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.