Guest Playlist: Listen to Armand Van Helden's Top 8 NYC-Inspired Jams

Courtesy Photo
Armand Van Helden

Seasoned artist shares top New York tunes ahead of Brooklyn Electronic Music Festival.

Armand Van Helden is a decorated dance music veteran whose globetrotting ways predate his nearly three-decade DJ career.

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As a child, the prolific producer and remixer split time between Holland, Turkey and Italy due to his father's Air Force career. Van Helden became serious about DJing while studying in his native Boston and never looked back, enjoying a successful era-spanning solo career and recent traction as one-half of super-duo Duck Sauce with A-Trak.

Despite being exposed to countless cities, there's something about New York that captures the turntablist's imagination. Van Helden moved to the city in the early '90s and remains a proud resident to this day.

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In advance of his performance at Brooklyn Electronic Music Festival (BEMF), which will be held from Nov. 5-8, Van Helden curated a Billboard Dance Guest Playlist showcasing some of his favorite songs inspired by the Big Apple. Take a listen below:

Afrika Bambaataa & Soul Sonic Force - "Planet Rock"

"This made NYC the hippest and most magical place in the world.  Literally, the sound of the future.  If ever a record had a feeling of 'times they are a changing' this one was it."

Odyssey - "Native New Yorker"

"A glamorous disco record defining the highs and the lows of living that make you 'native' in NYC."

Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five - "The Message"

"Besides the obvious lyrics about surviving in NYC, the early age of music video really set this one apart.  Visually, it brought the South Bronx post-nuclear urban decay look into all the world's living rooms and fascinated us all."

Sade - "I Couldn't Love You More"

"I’m not quite sure if it’s just me but listening to Sade while riding in a taxi in NYC is extra-dimensional."

Blondie - "Rapture"

"Definitive NYC melting pot music, what this city is all about."

Ol' Dirty Bastard - "Brooklyn Zoo"

"Probably my favorite rap video of all time and reminds me of the bittersweet, pre-gentrified, adventurous side of the city."

Soho - "Hot Music"

"Not quite house music, not quite hip-hop, not quite Jazz. Released 25 years ago, it’s a staple in any hip-hop and or house club and has outlasted most, if not all and will likely forever. NYC genre-smashing, survivalist attitude at its finest."

Jay Z - Empire State of Mind (ft. Alicia Keys)

"'These streets will make you feel brand new, big lights will inspire you.' If there was ever a contender for Frank Sinatra’s 'New York, New York' this would be it. So powerful and makes you so proud, easily a future classic."


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