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. 

Chicago-based producer Polo Boy Shawty is one of the most important figures in the current Plugg and PluggnB revival, having worked with rappers like Tony Shhnow, Valee, and ManMan Savage. His first ever compilation tape, Connected, is out on all platforms now, and is the first of many drops Polo has slated for 2023.


What song reminds you the most of your childhood?

It has to be “Kiss of Life,” by Sade. I used to spend a lot of time with my mom and my brother driving on the highway and stuff when I was little, and my mom would always Sade’s albums. At some points, we played it all the way through until we'd end up knocking out, but Sade always a vibe.

 

What was the first physical record you remember buying?

I was in fourth grade and I got Kanye West’s College Dropout. I just remember always seeing Kanye on TV. Me and my mom used to watch TV all the time and see him. I was like, when “He drops his project, I'm going to grab it.” I technically didn't buy it myself,  I think me and my mom went half on it or something. Either way, that was the first CD that I ever owned. There was a song on there called “Last Call” that really made me a fan. 

 

What song reminds you the most of home? 

“The Recipe” by Kendrick Lamar and Dr. Dre. Maybe because before I moved, when I was staying with my mom, I played that song to death. So anytime I hear it, it instantly reminds me of home. But really, I could have said anything. Flyleaf, Gucci Mane, Tupac, Linkin Park, Aaliyah, Missy Elliot, Lil Wayne, all them people. But I feel like that's the one that sticks out the most in my mind at the time right now.

 

What song reminds you of traveling to a specific place? 

“It Was a Good Day” by Ice Cube. Anytime I hop on a plane or get on a long drive, I'll play that song at some point, and I pretty much tell myself I'm going to have a good day.

 

What is the song that you wish you had written?

“Love Yourz” by J. Cole. I just love the overall message in that song and how it connected with the beat.

 

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

Being in Chicago, I'd say “Faneto” by Chief Keef. You play that, you're going up.

 

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

It starts with a woman's voice singing. Instantly, you're going to hear a fire piano progression, a light sound, and a smooth baseline accompanied by a harmonizing voice and some knocking drums. And then throughout the verse, you could hear a variety of flows in different pockets that the artists used and a woman singing in the background. The combination of the background vocals and the instrumental, it'll just paint a picture every time.

 

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'm playing “You & Me Both” by Valee, because bro is an alien.

 

Interview by Atoosa Moinzadeh
Further Reading:
London singer-songwriter Yazmin Lacey's selections include Erykah Badu, Jodeci, and Janet Kay.

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