NYC’s Dope Sagittarius releases ‘Sacred Places’ LP on vinyl + video for ‘Black Empress’ feat. hiphop icon Mike Ladd

NYC-based rock-punk-funk fusion outfit Dope Sagittarius presents their ‘Sacred Places’ album, released on 12″ vinyl via their own imprint Buddhabug Records. This collection presents a rich tapestry of funky grooves, thoughtful synths and rocking vocals, featuring contributions by such achieved artists as Ronny Drayton, Corey Glover, Mike Ladd,  Marc Cary, Roy Radics, Mazz Swift and Micah Gaugh.

Photo by William Amenta

The record also comes with a copy of the comic book ‘Dope Sagittarius In the Bumbaclout Strain’, which was written by Luqman Brown with artwork by Tim Smith III.

“Tim has worked on many Marvel titles such as ‘Iron Man’ and ‘Ms Marvel’. He also did a series called ‘Black’, where the only people in the world who had super powers were black. My comic is the first chapter, introducing you to three tuskegee airmen (Captain M.C. Whisler (that’s myself), Sargeant Bambam (that’s William Ramsey Jones) and Leftenant Spanish (that’s Ernesto D’ Amaso). They have been chosen by the great Bam Beyonder to fly a B-29 bomber plane through the multiverse to stop the evil D Incredible from destroying all life with mediocre music,” says Luqman Brown.

The band also present the video for ‘Black Empress’ featuring violinist Mazz Swift (Whitney Houston, Valerie June) and Paris-based hip-hop legend/wordsmith/rap pioneer Mike Ladd (“king of the hip-hop concept” – The Guardian). This rocking hip-hop electo soundclash is a song for this Black Lives Matter age. Directed by Morgan Freeman with support from cinematographer Andrew Coury, this video was produced by Carlyle Smith with Executive Producers Luqman Brown and LaRonda Davis. Filmed at YouTube Studios New York City, it stars Angelana Jones and Anthony Bowman, along with M.C. Whistler on Vox/ Guitar, Ernest G. D’Amaso on Bass, Entrified Mcloud on Keys and Ramsey Jones on Drums.  

Dope Sagittarius is the brainchild of Harlem-based Luqman Brown, whose mother is a folk-singer-turned-teacher and father a well-known playwright. The independent spirit of art in his blood got amped up early upon seeing Funkadelic at the Apollo. By high school, he had joined his third band — punk-funk outfit FunkFace, who first opened for 24-7 Spyz and soon Fishbone, slowly rising to prominence through hundreds of shows and three studio releases.

Photo by Andrew Coury

Earlier, Dope Sagittarius revealed alt pop jazz single‘Define Love’. In their music, Dope Sagittarius present an eclectic mix of avant-garde pop-rock and funk with an occasional dip into reggae and street, their unique sound influenced by Bobby Womack, George Clinton, David Lee Roth, The Bad Brains, Fishbone and Ronny Drayton.

While ‘Sacred Places’ was slated to release in 2017, Luqman suffered a stroke. Everything screeched to a halt as he learned to speak and walk again, followed by heart surgery in 2019. After continual recovery, he’s back with this album, as if he’s never missed a beat.

“Being able to properly put this record out into the world means that I didn’t give up in the face of death. This album was supposed to be released in 2017, but I had a stroke as a result of severe complications with my heart. In 2019, I underwent heart surgery to place an LVAD in my heart to keep it pumping. The result of these health complications left me weak and without the breath to perform,” says Luqman Brown.

“At the time, I thought that myself and this album would never make it out into the world—as proud as I am of it. Nevertheless, I slowly came back and now the world will get to hear what it’s like living in NYC everyday—hard times, staying alive, and taking the time to have a good brunch along the way.”

As of May 14, the ‘Sacred Places’ LP is out on vinyl and available on Apple Musicand Spotify. It can also be ordered via Bandcamp or from Buddhabug Records.

FOR FANS OF: Gorillas, Mahavishu orchestra, Dead Prez, and Kendrick Lamar, The Veldt

Performed by Dope Sagittarius
Written by Luqman Brown and Brian Gosher
Produced by Brian Gosher
Recorded in Harlem, New York and North Brunswick, New Jersey, except ‘LaRonda’
Mixing and Mastering by Brian Gosher.

1. Alive – 03:40
2. Sacred Place – 04:07
3. Brunchin with Bitches – 02:59
4. Define Love – 04:51
5. Black Empress – 04:07
6. Hate us – 03:33
7. Quitting Time – 02:48
8. LaRonda – 05:27
9. Break It Down – 03:47
10. Sharpest Claws – 04:16
11. Brunchin with Missess – 02:59

Keep up with Dope Sagittarius
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