The Covers

The Covers exhibits colorful, iconic album covers from the collection of James Gates aka Nappy DJ Needles.

Gates began deejaying in 1994, playing house parties. A job at Saint Louis’ Vintage Vinyl inspired him to begin collecting. Many of his initial albums came from his father, legendary DJ “Gentleman” Jim Gates. As his own career evolved, Nappy DJ Needles began to integrate his father’s records into his sets. He can currently be heard on 88.1 KDHX and Hot 104.1.

Gates selected albums with artistic covers for this installation. He enjoys their power to evoke memories, inspire nostalgia, and complement the music on the records. For Gates, vinyl holds an appealing physicality, which is drawn from the act of removing the record from its sleeve and putting it on a turntable. Gates appears as a performer and examines a portion of his collection in Benjamin Kaplan’s Living Like Kings installation.

About Nappy DJ Needles

In 1998, Needles released his first mixtape entitled 98 Fresh Mix Tape featuring music from Pete Rock, A Tribe Called Quest and Black Star. The next year, radio personality Deja Vu recruited Needles to commercial radio, offering him a specialty mixshow as a platform to expose underground and classic Hip Hop music. During the past decade, Needles has been exposed to many different genres in his hometown of St Louis and while in Dallas, Chicago, Atlanta and New York. Needles' appreciation for good, significant music runs deep and he expresses that wherever he deejays. Needles often refers to his style as polyrhythmic; many different styles as one fresh sound. When Needles performs you are likely to hear Rare Groove, Deep Funk, Afro Beat, House, Latin, True School Hip Hop, 80s/90s R&B, Raw Soul, Dusty Jazz, Breakbeat and Indie Soul.


The Covers Wall Grid