well as a work of art in a museum.

Amoeba Hollywood is a classic in Los Angeles. I try to go there as soon as possible when I have time when I'm there. I 'm not an expert in the field either but I've never seen any other place with such a concentration of artists/albums of all kinds available. I have the impression that you can always find what you want in this record store, or almost.

Snow: At Oye Records you can find tons of local stuff from Berlin-based producers and record labels. While you're digging, they always play dope music. There are two Oye record stores in Berlin. My favorite is the small one in KreuzKolln as we say it here (between Kreuzberg and Neukolln area).

Sound Metaphors is for the party crew, there's a lot of weird disco and obscure rarities from Africa, Asia, etc.

Hard Wax is the home of techno music in Berlin. [German record producer/engineer] Moritz von Oswald started the record store. What's interesting is that it's full of dub and reggae records from the '90s. It's a very small shop with endless discoveries.

Kenny Burrell The Tender Gender vinyl | Photo: Darius

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For at least one of your favorite shops, share a recent record or two (or three or four…) you bought there and what you love about the record/artist. 

Darius: I have to mention Arthur Verocai's self-titled album (1972) because it's one that I listened to over and over on Spotify and I absolutely needed the vinyl. Luckily, I stumbled upon it completely by chance at Amoeba. For me, it's a must listen bossa nova/funk/Latin jazz album.

Kenny Burrell's The Tender Gender (1966) is a nugget I found in a garage sale in a small village in Charente-Maritime, France. I didn't know the artist until I bought it and the seller explained to me that this guitarist was one of the leading guitarists in jazz/blues.

I am gradually trying to expand my collection of Marvin Gaye vinyl. He inspires me in so many ways, and his story has touched me a lot. I also stumbled upon his [soundtrack] album Trouble Man (1972) by chance and took it without hesitation. There are a lot of his titles that I love and will never get tired of, like "Please Stay (Once You Go Away)," "Distant Love," "Just To Keep You Satisfied," "I'd Give My Life For You" and others.

Snow: I found a gem from Austrian musician Giuseppe Leonardi at Oye Records. His Mente Mente EP (2020) is Balearic vibe—tropical, chilled ambient music.

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What's a record you have your eyes on picking up and why?

Darius: Charlie Rouse's Yeah! (1961). This is jazz the way I love it, this album is a pure delight, I have no words to describe it. It's my last nugget. I feel like I'm there [when I listen to it], the quality of the recording is incredible. You can feel every instrument, the breath of Rouse's saxophone playing, the harmonies on the piano that puts us on a cloud, and the round and all-encompassing double bass that warms the heart.

This album really transcends me every time I listen to it. [The vinyl is] quite rare, I dream to have it in my collection and listen to it in an optimal way. I especially love the track "When Sunny Gets Blue."

Snow: Allysha Joy's Light it Again EP, being released on First World Records in November. She is an amazing artist from Melbourne. 

When crate-digging, how do you pick out records?

Darius: I still have a lot to discover, so there is a first big phase where I make a selection only related to the cover, for sure. Sometimes I come across artists/labels I know and add them to the pile. For me, that's what the record store is all about, it's the opportunity to try out records that fall into my hands that I'll never have the chance to find by chance on the internet.

Wayne Snow: Sometimes it's just a feeling, or simply based on a recommendation. Generally, when you are in a great shop you just have to listen to the music blasting around you.

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Rotimi On Performing At ESSENCE Fest, Growing Up African-American & More

Rotimi

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Rotimi On Performing At ESSENCE Fest, Growing Up African-American & More

The Nigerian-American singer and actor sat down with the Recording Academy to talk about what inspired his latest album, 'Walk With Me'

GRAMMYs/Jul 8, 2019 - 10:04 pm

In 2015, Rotimi stepped into the New Orleans Superdome for the first time to experience the magic of ESSENCE Fest. Four years later, in 2019, the "Love Riddim" singer returned to the celebration as a performer, something he said was spoken into existence.

"Last year me and my manager had a conversation and I said, 'Listen, I'm going to be on the [ESSENCE] mainstage this year. 365 days later, we did it," Rotimi told the Recording Academy at the 25th annual ESSENCE Fest.

