Every so often, I update my online portfolio to keep track of my music/cultural criticism and journalism. I finally updated it for 2014 and in doing so, I briefly revisited some of the stories from the year that I’m most proud of. Thought I’d share these in case you missed them the first time around.
Gimme The Beat (Box): The Journey Of The Drum Machine
For NPR’s Morning Edition (January 17, 2014)
The Internet and the R&B Upgrade
(Profile of The Internet)
For KCET’s Artbound […]
Continue reading MY FAVORITE STORIES OF 2014
“Pistolgrip Pump” is one of my favorite L.A. hip-hop songs and now Eric Ducker has written a thorough history of how the song came to be (and truly, the many ways in which it could have NOT come to be). Great music journalism at work here.
(Also a sobering reminder of how the song ended up defining Volume 10’s style as something that was actually quite different from what it actually was. Listen to practically anything else on the album and his Good Life bonafides are instantly obvious).
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 […]
Continue reading AN ILL PILL
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 […]
Continue reading BUHLOONE BONUS BEATS
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, […]
Continue reading DARONDO: DIDN’T HE TREAT US RIGHT?
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 […]
Continue reading MAY SHOWERS: LAURA MVULA, LADY, BIZ MARKIE, AND MORE
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. […]
Continue reading HIGH POWERED: 20 YEARS AFTER “THE CHRONIC”
I review the long-awaited, official re-release of the Ghetto Brothers’ Power – Fuerza album for NPR.
Don’t get the fishy reissue from a few years back; the deluxe edition has incredible liner notes by Jeff Mao plus a plethora of photos of the crew, back in the day.
Big up to Truth and Soul for putting this out the right way.
And speaking of T&S, check out the new single by their new act, Lady:
In honor of the new Bill Withers Complete Columbia and Sussex box set, I wrote a pair of pieces for NPR. One is a radio review of the set itself. The other is a 5-song Music List of Withers covers.
Both were fun to write but in both cases, there were things left off because of time/space.
First up, I wanted to do a “slept-on” song for each of Withers’s studio albums.
From Just As I Am: “I’m Her Daddy”
It’s easy to listen to this at some kind […]
Continue reading WITHERS, REVISITED
My most recent story for KCET’s ArtBound was on photographer Eilon Paz, who runs the awesome Dust & Grooves site (soon to be a book). Paz made a West Coast trip to shoot a variety of folks (myself included): Egon, Mario C., Cut Chemist, et. al.