Songs That Changed My Life: Curtis Roach

Photo By  RC Nelson

Photo By RC Nelson


A brief exchange over text with neighbor Curtis Roach marks just over a year since we last caught up with the Detroit-based rapper. His performance at Empty Bottle last week (for the latest edition of Digital Freshness) marks his first Chicago pit-stop in about two years. Possessing an ever-so enthusiastic approach, Curtis has been cruising along with his music since his late 2017 project “Highly Caffeinated”, releasing two singles “Spectacular”  and “WJIT”, both of which boast his upbeat style, while his part in collective ForeverGolden’s EP “Gold” manifests his lion-hearted spirit to its fullest.

Currently, Curtis awaits his next milestone - the release of a new project this summer. Although we’ll patiently wait for him to share new music, you can keep up with Curtis’ next moves via his Spotify, Instagram, and Twitter. You can also check out his monthly playlist curation: the Roach FM Series, a smooth flowing collection of music in Curtis’ current rotation. In the meantime, we hope you enjoy this twenty-two track collection of music that inspires, motivates, and resonates with the Mo-town native in our latest edition of Songs That Changed My Life:

J Dilla / “welcome to the show

I remember Adult Swim would have the commercial break bumps and that was my first time hearing him. I immediately fell in love with his music. Rest in peace to a true Detroit legend.

Kendrick Lamar/ Hol up

This was one of the first Kendrick songs I heard and I just knew this was gonna be one of my favorite rappers. His style so sharp and I just feel like I’m running freely when this song plays.

Tyler the creator/ find your wings

Tyler has a huge impact on me in general but this song really helped through a tough time for me. I always say this but I for real don’t know where I would be right now if it wasn’t for cherry bomb.

ATCQ/ excursions

The low-end theory might be my favorite hip hop albums of all time. I used to listen to this on the bus in 11th grade year and just analyze every lyric.

MF DOOM / rhymes like dimes

When I started high school I went through a heavy MF DOOM phase. this song caught me off guard just because the way he came in and the beat dropped!!! Yo I was hooked for life.

Joey Badass / Waves

My mom introduced me to Joey Badass actually. When I was in 7th grade my mom was like “somebody made a mixtape called 1999... that’s the year you were born.” And when I went to check him out it was like a breath of fresh air. I was like yooo this guy is up to something.

Lil Wayne / A Milli

Wayne is one of my favorite rappers of all time. I grew up in the era where it was just no denying his skill. Every mixtape and album he dropped we were on that. This came out when I was in third grade and I remember he was like all the way in his bag on a milli. I remember writing this whole song out just to be the first to have it memorized at school.

Eminem / just don’t give a F***

When I first heard Eminem It felt like I was watching a really entertaining cartoon. The way he rhymed and the stuff he would make stories around always had me like “yo how did he think about this?”

Stevie Wonder / My Cherie Amour

Stevie Wonder was my first concert ever. My Mom took me when I was 8 and made sure I knew who this genius was.

Anita Baker/ Same Ole Love (365 Days a Week)

My Mom loves Anita and I always thought her voice was so pretty. Her vocals just make my heart melt. It’s also cool cus she’s from Detroit and the video for this was shot at northland skating rink. I grew up going to that rink and I definitely wanted to bring that same feel for the WJIT video.

Drake/ HYFR

This song just important. If you know you know.

Frank Ocean / Self Control

I think Frank is one of my biggest inspirations when it comes to writing. I’ve cried to his music a few times.

Common / The Light

I think this is one of my favorite hip hop love songs. His poetry was deep on this joint. If I really like someone I send this to them cus it’s so special to me.

Kanye West / Touch the sky

I used to ride my bike all day in the summer and listen to late registration when it came out. That was a very pure time, I can just remember how powerful this song made me feel.

Social experiment/ Wanna be cool

This song helped me with a breakup and just gaining confidence to be myself to the fullest when I was 16. I even used Kyle’s Verse in a school presentation on how self-care is important.

Fugees/ killing me softly

My Mom bumped the Fugees and L boogie heavy. I always thought Lauryn Hill was so talented for being able to sing beautifully and then switch up and be one of the Dopest MCs to live.  

Dr. Dre / let me ride

My Dad used to play a lot of west coast hip hop around me as a kid. By the time I was like 7 I knew most of the chronic by heart. The Sonics are unmatched still to this day.

2pac / keep ya head up

My Dad loved PAC so much. There are so many songs I can just recite by him I always play PAC when I’m thinking about my Dad or I when I just miss my Dad.

Kendrick Lamar / alright

I went to a Tyler the creator concert in 2015 and taco opened up for him. This was one of the first songs he played and the song just came out not to long before. But when this shit dropped the whole room was jumping it was something you felt in your spirit.

Ice cube / you know how we do it

 This another song that makes me think of my Dad. He was a kappa and would twirl his Kane in front of the house til the sunset. This shit just so smooth.

Micheal Jackson / Human Nature

Michael Jackson was one of the first musical influences on me. My mom has videos of me practicing his dance moves when I could barely even talk.

Childish Gambino / Stand Tall

Childish Gambino has always been a huge inspiration to me. Anything he does I’m a fan of. This song just makes me think of my Dad and wanting to conquer the world