AN ILL PILL

Whereupon I admit that 20 years ago (last Sunday), I said something stupid on the interwebs: “Rap journalist Oliver Wang denied that Illmatic was a classic twenty years ago. We all have our regrets.”

Thanks to Wax Poetics for letting me get this off my chest.

One thing to add (that didn’t fit into the theme of this piece): I wasn’t a journalist or critic in 1994…just a college senior who had access to a primitive version of the internet.

But alt.rap and later, rec.music.hip-hop were completely formative spaces for me to work out ideas (even [...]

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BUHLOONE BONUS BEATS

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It took literally months to put together but my “1993″ piece on Buhloone Mindstate aired on NPR’s Morning Edition on Monday .1

I’ve been doing record reviews for NPR for nearly 10 years now but this is the first reported piece I’ve done for them and I had forgotten how much work radio journalism entails. Most of it is fun – chatting with Prince Paul is always a pleasure – but then comes the culling of the darlings. This was exceptionally hard, especially since I’m so used to quasi-word limits where I [...]

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DARONDO: DIDN’T HE TREAT US RIGHT?

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Darondo (né William Pulliam) passed away today at the age of 67. His single, “Didn’t I” remains one of my favorite Bay Area records (and really, just an all-time great slow jam).

I interviewed Darondo back in 2006 for Wax Poetics and they just reprinted the article on their site. Here’s an excerpt:

The name “Darondo” is so unique, it’s hard to forget. But for many years, all people knew of him was only that: a name on a faded label. In his brief recording career, the [...]

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MAY SHOWERS: LAURA MVULA, LADY, BIZ MARKIE, AND MORE

My recent deluge of work means a drought in posts but I’m finally back. Pardon the kitchen sink but I got a lot to cover.

First off, my early runner for “album of the year” goes to Laura Mvula. I’ve been singing her praises for a while but had been looking forward to finally reviewing the U.S. release of her Sing to the Moon for NPR. I feel like any kind of superlatives I might throw her way will be woefully inadequate. Listen to this, the first song on the album. If you’re not awed…well, maybe you’ll [...]

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HIGH POWERED: 20 YEARS AFTER “THE CHRONIC”

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The Root just published my 20th anniversary piece about The Chronic.1 You can read what I have to say about the album, the context in which it flourished, and its long-term legacies over there. I just wanted to add a personal postscript.

I didn’t like The Chronic when it first dropped. Much of this was for reasons that were quite silly in hindsight: I sided with Cube over the rest of the N.W.A. crew, I was a budding backpacker who was supposed to eschew so-called reality rap. Sonically, [...]

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