As you may have noticed, almost exactly 17 years after this site debuted, I finally got around to developing a mobile version of the site. If you're reading this on your phone and still checking out the desktop version, do your eyes a favor and flip over to the mobile version
. It's no frills at this point, but I'll be adding more to it over the next few weeks.
In other announcements showing how late I am on technology, and brace yourselves this is a big one, I've spent the past year or so deeply entrenched in the world of podcasts. There are numerous series that focus entirely on the subject of hip hop, but for me the most interesting episodes come about when podcasts devoted to entirely different subjects turn their attentions toward the music. Here are five standouts:
TLDR - The Mystery of Childish Gambino
At this point it has become an internet (or at least music blog) trope to point out that Donald Glover got his rap name from a website that randomly generated Wu-Tang themed names. This podcast from the two guys who now host Reply All
digs into the origin story and attempts to track down the original site that generated the "Childish Gambino" name. Turns out there is more than one site claiming to be the original.
How I Built This - FUBU with Daymond John
Daymond John is known more these days for his role on Shark Tank, but in the 90's his clothing brand FUBU was an essential part of any hip hop head's wardrobe. In this episode from How I Built This
, a podcast that is essential listening for anyone with even a slight interest in being an entrepreneur, Daymond John explains his rise in Hollis, Queens from dancing for Houdini, to selling FUBU hats at the mall, and finally to his spot on Shark Tank.
The Nod - An Oral History of Knuck If You Buck
The Nod, a podcast focused on the "complicated dimensions of Black Life," has done a few deep dives into random songs. This one, focused on Crime Mob's crunk anthem Knuck If You Buck
is the best of the bunch, and talks about not just the creation of the song but the fallout and disbanding of Crime Mob in the aftermath.
Every Little Thing - The Cha Cha Slide: How One Uncle Changed Weddings Forever
Every Little Thing is a show that takes random questions from listeners and finds an expert in the related field to discuss it. This one features the Chicago-based creator of Cha Cha Slide Part 2
, a mandatory part of any wedding's playlist, how it led to global fame for him, and solves the mystery of what happened to "Cha Cha Slide Part 1."
Twenty Thousand Hertz - Wilhelm Scream
Of all the entries in this post, this episode is the least hip hop-related but bear with me. Long time readers of this site may remember Alex Ludovico's
album Wilhelm Scream
, so if you were a fan of that then there's some value in learning about what the hell the title means (spoiler alert: it's a vocal sample of a man falling to his death, commonly reused in hundreds of movies). This episode of Twenty Thousand Hertz tracks the origin of the sample, and talks through the various movies that have used it. The history itself is interesting, but as someone who has grown up with hip hop it's interesting to hear about the concept of sampling being used in another form of media.
If anyone else out there has any suggestions or series I've overlooked, hit me up or drop it in the comments below.