WHAT IS 1399?
Put simply, 1399 is my address but it means so much more. That house belongs to my grandparents and it has served as the central hub of my family. My granny has an open-door policy for family. Relatives visiting from the Caribbean, people waiting on visas or friends who were down on their luck could always ring her doorbell and get a hot meal. I know most Caribbean immigrants can relate to this concept of putting down roots and bringing your family with you from the islands. I wouldn’t be here without 1399.
WHAT DOES THE AIR FORCE ONE MEAN TO YOU?
CLASSIC! There is just something about a fresh pair of uptowns. My dad use to buy me white air force ones every summer. Shout out to Murray’s Corner on Nostrand Avenue. They use to sell the GS Air force ones 2 for $100 if you bought a men’s pair at full price!
These are the “West Indies” Air Forces from 2002. I remember seeing these as a kid and thinking “Wow, Nike made us a shoe!” The insole is lined with the names of many Caribbean Islands. I love small details like that.
TELL US MORE ABOUT THE WEST INDIAN DAY PARADE. WHAT MEAKES IT SO SPECIAL?
Being from Crown Heights, Brooklyn, I was surrounded by Caribbean culture. Most of my friends are from islands as well. Labor Day weekend is something that I would look forward to all summer. The culmination of music, food, art is magical. It was a way to end summer with a bang because we all had to go back to school the next day.
WHEN CREATING THE PLAYLIST FOR ATMOS, WHAT WENT INTO YOU THOUGHT PROCESS?
Eastern Parkway is the road that the parade proceeds down. Due to the pandemic, the parade has been cancelled two years in a row. The festivities typically last all week. There are parties, performances, “kiddies carnival”, live instrument competitions and finally the main parade. This playlist is long by design so that it can serve as background music for the listener.
WHAT ARE SOME OF YOU FAVORITE SONGS ON THE PLAYLIST?
- Footsteps - Xtatik, Machel & Wayne Rodriguez: I remember being a kid and this song hit carnival hard. My aunt use to play this song on repeat.
- Zouk La Sé Sel Médikaman Nou Ni - Kassav: You cannot celebrate the Caribbean without acknowledging Haiti. Big up all my Zoes!
- Holding on - Turner: I was in Trinidad celebrating my birthday when this song dropped. This and the Hello by Kes were playing everywhere nonstop.
WHAT DO YOU HAVE COMING NEXT?
I’m dropping some prints of my original artwork on Labor Day. I want to be able to bring a piece of my Caribbean culture into the homes of others. The piece is titled “Facsimile of Currency = $27.39 - Subject to Exchange Rates”. It tackles a deeper social and economic concept that the Caribbean Islands were once territories of European countries. The image will also be available as an NFT!
Click here to check out the playlist that Mel curated. Make sure to follow us on Spotify at atmos USA to stay updated with our playlist and newest sounds.