“Physical media in general has always been enticing to me, and I think it will always have a place.” New York underground artist KING VISION ULTRA, most commonly known as Geng PTP, heads a blog-turned-label called Purple Tape Pedigree (PTP) that keeps this ethos front and center. Inspired predominantly by the broad-reaching genre of heavy music and foundational hip-hop, Geng dropped his own project Shook World back in January, a field-recording driven compilation that promises “more extensions to [its] world very soon, both on a visual and a physical level.” Ahead of 2024, which Geng promises to be a very active year for PTP (artists include E L U C I D, Fatboi Sharif, Armand Hammer, and Temp-Illusion), he shares some of the tapes, records, and CDs that have shaped his craft.
What song reminds you the most of your childhood?
So I would say Janet Jackson, “When I Think of You.” The radio was on a lot at my crib, and I specifically remember hearing that song on a lot of mornings coming from my parents room as I'd be getting up for school and my pops would be getting ready for work. And it was a hit, so you would hear it in the car, in the afternoon when I was playing with the radio on my lonely, because I was an only child - it was kind of my form of entertainment. So yeah, that’s a big one for me; I always get goosebumps when I hear that song come on now. To me, it has the perfect melodic sequencing. I believe I have to shout out [Terry] Lewis and [Jimmy] Jam on that.
On the flip side though, I’ll provide another joint for like a nighttime vibe: Salt-N-Pepa’s “Get Up Everybody” is a song that I definitely chased after, I have fond memories of hearing that on WBLS and Kiss FM mix shows on Friday and Saturday nights when I was really chasing songs, seeing music videos. Also, matter of fact, I was watching Music Video Box every day after school and just being enthralled by the rhythm and frequency specifically of rap music at the time. I would say Salt-N-Pepa’s “Push It” is probably one of the first rap songs I had ever heard, but “Get Up Everybody” has a very specific nighttime New York City vibe to me. It’s kinda got an eerie but funky tone to the instrumental, it’s crazy. So yeah, those two joints for sure are the ones for me, before I was double digits.
What was the first physical record you remember buying?
I got another two-tier answer for that. Around ’91, ’92, I was like ten, and around that time I had linked up with my cousin who was five years older than me. He was a Chinese kid who was raised in France, so it bugged me out when I first saw him and he was just sleeping on our couch, like “who is this kid? What is going on right now?” But we bonded dumb quickly over video games and anime before it was called anime - we used to call it Japanese cartoons, straight up. Also, he would bring home a lot of Cantopop, contemporary pop music from Hong Kong - he would be going to Chinatown and coming back to the crib with a stack of tapes, because there were spots selling tapes for two dollars because they weren’t official, they would just literally make a xerox printout of the J-card and put it on a TDK or Maxell tape. The tape my cousin bought for me, by request, was by this artist Shirley Kwan, her album from 1992. The translation of the title is To Create A Dream. And then on the flip side, about two years later, I bought De La Soul Buhloone Mindstate and Digable Planets, Blowout Comb; those are the first two that I bought with my own money. Shoutout to Tower Records on 86th Street and 3rd.
I would say Prodigy’s “Can’t Complain” off the H.N.I.C. album, featuring Big Twin. It’s a tale of them getting up on a Summer day, riding around, going to the weed spot and getting pulled over - but the boys let them keep the narcotics and keep going. It’s just an ill story joint. The beat is this crazy Barry White loop and it’s just very much a New York vibe, for sure.
Mariah Carey, “Dreamlover.” Back in the day, that song was rockin’. It makes me think of going to a Japanese mall in Jersey with my cousin, and we would just go there and geek the fuck out, buy Gundam models, Japanese video game magazines, even though I couldn’t read the characters... And then snacks. Snacks on snacks. I feel like oftentimes, “Dream Lover” would be on the radio, whether that was on the bus, or occasionally my dad would drive us out there, and he might be playing it. That’s just a bop, I love that song.
What song do you wish you had written?
Massive Attack, “Protection,” is crazy to me. I remember seeing the video and not knowing who they were and just being enticed by the visuals and the James Brown sample, and being like “wait, it’s kind of a sample, but they’re playing instruments alongside it.” The vocals have a very specific soothing quality, but more recently I went back to that song and kind of heard the lyrical content, and more understood what the topic was, and it flips it all around. It’s this thing of protecting someone from harm, and that could be seen on a few different levels in terms of my own life experiences, and how I read that. It’s a song that can actually bring me to tears, pretty much every time. It always strikes those perfect chords. That song is one of the most perfect pieces of music I’ve been blessed enough to witness.
What’s the best song to play at a house party?
Something that’s going to undoubtedly get a reaction out of folks? Luther Vandross, “Never Too Much” and Cherrelle “Didn’t Mean to Turn You On.” Those two joints are certified. That’s the type of shit you end a DJ set with, and you might not even be playing like ’70s or funk or whatever, but you put that shit on at the end and it’s a wrap. Those are definitely tried and true anthemic songs.
What song would you want played at your funeral?
First thing that comes to mind is… Sneaker Pimps, “6 Underground.” I just love that song - and it’s a pun, too, obviously with six feet underground. That’s another song I wish I had written type shit, that’s one of those joints.
Can you describe one of your favorite songs without actually naming it or the artist who made it?
It’s brooding, it sounds like a bubbling of sorts. There’s a string section, and a deep sub-bass, and soaring vocals. There’s a somewhat radical energy to the lyricism. It has a crazy music video too, with people turning into robotic metallic bears.
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 would say Loose Ends “Hangin’ on a String.” That song is the waviest. It’s that, or Pharoah Sanders, “The Creator Has a Master Plan.” These are two examples of the way that music can work as a universal communication device - through tone, through melody, through chords, through message too, they do something that even if you didn’t speak English you would still feel something. They both have a very uplifting spirit to them.
Photograph by Melinda Boord