After a 30-year court battle, the Shinnecock Indians of Long Island finally won their case, proving that they meet the criteria for federal recognition as a Native American tribe. This federal recognition will allow them to pursue their plans to build a casino in New York City or its suburbs. The Shinnecock Indian nation has 1,066 members, most of whom live on 800 acres in Southampton, NY. As Randy King, chairman of the Shinnecock trustees said in a statement cited by the Times, “This recognition comes after years of anguish and frustration for many members of our Nation, living and deceased … Perhaps this recognition will help some of our neighbors better understand us and foster a new mutual respect.” The Shinnecocks would only be approved to build a “Class II” casino on their own land, which could feature video slot machines but no table games. Some tribal leaders have expressed interest in building elsewhere in the state so that they could build a “Class III” casino which they think would be more lucrative for the tribe and the state. The state would get no proceeds from the “Class II” casino, but they would be likely to insist on a percentage of the proceeds if the tribe is allowed to build elsewhere.
Money is what it’s all about these days and N.A.S.A. knows how the Shinnecock’s are feeling. That’s just what they’re talking about in “Money,” one of the best singles of of their debut album The Spirit of Apollo that came out earlier this year. We first talked about N.A.S.A. back in April and we haven’t stopped listening since. N.A.S.A. is a creative collaboration between Sam Spiegel (Squeak E. Clean) and Ze Gonzales (DJ Zegon). Sam Spiegel is a producer, composer, DJ, and remixer based in L.A. and Ze Gonzales is a DJ who made a name for himself on the Brazillian club scene and later as part of the rap-rock group Planet Hemp.
There are so many people on this album, including Kanye West, M.I.A., Santogold, Lykke Li, Spank Rock, and some of their musical heroes like Tom Waits and David Byrne (who is featured on “Money”). N.A.S.A. stands for North America/South America and is rooted in and permeated by Brazillian funk. There are a number of unexpected collaborations on the seventeen track release. As Spiegel explains on their MySpace page, the tracks themselves dictated who would be asked to collaborate, “we never said, ‘let’s make a track for this person.’ We’d usually make something we liked, and then as we were starting to write the song, it would tend to go in a direction that we’d be like, ‘this sounds like George Clinton,’ or ‘this sounds like Method Man.’ We would start to feel the song out, and feel the artist through the song as we did it. Basically, we’d sit around as we were making these tracks and say the nuttiest combination of names, like our dream of who we could get on the song. It’s crazy, a lot of times they actually happened.” A full-length documentary film about the creation of the album is nearing completion. It is said to include interviews with many of the artists who contributed to The Spirit of Apollo and some footage from the studio sessions. It’s the type of album that you listen to again and again and always hear something new. It sounds like the soundtrack from an epic party that you will never forget. This album rocks and I think it’s selling now for only $10 on iTunes; I know what my friends are getting this holiday season.
N.A.S.A. – Money (feat. David Byrne, Chuck D, Ras Congo, Seu Jorge, & Z-Trip):