Record & Tape Exchange is a recurring series where some of our favourite artists walk us through their personal music libraries to share the songs that have soundtracked their lives. 

It’s hardly a stretch to say that Atlanta Hood Historian is one of the best cultural archives on the internet. The “Atlanta History Page 4 the People,” operated by a native Atlantan who goes by Kodakk, posts rare photos and footage and starts conversations both nostalgic and contemporary: Think daily history lessons on subjects like the origin of the “Whoop Rico” dance, a guide to Gucci's jewelry collection, or community polls on Atlanta slang. “You know how the game goes, media goes, all this shit, it’s all clout and all this stuff,” Kodakk, who believes there’s a glaring gap in how music media covers his city, tells me over the phone. Atlanta is very multi-faceted, and it’s important to me to not only celebrate our history but to also get people out of their bubble and put them on to new artists that are actually really working out here.” 

In addition to running the Hood Historian account, which has amassed over 20K followers on both Twitter and Instagram, Kodakk is building up Altlanta, which focuses on underground local talent (“I'm all about putting a spotlight on people who I feel like really deserve this shit.”) He’s also one of the minds behind Spotify’s “Skate Daze” documentary, and has a plethora of other projects down the pipeline. Below, Kodakk shares what could be summed up as nine selections essential to Atlanta, the number one exporter of contemporary rap music.

What song reminds you the most of your childhood?
I would say “Do it,” by BHI, which is the Poole Palace song. The reason why I chose that is because it's a very high tempo song. It's basically telling you to “Do it,” and it’s kind of like an affirmation chant in my head. It kind of goes into the whole thing of just saying, “In this life you just got to do it.” You live free, you do what you want to do. You know what I mean? Have fun while you're doing it. It's just one of those type of feelings. And anytime I hear a song, it always kind of brings me back to the club days when I was a teenager, and just people just having fun. Being on the dance floor, having fun, and that's really my childhood. I probably spent more time in the club, as a kid, than as an adult. That probably was the song that made me glow up. I probably don't dance as much as I used to. But if I hear that song, even if I hear it right now, I'm definitely going to start dancing. And, it’s the official Poole Palace song. The Poole Palace and the Bubble Gum … they damn near the... I don't want to say they're the same dance, but, same type of tempo, made by the same producer, got the same type of feeling to it.

What was the first physical record you remember buying?
It was Ludacris, Word of Mouf—that was the first physical CD that I personally bought with my own money. I mean, as far as my mom, we played a lot of music in our house. You know what I mean? Especially on Saturday mornings, because that's really more so, you wake you up and do chores, type of feeling. But as far as when I personally went out, Ludacris was... I mean, he was huge at the time, and we would watch him basically transform from being a DJ Chris Lova Lova on the radio, to him being an actual artist. Word of Mouf also had a cool cover. At the time, I had a lot of hair, so the whole big ’fro look, and the whole nine, it kind of resonated with me. Kind of like looking in the mirror, type thing. Not only did I like his music, but I liked his image and the cover. And I felt like it played a big role of why I actually went out and bought it, actually. That played a big role in that.

What song reminds you the most of home?
I would say Kilo Ali, “Baby, Baby,” will remind me the most of home, because it kind of reminds me of when I be at the family barbecue, or I'm around real... wholesome people. You know what I mean? I can't really think of a better song that is usually being played in the background. Or letting me know that if it's being played, and it's like a sunny day, if people are barbecuing the whole night, it's the perfect feel-good song.

 


What song reminds you of traveling to a specific place? 

“56 Nights” by Future, in general. The reason why I picked that is because it has this feel. Future’s “56 Nights" has this feel, like you're getting on a plane, you're kind of hazy. You know you're traveling, and you're kind of used to traveling. And I know when I'm personally traveling, sometimes, I be afraid to get on the plane, so I may do a xanax and sleep the whole time. So, I just know that “56 Nights,” that's the first thing that kind of rings in my mind. Or when I'm playing, I'm probably playing that whole Future tape. I like to hear “56 Nights.” It made me feel like I'm going farther than where I'm actually going. It make me feel like I'm going overseas.


What is the song that you wish you had written?

DG Yola, “Ain't Gon Let Up.” Definitely. A hundred and ten percent. Because that song, particularly—free him, because he went to jail—is such an inspirational song. If he would've followed the lyrics to his own song, he wouldn't even be in the situation he's in right now. That's how good that song is. That song reminds me of when you're speaking to people... It's like when bad people give good advice. You probably going to get your best advice from somebody who don't even take his own advice. That's how I see it. If you break it down, just lyric by lyric, I think that it is truly inspirational. Anybody who follows that song would actually live a pretty much drama-free life, and get what they deserve.

What is the best song to play at a house party? 

I would say, D4L “Laffy Taffy.” That's like one of those songs that gets people to be like, "All right, y'all, time to dance." It's one of those songs to make you act a fool. It's never supposed to be taken seriously. If a DJ just played a bunch of fighting songs, or whatever, then they throw on “Laffy Taffy,” everybody would just forget about the fight. Everybody forgets about all their troubles for a few minutes with that song. They forget everything. They forget they had bills. They forget the car, the car that they got parked outside that probably got a boot on it. That's what “Laffy Taffy" is gonna do for you.

What song would you like played at your funeral?

“Vica Versa” by Pastor Troy. Play that at my funeral. It's all dark. You don't know to be sad, or whatever, but I feel like it set the tone. It's one of those situations where people pass, people are moreso sad. But I would want to flip things: “Vica Versa” was pretty much saying, “If it's a sad situation, you can make it into a happy situation.” You know what I mean?  I look at it like Robin Williams. But I would have never thought in a million years, Robin Williams would take his life because he was such a happy person. From the outside, looking in. But the “Vica Versa” thing, what's happening to him, sometimes the people who seem to be the happiest really be the saddest. Most people who are sad.. when they die finally, that may be their happiest moment. I think that'd be a good sign to kind of explain my life, because I'm kind of like that.


Describe one of your favorite songs without actually naming it or the artist who made it.

So I'm super flashy. I have Polo on, from top to bottom. And it's a perfect Atlanta night, right? Perfect Atlanta night. All the clubs are open, and not only do I have a club move, but I have an after the club move. And I have the strip club move. And when people ask me where the move is at, I’m going to respond, "If they're in Atlanta, this is where we're at." Anytime I hear that song, and I'm in the city, it just makes things feel that much better. I don't know. It gives it a 500% feel power bonus.

You're abducted by aliens and when you wake up on the spaceship, they pass you the aux. What is the song that you're playing to convince them not to destroy Earth?

I know this is random, but I would play Young Thug and Trouble’s “Thief in the Night.” Okay? I know there's going to be left field for a lot of people, but that beat... it has this melodic alien feel to it. It has a very eerie sound to it, and it explains how we are as a human life. And the hook basically is saying “We will take everything but vagina.” [laughs]... Okay but like, that song is like humanity explaining themselves. That song is basically explaining who we are, and what we do, and how we move. That's one of my favorite songs of our time. And with Young Thug being like, the closest thing to an alien, it would be a perfect representation for them to be able to see what we look like, as a species.

 

Interview by Atoosa Moinzadeh
Further Reading:
The New York-based artist also known as KING VISION ULTRA shares some of the tapes, records, and CDs that have shaped his craft.

The London lyricist and NYC producer join the dots from Peckham to Brooklyn as they talk us through their Record & Tape Exchange selections.