Peter Croce DJs every Friday at Motor City Wine for Rocksteady Disco, and every second Friday of the month at Temple Bar in Detroit with Ryan Dahl. This week you can also catch him spinning at Menjo’s from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 8 and on D3EP.com from 11 p.m. to 1 a.m. on Thursday, Oct. 9. Though he’s busier than a rabbit during mating season, he took some time out to craft a short, but fun playlist for your listening pleasure.
The Gap Band | “Burn Rubber On Me (Why You Wanna Hurt Me)”
In trying to go in chronological order with the tunes in this selection, I have to start with something from the Gap Band. Thanks to my mom and dad, I’ve been listening to the Gap Band, Prince, Rick James, and The Time ever since I remember. “Burn Rubber on Me,” in particular, stands out because my dad taught me how to play the bassline on my cheap keyboard back when I was 6. It’s pretty much the only thing I remember to play on a keyboard to this day. But that post-disco boogie funk has been a mainstay in my sets to this day, no matter the time of day.
Sade | “Nothing Can Come Between Us”
I actually have memories of being about 8 years old and being in the car with my dad and hearing “Smooth Operator” on V98.7. My boy Andrey from Paramita Sound and I say that Sade is the Queen (which I think makes Chaka Khan the Empress.) This tune’s lyrics hit close to home on a relationship level and the tune just delivers from start to finish — orchestration, musicianship, vocal quality, the whole shebang. Not to mention there’s some killer edits of this track, too, so I can play a variation of it in just about any set I want to.
Jean-Luc Ponty | “Trans-Love Express”
I was originally trained as a jazz/fusion bassist, so to leave something in that vein off of this list would be a travesty. This is another one my dad used to play from a haggard, stretched-out cassette growing up. Being in the jazz band in high school reminded me of it, so I dug out the cassette and proceeded to have my mind blown. Detroit’s own Ralphe Armstrong kills the bass groove, with Jean-Luc Ponty making you wonder whether he’s a violinist, guitarist, synthist, or all of the above. Top it off with some Disco-esque drum grooves and you’ve got yourself a tune that’s as intellectual as it is funky.
King Tubby | “This Is a Natural Dub Stylee”
As far as I’m concerned, dub is the origin of modern electronic music as we know it. I first discovered this magical sound my freshman year of college, and to this day that discovery has put King Tubby at the top as my No. 1 favorite producer ever. The dude was so incredibly thoughtful and had the chops to back it up. I rip off so much of how I mix my tracks from this guy. So go ahead and put this on and try to frown. Impossible. Then follow it up with the original Reggae track dubs, Cornel Campbell’s “Natural Fact.”
Mala | “New Life Baby Paris”
“When we trod this land, we walk for one reason. The reason is to try to help another man to think for himself. The music of our hearts is roots music: music which recalls history, because without the knowledge of your history, you cannot determine your destiny; the music about the present, because if you are not conscious of the present, you are like a cabbage in this society; music which tells about the future and the judgment which is to come.” Mala is one of my favorite producers of all time, thanks to his blending of reggae music with electronic music, his meditative bass sounds, and his in-general not-caring-of-what-the-mainstream-is-into-ness. Without a doubt, his labels’ sounds are what got me into electronic music and mixing records. When people talk about dubstep, bring this guy up and see what they say.
Dusky | "Truth Capital T"
I used to listen to the SWAMP81 show on RinseFM every month when I was in my undergrad, and every time Loefah would play this song I would lose it. The day it dropped on Naked Naked Music I was late to work because I just had to purchase it before I left my house for the day. A Dr. Cornel West vocal sample is the cherry on top of this musical sundae. Listen for yourself.
Motor City Drum Ensemble | "Raw Cuts #5"
This one’s the boogie realness. The party starter. The “let’s test this soundsystem” tune. And lately I’ve been playing less traditional house stuff like the last track and more slower stuff like this.
SiA | "Get Me (Groove Chronicles Vocal Remix)"
It was tough to choose between a Steve Gurley track or a Groove Chronicles track for my 2step selection here but ultimately SiA’s sultry sexy voice came out on top. This has every piece of the formula for tunes that really strike my fancy: a fat bassline, shuffley hi-hats/snares, bouncy keys, and chopped up vocals. I can play this tune at my Temple residency, Menjo’s, Motor City Wine, and even the private party gigs I play and people get down.
Joe Smooth | "Promised Land"
This Chicago classic defines Deep House: unison vocals about liberation and a heavy beat to back it up. This is the †Sermon† at Temple Bar anthem right here.
Peven Everett | "Put Your Back Into It"
If you don’t know about Peven now you know. Incredible writer, arranger, producer, and vocalist. I wish I had his voice. And this is another one that get people on the dance floor looking at you like, “I don’t know what this is but I’m happy you played it and I’m gonna keep on dancing.” Just wait for the bridge.
Fela Kuti | "Water No Get Enemy"
Appropriate ender to this list given the grave lack of humanity that is going on in the city I call home. Bonus points if you can spot the Pete Rock sample.