It’s amazing how much one can learn by listening to a record they’ve never heard before – especially if said record happens to be as influential as Planet Rock: The Album, a 1986 compilation of singles by Afrika Bambaataa & Soulsonic Force. The song for which this release was named is among the most popular hip-hop classics and, like many of its kin, exhibits influence by German electro pioneers Kraftwerk. Although “Planet Rock” blatantly interpolates elements of Kraftwerk’s “Trans-Europe Express,” this song and others by Afrika Bambaataa managed to retain enough originality to continue influencing music of many styles and generations. Upon first listen I could instantly recognize elements of these songs from “Weekends” by Black Eyed Peas (featuring Esthero), Miami bass classic “My Boo” by Ghost Town DJs, and of course Rage Against The Machine’s cover of “Renegades of Funk.”
The most brow-raising locus of influence I noticed, however, was in a song by shoegaze progenitors My Bloody Valentine.