Photo: Courtesy of artist
Record Store Recs: Salt Cathedral Talk Favorite Brooklyn Indie Shops & How To Support Artists Of Color
"One of the most useful resources to support Black artists directly is Bandcamp," the Colombian electropop duo shared
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.
Finding inspiration from tropical, danceable rhythms of their native Colombia, Bogotá-born, Brooklyn-based electropop duo Salt Cathedral create breezy, joyful music that's impossible to not dance to.
The band, consisting of Juliana Ronderos and Nicolas Losada, first met in the U.S. while attending Berklee College of Music. They first released music as Salt Cathedral in 2013 and were signed to the legendary electronic label Ultra Music in 2018. Their name is a nod to their shared hometown, inspired by the Catedral de Sal in Zipaquirá, an underground church built 200 meters underground in a former salt mine in the small town outside of Colombia's capital.
Preceded by three self-released EPs, their sunny debut album, CARISMA, featuring Ronderos' angelic vocals in both English and Spanish, dropped this May on Ultra Records. Originally slated to play SXSW and other major festivals and shows this year, and without these spaces to share and evolve their new music live, they decided to reimagine the tracks, with the help of some virtual collaborators, on the forthcoming CARISMA remix album. Their latest release, "CAVIAR isolation mix," offers a fun taste of the project.
For the latest edition of Record Store Recs, we caught up with the pair to get the scoop on their favorite record stores in New York and some of the gems they've found there. They also share useful tips on how to better support artists and business owners of color.
Please pick three to five record stores you love. (The links below have online shopping options.)
The Mixtape Shop in Brooklyn, N.Y.
Human Head Records in Brooklyn, N.Y.
Face Records in Brooklyn, N.Y.
What do you love about these shops? What kind of goodies have you've found there?
Most of our favorite record shops are around where we live (in New York). The first one is The Mixtape Shop. It's in Bed-Stuy and you can find eclectic and new records of every style of music. The place is amazing and it's one of the prettiest record shops we've ever encountered. The curation is very selective, so when you pick a record there, it's because the owners believe in it. We love their Brazilian and African selection.
Our second favorite record shop is Human Head Records. Overall, it's a great place to find good records but, what's remarkable about them is their Latin section. It's pretty big and you can find records from Fania or Discos Fuentes to a really obscure Cuban santero record. In my experience, I don't very often see record shops with a big Latin section so, for a fan of that kind of music it's great.
Our final recommendation is Face Records. It's a record shop located in Williamsburg and it has a big selection of Japanese music. If you want to go further with and beyond [Haruomi] Hosono, [Ryuichi] Sakamoto or Yellow Magic Orchestra, this is place to go deep into Japanese music.
Sun Ra vinyl | Photo: Salt Cathedral
For at least one of your favorite shops, share a recent record or two you bought there and what you love about the record/artist.
I got Sun Ra's Astro Black (1973) and Mariah's Utakata No Hibi (1983) from The Mixtape Shop. Those two records opened my mind about the possibilities and perspectives of music. With those two records, I realized that you can challenge people's views with music. That's pretty powerful.
What's an upcoming/recent release you have your eyes on picking up and why?
Nothing particularly, but we always check what [London's] Soundway Records is releasing. They have been very instructive to us and we pretty much love everything they had released.
A growing vinyl collection | Photo: Salt Cathedral
How would you describe your record collection in a few words? When did you first start collecting?
I started collecting just a year ago. I wasn't into collecting at all [before]. I love music and I realized that collecting is one of the many ways to discover new music, from the past or present. I would describe my collection as eclectic; all over the place and driven by curiosity.
What was the first CD and vinyl you remember buying?
What can music fans do to better support artists and business owners of color?
One of the most useful resources to support Black artists directly is Bandcamp. There is an incredible site called blackbandcamp.info offering a crowdsourced list of Black artists on the platform, which music fans can search by genre and location. The beauty of Bandcamp really helps you find and buy directly from these artists, making sure that you're not supporting a big corporation or label but the actual musicians.
This article from Brooklyn Vegan is a great resource to find Black-owned record stores—it doesn't just list the record stores but speaks about their story. And the best way to support Black business owners is to research what is local to you, to your city or your neighborhood. We live in Bedford-Stuyvesant in Brooklyn, for example, and Black-owned restaurants and stores have signs that say so. Pay attention, and make sure that when you have the option, you choose to support a Black-owned business. The times are changing and the Black community needs all our support. Look to support local because small, family-owned and independent businesses need it the most.
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'
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."
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
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
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.
Photo: C Brandon/Redferns/Getty Images
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
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.
DJ Khaled, Samantha Smith and John Legend
Photo: Kevin Winter/Getty Images
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
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.