Harlem, New York, May 14 2021, Buddhabug Records & Studio. Luqman Brown released the Sacred Places L.P., Available on vinyl from Buddhabug and digitally from Apple Music and Spotify. Links are at the end of my rant.
The rant: this is a seriously good album. All the more impressive when we know the road Luqman Brown went down to record this. He intended to release this album in 2017, but he suffered a stroke and relearned walking and talking. I’m not sure if he had to learn to chew gum at the same time. 🙂 As if that isn’t enough, he had heart surgery in 2019.
“Being able to properly put this record out into the world means that I didn’t give up in the face of death. This album was supposed to be released in 2017, but I had a stroke as a result of severe complications with my heart. In 2019, I underwent heart surgery to place an LVAD in my heart to keep it pumping. The result of these health complications left me weak and without the breath to perform,” says Luqman Brown.
“At the time, I thought that myself and this album would never make it out into the world—as proud as I am of it. Nevertheless, I slowly came back, and now the world will get to hear what it’s like living in NYC every day—hard times, staying alive, and taking the time to have a good brunch along the way.”
That is impressive intestinal fortitude. Many would have quit in the face of all that Luqman Brown went through, but to his credit, he didn’t.
The result is an excellent album that defies being put into a genre box. We are treated to some dubstep, some rap, some R&B, some reggae and some straight-up rock and roll on Sacred Places.
After numerous listens, I am still finding little nuggets here and there on each of the 11 tracks. I am going to keep listening because this is a powerful listening experience. I have put Sacred Places on as background while I worked, and I have listened to it intentionally. Both work just fine.
This LP also features Ronny Drayton, Corey Glover, Marc Cary, Roy Radics and Micah Gaugh. They did an admirable job.
Performed by Dope Sagittarius
Written by Luqman Brown and Brian Gosher
Produced by Brian Gosher
Recorded in Harlem, New York and North Brunswick, New Jersey, except ‘LaRonda’
Mixing and Mastering by Brian Gosher.
The record also has social commentary that is relevant to current news stories. Darn, I am listening to the album again as I write this, and the bass sax on the song Hate Us just slapped me in the face to get my attention. Some excellent jazz tucked in here and there. Now I am rocking along with Quitting Time and can’t stop head bobbing along to the groove.
This would make a great listen on a slab of vinyl and the big speakers (Image’) in the music room. It also made an impressive listen on Apple Music and my computer speakers, Bose. And if that isn’t enough, I also enjoyed it on my House of Marley earbuds. This is a win, win, win record and well worth you taking the time to listen to it more than once.
‘Black Empress’ https://youtu.be/7kebfP5yi80
Bandcamp (single) https://dopesagittarius.bandcamp.com/track/black-empress-3
‘Define Love’ https://youtu.be/9St-uddBmT8
Bandcamp (single) https://dopesagittarius.bandcamp.com/track/define-love-2
Vinyl pre-order https://www.buddhabugrecords.com/shop/p/beni-shoga-y62bf-sgpj6
Bandcamp (album) https://dopesagittarius.bandcamp.com/album/sacred-places
Bonus time if you have read this far! The record also comes with a copy of the comic book ‘Dope Sagittarius In the Bumbaclout Strain,’ which was written by Luqman Brown with artwork by Tim Smith III.
Double bonus. The band also present the video for ‘Black Empress’ featuring violinist Mazz Swift (Whitney Houston, Valerie June) and Paris-based hip-hop legend/wordsmith/rap pioneer Mike Ladd (“king of the hip-hop concept” – The Guardian). This rocking hip-hop electro soundclash is a song for this Black Lives Matter age. Directed by Morgan Freeman with support from cinematographer Andrew Coury, this video was produced by Carlyle Smith with Executive Producers Luqman Brown and LaRonda Davis. Filmed at YouTube Studios New York City, it stars Angelana Jones and Anthony Bowman, along with M.C. Whistler on Vox/ Guitar, Ernest G. D’Amaso on Bass, Entrified Mcloud on Keys and Ramsey Jones on Drums. I wouldn’t be surprised if these players appeared on the album. Either way, they are great musicians.