ListN Up: Erika Dohi (April 6, 2023)

ListN Up is a series of artist-curated playlists that offer an intimate sonic portrait of contemporary artists by showcasing the diverse and stylistically varied music that influences their creative practice. 

Described as “virtuosic” (New York Times) and a “barrier-defying artist” (Mixmag), pianist Erika Dohi is a multi-faceted artist with an eclectic musical background. From highly-polished traditional classical to bold improvisation, she is a dynamic performer whose timeless style and unidiomatic technique sets her apart in contemporary NYC avant-garde circles. I, Castorpollux, Dohi’s debut album under the label 37d03d, received “The Best Ambient Albums” (Bandcamp), and was featured on the New York Times‘ Playlist and WNYC’s New Sounds/Soundcheck.

Hi, I’m Erika Dohi, a pianist and composer based in Harlem, New York City. I made a playlist called ‘Flipped,’ which consists of my favorite artists, mostly from 90s-to-early-2000s hip-hop and R&B songs that sample records from the 70s. I put together these songs because they coincide with my fascination with sample culture in hip hop, and then I discovered that a lot of the tracks that resonate with me actually feature a lot of material from 70s music. This playlist has the hip hop tracks along with the original source materials. Hope you enjoy!

“Let’s Ride” by Q-Tip

Producer J. Dilla worked with Q-Tip to make this track. Sampled from Coltrane’s classic “Giant Steps,” recorded by virtuoso guitarist Joe Pass, and drum beat from “Humpty Dump Pt. 1,” from the 70s funk group The Vibrettes. Also, the track features snippets of recordings from Lee Austin’s “Screwdriver,” and The Mohawks’ “The Champ,” showing Dilla’s micro-chop sampling technique.

“Giant Steps” by Joe Pass

From guitarist Joe Pass’ 1976 record Virtuoso No.2.

“Humpty Dump Pt.1” by The Vibrettes

From New Orleans (or LA — not much info out there about them) funk group The Vibrettes’ vinyl in 1973, released by Lujon Records.

“She Needs Me” by Kendrick Lamar/ Dom Kennedy, Murs

Produced by Sounwave, Kendrick Lamar’s track “She Needs Me” then actually sampled the above “Let’s Ride.”

“Didn’t Cha Know” by Erykah Badu

One of my favorite tracks from Erykah Badu’s album Mama’s Gun. I had listened to this so many times and I didn’t know until recently that it was using a sample from the 70s East-coast group Tarika Blue’s “Dreamflower.” The interesting story is that Badu was working with producer J Dilla in Detroit, and Erykah randomly picked this record by Tarika Blue. So Dilla made this track impromptu, which is so impressive.

“Dreamflower” by Tarika Blue

Led by New York session player Phil Clendeninn, Tarika Blue was a lyrical, highly melodic fusion/jazz-funk group from the 70s.

“Got ‘Til It’s Gone” by Janet Jackson, Q tip, and Joni Mitchell

This track, from Janet Jackson’s album The Velve Rope, was also produced by J Dilla, although Dilla wasn’t properly credited until later. Dilla took samples from Joni Mitchell’s “Big Yellow Taxi.”

“Big Yellow Taxi” by Joni Mitchell

Joni Mitchell’s song “Big Yellow Taxi,” from the album Ladies of the Canyon, was released in 1970 by Reprise Records. Mitchell wrote about “DDTs” in her lyrics, in protest of the use of chemicals/pesticides in industrial farming.


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