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  • Writer's pictureAmi Row

5 Songs I Love w/ David Shabani

Following the release of his suave new single 'Spirits', we caught up with boundary breaking artist David Shabani to find out more about the music he loves and why. Check out his hand-picked selection below as well as the stream to David Shabani's latest release!

1. Michael Jackson - 'Human Nature'

This song, to me, has always been a terrific example of the perfect song. The progression of the instrumentation really makes you feel like it’s taking you for a ride. The break downs, bridges, and solos, keep the sound moving as if the notes are telling a story. And of course, Michael Jackson’s vocal performance is impeccable. But also, personally, I have a very nostalgic connection to this song. When I was a child, the only music my mother played that wasn’t Congolese gospel music, was Michael Jackson. This song will always take me back to a more simple time.

2. Kid Cudi - 'My World'

Kid Cudi’s debut album, “Man on the Moon,” is already one of my all-time favorite albums. It’s also one of the most influential albums to my sound today. But the sonics is not what drew me to this song, the lyrics are really what spoke to me. It’s telling a story about how at this particular moment he might not be satisfied with life, but he is certain that he is on a path that will bring him that satisfaction he seeks. When the lyrics express “Had mad jobs, and I lost them,” “Think about my bosses, yeah I hated all of them,” “I was late, damn near everyday,” “Studio every night, had be hustlin to most of them.” I’ve never experienced a song that described my own personal life more perfectly. I used to blast this song with the sunroof open, driving all across Dallas, balancing 80 hour work weeks, with school and studio time. All for a purpose.

3. JAY-Z - 'I Know'

This song is one of the best examples of personification in music. American Gangster, the album, is essentially about Jay-Z bringing imagery to coming up in the 1980’s crack epidemic from the perspective of a drug dealer. A young man pushed into the game because he was out of options. However, this song in particular is refreshing because it touches on this subject by artistically displaying the relationship of the drug itself and the drug user. In this song, Hov is rapping from the perspective of the drug, speaking to the addict, as if it were a twisted love story. Genius writing paired with formidable production by The Neptunes.

4. Outkast - 'Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik'

This is one of the smoothest samples I’ve ever heard. I could listen to this instrumental on a loop. But Andre and Big Boi’s flows on this song are very nostalgic to me. When I moved from Montreal to Dallas, Outkast was my first introduction to Southern hip-hop music. Up until then, all I listened to was New York/East-Coast hip hop. Every time I hear those horns and Big Boi’s intro into the first verse, I remember my first time crossing the US border and heading down to the Deep South.

5. Franco / Le TP OK Jazz - 'Mario'

As a Congolese man, this song brings me pride. In the 1970’s, Congo was the giant in the African music industry. This is the music all my uncles listened to. Living in Montreal as a kid, and visiting Brussels and Paris, this song reminds me of the neighborhoods my family lived in. In which Congolese people would takeover an entire section of the city. Almost as if we never left Kinshasa. This is the music you would hear in the apartments, with the windows wide open, across all the buildings. These melodies are the melodies that taught me how to write with emotion. Means even more to me, because they are sang in the language I was raised in, Lingala.

Listen to 'Spirits' below:



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