Even if you’ve never seen Brian Cross aka B+ in person, you’ve definitely seen his photography. Starting in the early 1990s, B+ has become one of the premier music photographers of the past 20 years, especially (but hardly exclusively) in the hip-hop community.
B+ is also one-half of the L.A.-based production outfit, Mochilla, who’ve put out the renown Keepintime, Brasilintime and Timeless series. And, he’s author of one of the best books ever written about hip-hop in L.A., It’s Not About a Salary.1 Suffice to say, of all the folks I’ve met through the Cali music scene over the last 15 years, B is one of the folks whose work and dedication is a constant source of respect and amazement.
He was kind enough to roll through the home studio on a sweltering July day and though, ostensibly, I wanted to have him contribute to the summer songs series, I also wanted to use the opportunity to talk about his career arc (I, for one, had no idea he was a former student and protege of Mike Davis though that fact suddenly made total sense to me in the context of his work), his interest in South American music, culture and people, and the greatest that is Labi Siffre. (In a special “bonus beats” section after the formal podcast ends, we also rap about his working with Damien Marley, bringing more Timeless shows back, and why you’ll have to pry his Hasselblad from his cold, dead fingers.
The Sidebar #12: Brian Cross/B+
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Music in this episode:
- Quantic: Cumbia de Mochilla
- Volume 10: Pistolgrip Pumpinstrumental
- Freestyle Fellowship: Convolutions
- Last Electro-Acoustic Space Jazz Ensemble (Madlib): Horace
- Above the Law: Murder Rap
- DJ Shadow: Midnight In a Perfect World
- B+: Track 2 & 3 (from SertÃ£o Madrugada)
- Afrosound: Caliventura
- Birdsong Radio
- George Duke: For Love (I Come Your Friend)
- Tune-Yards: Gangsta
- Labi Siffre: It Must Be Love
- Suite for Ma Dukes: Fall In Love
- The Cure: Pictures of You
- Damien Marley and Nas: As We Enter
- Allan Sekula’s “The Body and the Archive“
- Mochilla 10 Year Show@ The Summit, S.F.
- Thundercat’s cover of “For Love (I Come Your Friend)”
- Cross is also at work on Ghostnotes his first formal monograph. ↩
Big fan since I found “Not About a Salary” in my local Chicago library in 93-94. Great to learn more about where all this passion and interest comes from. Mochilla is definitely a big part of what makes LA so amazing. Love the Mike Davis connection too – I’m a city planner.
just caught up on this via recently subscribing to the podcast. Love the Nas/Damien Marley track at the end. In looking for that on eMusic, I was also able to find the Broken Flowers soundtrack and grabbed a couple of the Mulatu tracks. So dope.
Excellent podcast Oliver. By the way, Brian will be playing an all 45s set in Dublin, Ireland on October 20th in the South William for any Dubliners reading this!