Definitive Records asks interesting Vancouverites to scour their sonic-led memories to pull out the three albums anchoring their musical tastes.
Today we hear from Devon Towler, Bar Manager at the Magnet and self-described all-around ‘local beverage slinger’, who sifted through his mental music library to select the three albums that have him nodding along while also doing some serious self-reflecting…
NxWorries | Yes Lawd!
I feel lucky that my older brother had good taste in music growing up, it definitely helped shape my taste in music today: A Tribe Called Quest, De La Soul, Wu-Tang, etc, etc. This album is everything from that golden era of Hip Hop fused with contemporary R&B. Knxwledge’s soul and jazz sample chops are everything J Dilla and Madlib, while Anderson .Paak doing his modern-day crooner impression covering his usual topics (women, money, and his cutlass) make for an album I can’t seem to get sick of. This album doesn’t have any “bangers”… it’s not like that. It is: sexy harmonizing vocals, very simple but well-executed soul samples, and layered with a drumbeat that’s just barely enough on time to keep you nodding.
Jay-Z | 4:44
I would never have imagined that I would ever add a Jay-Z record to my top albums list, but recently a friend of mine asked me what my favourite album of all time was and I just blurted out 4:44 without thinking about it. I was never really a fan of J or the bling era of rap music for that matter but this is clearly a much more mature and intimate side of Sean Carter. Solely produced by No I.D, a Chicago native who helped pioneer hip hop in the early 90’s and is also known for mentoring Kanye West. The beats are all very stripped down, minimal and rough around the edges – in the best way possible, that is. Again, no bangers on this album, no club hits, they aren’t trying to keep up with contemporary rap music (Migos, Future, Drake). No I.D’s beat making for this project is so simple but so well put together and Jay-Z’s lyrical ability matches perfectly in my opinion. I love this project because it’s a completely different side of Jay-Z that we’ve never seen before. Rapping about such topics like his mom hiding her sexual identity his whole life, his marriage issues and cheating on Beyonce, his daughter Blue, and how record labels take advantage of artists like Prince and Lauren Hill. He also tries to give guidance to the younger generation of rap with money investment advice. I really love listening to this album. It’s defiantly not for the average rap fan, and even if you’re really into J you might be disappointed. This album is for Jay-Z fans that are interested in a more intimate and personal side of Sean Carter, the icon, the business mogul, the husband, and the father. My selfish side wants the duo to put out another project together but sometimes albums/art are about a time and place and can never be recreated. Put this album on, listen to lyrics, pay attention to the beats – you’ll thank me later.
Frank Ocean | Blonde
What kind of Millennial would I be if I didn’t include this album? I often refer to this album and Frank as the most important artist of this generation. If you’ve ever been in love or had a broken heart I’m sure you’ve found your way to this album one way or another. This album has personally helped me get through some hard times in my life and it always has a lot of memories attached to it. Frank Ocean seems to have a certain effect on me, you can find yourself having what can seemingly be a normal fine day and then you put Blonde on and all of a sudden you’re wound up completely in your own feelings thinking the most irrational things. This album will take you on an emotional rollercoaster, from questioning your sexuality to wanting to send your ex a “Hey, thinking of you” text. This album feels like you’re reading the diary from someone that you don’t know but have a personal infatuation with. I think that we will look back at this album 10-20 years from now and realize how lucky we were to have shared the same time of life with such an important artist like Frank.