Results for Ice Cube

interviews

Mark Anthony Neal and Joan Morgan

Next Jim and Greg welcome Mark Anthony Neal, a professor of Black Popular Culture at Duke University and author of New Black Man: Rethinking Black Masculinity, and Joan Morgan, a writer and critic who recently left her post as Executive Editor of Essence Magazine. Joan and Mark have been debating the merits and demerits of hip hop since they grew up as friends and neighbors in "Boogie Down Bronx." And Joan was one of the first music critics to examine the dichotomy of hip hop fandom and feminism in her 1990 Village Voice review of Ice Cube's first classic album AmeriKKKa's Most Wanted. Greg asks Joan what she makes of misogyny in modern hip hop. She explains that it was always there, but the level of it has changed. That concept of women has consumed commercial rap music, so listeners don‘t hear a lot of balance in perspective and tone. She also explains that something like the Ice Cube album is actually easier to wrestle with because it’s a brilliant album. Joan and Mark explain that labels are as complicit as artists in perpetuating a certain level of misogyny since they are the ones actually limiting the range of what you hear in hip hop.

Greg wonders if perhaps the consumer has already begun to speak out. Last year's top hip hop act, T.I., sold 1.7 million copies of his album King. Those aren‘t paltry figures to be sure, but they are definitely much smaller than what we’ve seen from star rappers in years past. Mark sees less revenue and less investment in major-label hip hop as a good thing; it's an opportunity for fresher sounds to come into the marketplace. Jim likens the trend to the development of indie rock in the '80s. That market was also glutted with big name acts like Poison and Mötley Crüe, leaving music fans to seek out underground rock from bands like Hüsker Dü and The Minutemen. Perhaps next we'll enter into an era of indie hip hop.

When asked about the effectiveness of banning certain words in hip hop music, Joan first expresses disappointment in what came out of Simmons and the Hip Hop Summit Action Network's meetings. Without doubting Simmons‘ sincerity, she calls the resulting call to action anemic at best and disingenuous at worst. Mark also grates against people, especially members of the“old guard,”making proclamations about culture or language. This kind of criticism is compounded by the fact that critics of rap music often don’t understand aesthetics. Mark's specific example is the hit hip hop single "In Da Club." People that take issue with the shallow nature of 50 Cent's lyrics may be failing to hear what makes a song like that so popular — the production and the beats. Mark furthers that rulings against specific words don't take into consideration that some rappers can make really complex, compelling statements using racial or sexist epithets. Joan adds that you can also say some really sexist, racist and homophobic things without using any“bad words”at all.

Go to episode 82

Deltron 3030

Welcome to the 31st Century: Earth is a wasteland ruled by roving gangs. Corporate greed, runaway technology and economic disparity have finally caught up with the planet. This dire, science fiction scenario is anything but ordinary hip-hop. And, that's not surprising considering how extra-ordinary Deltron 3030 is. This supergroup is made up of Dan“the Automator”Nakamura, the man behind sounds by Gorillaz and Dr. Octagonecologyst; Del the Funky Homosapien, an innovative Oakland MC who wrote lyrics for his cousin Ice Cube's group Da Lench Mob; and finally, turntable wizard Kid Koala. All three crossed paths during the making of other projects like Handsome Boy Modeling School and Gorillaz. And in 2000, with a futuristic comic-book inspiration, Deltron 3030 released its self-titled debut. The world has changed a lot since then, and the sequel, Event II, presents a new idea of the future (one that made Greg's Best of 2013 list) Del, Dan and Kid talk about their new, loftier goals for this album and how such dense, off-the-wall recordings get made. They also riff on everything from Transformers to David Byrne to 1984.

Go to episode 430

Ernie Isley

Few groups can claim the sustained success of The Isley Brothers, in no small part due to the contributions of our guest Ernie Isley. The Isley Brothers formed in the 1950s as a doo-wop vocal group in Cincinatti, scoring huge hits with the wedding staples "Shout" and "Twist and Shout." They managed to survive the British Invasion, assisted by the incredible playing of their young guitarist Jimi Hendrix. With the addition of two more brothers, Ernie and Marvin, the band started to branch out into funk, soul, psychedelia, rock, and disco. It's this willingness to defy categorization that's led to the Isleys' longevity – the band scored the rare feat of charting in six consecutive decades.

Ernie Isley picked up where Hendrix left off on guitar, creating an unmistakeable tone featured on hits like "That Lady" and "Summer Breeze." But his contributions as a songwriter were just as vital, including a pair of sociallly conscious anthems in 1975: "Harvest for the World" and "Fight the Power," which Ernie penned in the shower before a trip to Disneyland. The Isleys' influence continues to be heard today in the hip-hop realm. Artists from Ice Cube to Notorious B.I.G. to Kendrick Lamar have crafted iconic songs from Isley Brothers samples. The band is now being honored with a massive boxset called The RCA Victor & T-Neck Album Masters (1959-1983), and even that just scratches the surface of the Isleys' long career.

Go to episode 509
lists

Off the Rails

Sound Opinions is a show that celebrates music. But, once in a while we have to get a little negative and call out artists that disappoint us. In particular, there's a crop of singers and musicians who began as great talents with promising careers, but ended up breaking our hearts by going "Off the Rails." Think of it as the musical answer to“Jump the Shark.”Jim and Greg think these career wrong-turns are too big to ignore.

Go to episode 242

James Brown's“The Payback”in hip-hop

  • Queen Latifah, "If You Don't Know"
  • LL Cool J, "The Boomin' System"
  • Mary J Blige, "Everything"
  • Ice Cube, "The Wrong Nigga to Fuck Wit"
  • Massive Attack, "Protection"
  • En Vogue, "(My Lovin‘) You’re Never Gonna Get It"

James Brown fans should also check out the articles written by Jim and Greg after his death.

Go to episode 57

Anti-Love Songs

With the ghost of St. Valentine looming over us all, this week's show is dedicated to those music fans for whom "Love Stinks." Jim and Greg discuss their favorite anti-love songs and hear some listeners' picks. Here are some songs to get you out of the mood for Valentine's Day.

Go to episode 11

Songs About Time

Ready to rock around the clock? This week, Jim and Greg play their favorite Songs About Time.

Go to episode 537