Rotimi, also an actor on Starz' "Power," has evolved since his last album, 2017's Jeep Music, Vol.1. The singer said he really hit home with its follow-up, the recently released Walk With Me, a project he worked hard for, putting in hours in the studio after filming on set.

"Walk With Me is the first time I actually felt like I was giving myself as an artist, and personally I feel like with everything else I have going on I wanted to show people that this is really what I do," he said. "I wanted people to understand who Rotimi is, who Rotimi was before, who I want to be and just understand my growth and the journey and my passion for what I do."

Part of why the album felt like such a representation of him is because it embodies beats of his African roots, something he said was very present growing up Nigerian-American. 

"I grew up with a lot of Fela Kuti and I grew up with Bob Marley," he said of his musical roots. "But I also grew up with Carl Thomas and Genuine and Usher, so there was a genuine mixture of who I am and what I've grown up to listen to. The actual Walk With Me project was a mixture of influences of Akon and Craig David."

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Find Out Who's Nominated For Best Rap Album | 2020 GRAMMY Awards

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Find Out Who's Nominated For Best Rap Album | 2020 GRAMMY Awards

Dreamville, Meek Mill, 21 Savage, Tyler, The Creator, and YBN Cordae all earn nominations in the category

GRAMMYs/Nov 20, 2019 - 06:28 pm

The 2020 GRAMMYs are just around the corner, and now the nominations are in for the coveted honor of Best Rap Album. While we'll have to wait until the 62nd GRAMMY Awards air on CBS on Jan. 26 to find out who will win, let's take a look at which albums have been nominated for Best Rap Album.

Revenge of the Dreamers III – Dreamville                                                                        

 
This star-studded compilation album from 11-time GRAMMY nominee J. Cole and his Dreamville Records imprint features appearances from some of the leading and fastest-rising artists in hip-hop today, including label artists EARTHGANG, J.I.D, and Ari Lennox, plus rappers T.I, DaBaby, and Young Nudy, among many others. Recorded in Atlanta across a 10-day recording session, Revenge of the Dreamers III is an ambitious project that saw more than 300 artists and producers contribute to the album, resulting in 142 recorded tracks. Of those recordings, 18 songs made the final album, which ultimately featured contributions from 34 artists and 27 producers.

Dreamers III, the third installment in the label’s Revenge of the Dreamers compilation series, debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart and achieved gold status this past July. In addition to a Best Rap Album nod, Dreamers III is also nominated for Best Rap Performance next year for album track “Down Bad,” featuring J.I.D, Bas, J. Cole, EARTHGANG, and Young Nudy.

Championships – Meek Mill

In many ways, Championships represents a literal and metaphorical homecoming for Meek Mill. Released in November 2018, Championships is the Philadelphia rapper’s first artist album following a two-year prison sentence he served after violating his parole in 2017. Championships, naturally, sees Meek tackling social justice issues stemming from his prison experience, including criminal justice reform. The album debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, his second chart-topper following 2015’s Dreams Worth More Than Money, and reached platinum status in June 2019. Meek Mill's 2020 Best Rap Album nod marks his first-ever GRAMMY nomination.

i am > i was – 21 Savage

Breakout rapper and four-time GRAMMY nominee 21 Savage dropped i am > i was, his second solo artist album, at the end of 2018. The guest-heavy album, which features contributions from Post Malone, Childish Gambino, J. Cole, and many others, has since charted around the world, topped the Billboard 200 – a first for the artist – in the beginning of 2019, and achieved gold status in the U.S. As well, nine songs out of the album’s 15 original tracks landed on the Hot 100 chart, including multi-platinum lead single “A Lot,” which is also nominated for Best Rap Song next year. 21 Savage’s 2020 Best Rap Album nomination, which follows Record of the Year and Best Rap/Sung Performance nods for his 2017 Post Malone collaboration, "Rockstar,” marks his first solo recognition in the top rap category.

IGOR – Tyler, The Creator

The eccentric Tyler, The Creator kicked off a massive 2019 with his mid-year album, IGOR. Released this past May, IGOR, Tyler’s fifth solo artist album, is his most commercially successful project to date. The album debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, marking his first time topping the coveted chart, while its lead single, "Earfquake,” peaked at No. 13, his highest entry on the Hot 100. Produced in full by Tyler and featuring guest spots from fellow rap and R&B stars Kanye West, Lil Uzi Vert, Solange, and Playboi Carti, among many others, IGOR follows the rapper’s 2017 album, Flower Boy, which received the Best Rap Album nod that same year.

