Tag Archives: radiolab

You might like… Radiolab presents ‘Straight Outta Chevy Chase’

The Chevy Chase in question is not the film/TV star – no, it refers to the small town in the state of Maryland, where a very special DJ was born. That man is Peter Rosenberg, a DJ for the hip hop radio station Hot 97, New York (‘Where hip hop lives’).

In 2012 he had a very public fall out with a certain Nicki Minaj that called into question the difference between authentic hip hop and commercialised ‘sell out’ hip hop.

The folks at Radiolab covered this incident in some detail. You can stream the show below or download it for later with this link (right click to save)

Here’s the Radiolab show notes:

From boom bap to EDM, we look at the line between hip-hop and not, and meet a defender of the genre that makes you question… who’s in and who’s out

Over the past 40 years, hip-hop music has gone from underground phenomenon to global commodity. But as The New Yorker’s Andrew Marantz explains, massive commercial success is a tightrope walk for any genre of popular music, and especially one built on authenticity and “realness.”  Hip-hop constantly runs the risk of becoming a watered-down imitation of its former self – just, you know, pop music.

Andrew introduces us to Peter Rosenberg, a guy who takes this doomsday scenario very seriously. Peter is a DJ at Hot 97, New York City’s iconic hip-hop station, and a vocal booster of what he calls “real” hip-hop. But as a Jewish fellow from suburban Maryland, he’s also the first to admit that he’s an unlikely arbiter for what is and what isn’t hip-hop.

With the help of Ali Shaheed Muhammad of A Tribe Called Quest and NPR’s Frannie Kelley, we explore the strange ways that hip-hop deals with that age-old question: are you in or are you out?

Enjoy!

You might like… Radiolab investigates the myth of Robert Johnson

 

Image credits: Denis Barthel (cc by-sa3.0)

Week 2 will touch upon rhythm and blues and many of you may be familiar with the legend of Robert Leroy Johnson (May 8, 1911 – August 16, 1938). He was an American blues singer and musician who is famous because of the myth about him selling his soul to the devil by the crossroads in order to obtain amazing guitar skills.

Radiolab have investigated this myth and you might enjoy this – it’s a wonderful bit of radio, told brilliantly…

Here’s the link to the show and its accompanying blurb. It’s a great bit of radio.

In this short, we go looking for the devil, and find ourselves tangled in a web of details surrounding one of the most haunting figures in music — a legendary guitarist whose shadowy life spawned a legend so powerful, it’s still being repeated… even by fans who don’t believe a word of it.

For years and years, Jad’s been fascinated by the myth of what happened to Robert Johnson at the crossroads in Clarksdale, Mississippi. The story goes like this: back in the 1920s, Robert Johnson wanted to play the blues. But he really sucked. He sucked so much, that everyone who heard him told him to get lost. So he did. He disappeared for a little while, and when he came back, he was different. His music was startling — and musicians who’d laughed at him before now wanted to know how he did it. And according to the now-famous legend, Johnson had a simple answer: he went out to the crossroads just before midnight, and when the devil offered to tune his guitar in exchange for his soul, he took the deal.

Producer Pat Walters bravely escorts Jad to the scene of the supposed crime, in the middle of the night in the Mississippi Delta, to try to track down some shred of truth to all this. And Robert Johnson experts Tom Graves, Elijah Wald, David Evans, and Robert “Mack” McCormick help bring us a step closer to the real human at the heart of this tale. Plus, we hear, posthumously, from Ledell Johnson…a man of no relation to Robert, who unintentionally helped the world fall for a blues-imbued ghost story.

Read more:

Tom Graves, Crossroads: The Life and Afterlife of Blues Legend Robert Johnson

Elijah Wald, Escaping the Delta: Robert Johnson and the Invention of the Blues

David Evans, Tommy Johnson

Peter Guralnick, Searching for Robert Johnson