In Hip-Hop and Beyond: Heatwave [Playlist]

Tracing the funk from nineteen-seventy-something through the millennial age

Sadly, the holy trifecta of Heatwave is no longer with us. The mid-seventies disco pioneers, led by brothers, Johnnie Wilder Jr. and Keith Wilder (who passed over the weekend,) as well as Rod Temperton (hit-factory producer and songwriter, perhaps best known for his work on Michael Jackson‘s Off The Wall and Thriller,) were equal parts dance floor sure-shots and intercontinental funk experimentalists.

Their biggest singles, 1977’s “Boogie Nights” and the following year’s “Groove Line,” are amongst the era’s most tested and commercially successful cuts. But deeper album dives into their debut, Too Hot To Handle, and the sophomore sleeper, Central Heating, were apparently requisite to the producers that’d change music forever in hip-hop’s oncoming vanguard of jazz-minded music nerds; perfect sample fodder for those digging for a uniquely funky break or a buttery rhodes groove.

Everyone from Marley Marl to Public Enemy to A Tribe Called Quest to J Dilla, onward and upward, have found something strange and wonderful to borrow from the Heatwave proto and proper disco palette(s.) Which is why it’s only right to gather it all for you in one place and space, if only to keep their memory as potent as their music.

Hear a new installment of In Hip-Hop and Beyond, dedicated to the late Wilder Brothers and Rod Temperton of Heatwave below. Hit the link to follow along and hear all the bridges built by hip-hop’s craftiest samplers.



Zo is a staff writer at Okayplayer where he covers music.

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