The Lost Boy – YBN Cordae

Emerging rapper YBN Cordae, a member of the breakout YBN rap collective, released his debut album, The Lost Boy, to widespread critical acclaim this past July. The 15-track release is stacked with major collaborations with hip-hop heavyweights, including Anderson .Paak, Pusha T, Meek Mill, and others, plus production work from J. Cole and vocals from Quincy Jones. After peaking at No. 13 on the Billboard 200, The Lost Boy now notches two 2020 GRAMMY nominations: Best Rap Album and Best Rap Song for album track “Bad Idea,” featuring Chance the Rapper.

Brittany Howard, Brandi Carlile, Leon Bridges, 2 Chainz & More Join Small Business Live Benefit Livestream

Brittany Howard

Photo: C Brandon/Redferns/Getty Images

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Brittany Howard, Brandi Carlile, Leon Bridges, 2 Chainz & More Join Small Business Live Benefit Livestream

Proceeds from the event will be go toward loans to small businesses founded by people of color, with additional support to women-owned and immigrant-owned businesses, via Accion Opportunity Fund

GRAMMYs/Jun 16, 2020 - 04:13 am

This Saturday, June 20, artists including Brittany Howard, Brandi Carlile, Leon Bridges, 2 Chainz and more will come together for Small Business Live, a livestream fundraiser event for small businesses facing challenges from the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Proceeds from the livestream will go to Accion Opportunity Fund to support small businesses founded by people of color, with additional support to women-owned and immigrant-owned businesses.

“Entrepreneurs of color are denied credit more often and charged higher rates for money they borrow to fund their businesses. We need to accelerate support to underserved businesses in order to reach our full potential,” Accion Opportunity Fund CEO Luz Urrutia said. “We have to decide what we want our Main Streets to look like when this is over, and we must act decisively to keep small businesses alive and ready to rebuild. This is a fun way to do something really important. Everyone’s support will make a huge difference to small business owners, their families and employees who have been devastated by this pandemic, the recession, and centuries of racism, xenophobia and oppression.”

Tune in for Small Business Live Saturday, June 20 from 4:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. EDT on smallbiz.live. The site also provides a full schedule of programs and links to watch the livestream on all major digital platforms. To learn more about Accion Opportunity Fund, visit the organization's website.

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DJ Khaled, Nipsey Hussle And John Legend Win Best Rap/Sung Performance For "Higher" | 2020 GRAMMYs

DJ Khaled, Samantha Smith and John Legend

Photo: Kevin Winter/Getty Images

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DJ Khaled, Nipsey Hussle And John Legend Win Best Rap/Sung Performance For "Higher" | 2020 GRAMMYs

DJ Khaled, Nipsey Hussle and John Legend take home Best Rap/Sung Performance at the 62nd GRAMMY Awards

GRAMMYs/Jan 27, 2020 - 09:05 am

DJ Khaled, featuring Nipsey Hussle and John Legend, has won Best Rap/Sung Performance for "Higher" at the 62nd GRAMMY Awards. The single was featured on DJ Khaled's 2019 album Father of Asahd and featured Hussle's vocals and Legend on the piano. DJ Khaled predicted the track would win a GRAMMY.

"I even told him, 'We're going to win a GRAMMY.' Because that's how I feel about my album," DJ Khaled told Billboard. "I really feel like not only is this my biggest, this is very special."

After the release of the song and music video -- which was filmed before Hussle's death in March -- DJ Khaled announced all proceeds from "Higher" will go to Hussle's children.

DJ Khaled and co. beat out fellow category nominees Lil Baby & Gunna ("Drip Too Hard"), Lil Nas X ("Panini"), Mustard featuring Roddy Ricch ("Ballin") and Young Thug featuring J. Cole & Travis Scott ("The London"). Hussle earned a second posthumous award at the 62nd GRAMMYs for Best Rap Performance for "Racks In The Middle." 

Along with Legend and DJ Khaled, Meek Mill, Kirk Franklin, Roddy Ricch and YG paid tribute to Hussle during the telecast, which concluded with "Higher."

Check out the complete 62nd GRAMMY Awards nominees and winners list here.