Results for West Coast

interviews

Jeff Chang

Jeff Chang, author of Can‘t Stop, Won’t Stop: A History of the Hip Hop Generation, joins Jim and Greg in the studio this week. Jeff, who co-founded the Quannum Label in San Francisco, was on the show previously when his book first came out, and he and our hosts engaged in a discussion of hip-hop's history. Now that Jeff's book has come out on paperback, Jim and Greg welcome him back to the show to discuss where hip-hop is today and where it is going. In order to get a sense of hip-hop's diverse makeup, the three music journalists decide to embark on a geographical tour of the genre, beginning with Chicago and working their way through the United States, and even the U.K.

Go to episode 15
reviews
Doctor's AdvocateThe Documentary available on iTunes

The Game The Documentary

Another news-making release is West Coast rapper The Game's sophomore album, Doctor's Advocate. The“Doctor”referred to is none other than hip-hop producer Dr. Dre, who served as a mentor to The Game on his debut album, The Documentary. Though Dre did not work on this second release, he is certainly on The Game's mind. After engaging in some sibling rivalry with fellow Dre protégé 50 Cent, The Game was dropped by Daddy Dre and left to work with new producers like Scott Storch and Will.i.Am. Jim actually enjoyed the production on Doctor's Advocate, and for that reason alone gives the album a Burn It. For Greg, though, it's the lyrical content that he finds most fascinating… even troubling. The Game appears to have some major emotional issues tied to his relationship with Dr. Dre, and has written some of the saddest gangsta rap lyrics Greg has heard in a long time. He recommends listeners sample some of the bizarre antics on Doctor's Advocate and Burn It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 51
Anderson

Anderson .Paak Oxnard

Singer, rapper, and drummer Anderson .Paak stole the hearts of critics and fans alike with his debut solo album, Malibu, in 2016. But, Greg argues that his half dozen features on Dr. Dre's 2015 album Compton initially put .Paak on the map for many listeners. Dr. Dre returns the favor here, producing Oxnard: Anderson's ode to his hometown of Oxnard, California. Both Greg and Jim agree that the production shines here, and Jim is happy that the sound returns to the groovy, old-school roots of West Coast G-Funk. He thinks the album has a "wonderful, sunny vibe"; but, Oxnard is ulimately“a letdown.”According to Jim, tracks like "6 Summers" sum up“everything that's wrong with the record.”He laments that lyrically, .Paak has“nothing to say”and can‘t decide whether he wants to be a“mack daddy”or“woke.”Greg complicates that idea, noting that the conflictedness of the album reflects .Paak’s upbringing: he was raised in church in a community surrounded by a darker street element. They both agree that the record loses steam by the end, and that it's propped up by big-name cameos from rappers like Kendrick Lamar and Q-Tip. Greg adds that .Paak is a better artist than that and should be making records that don't need those kind of crutches."

JimGreg
Go to episode 679
Into the Wild (Music from the Motion Picture)Into the Wild available on iTunes

Eddie Vedder Into the Wild

After 17 years fronting Pearl Jam, Eddie Vedder has released his first solo album, Into the Wild. The album provides the soundtrack to Sean Penn's new movie based on Jon Krakauer's 1991 book of the same name. It's the story of an existentialist kid who leaves civilization to go live in the wild. Jim and Greg can understand why this kind of story appealed to Vedder, who fled the Chicago suburbs for the West Coast. The songs on this record are very stripped down and showcase Vedder's strong baritone. Both critics love the way the record sounds and love the cover of Indio's "Hard Sun." Where they take issue with Vedder is with the lyricism. It doesn't take long for the pseudo-new-age-quasi-mystical poetry to get old, and therefore, Into the Wild only get two Try Its.

JimGreg
Go to episode 95
I Love You, HoneybearI Love You, Honeybear available on iTunes

Father John Misty I Love You, Honeybear

Like Phil Collins and Dave Grohl before him, Josh Tillman started a drummer for the indie band Fleet Foxes. In 2011 he went on a mystical, west-coast odyssey (drugs were involved) and returned with a new solo artist persona named Father John Misty. In his latest album I Love You, Honeybear, Misty chronicles falling in love with his wife with some unconventional love songs. Greg argues that it's not easy to write love songs that don't sound sticky, and commends Misty on the humor in his lyrics. But, he wishes the record was more musically flamboyant and gives it a Try It. To say Jim disliked this album is putting it mildly. He compares the listening experience to having an allergic reaction to bee stings. He doesn‘t hear the humor in Misty’s lyrics, but rather something more misogynistic. So he says Trash It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 481
vince

Vince Staples FM!

Earlier this month, rapper Vince Staples suprise dropped his third album, FM! On this record, he combines catchy summer beats with devastating lyrics about violence, drugs and problems in his hometown of Long Beach, California. Jim thinks FM! is Staples's best work yet. Noting that the album is a tight 22 minutes, he believes his balance of cutting lyrics and party grooves puts him on par with the likes of Kendrick Lamar. Greg thinks Staples artfully blends the west coast, g-funk style with lyrics about the cycle of violence and suffering in black communities to great effect. He believes that Staples has brought something different to the table with each record, and thinks FM! is the perfect balance of introspection and celebration.

JimGreg
Go to episode 676
dijs

Greg

“Thin Line”Jurassic 5

While on a recent nostalgia trip through late 90's, early 2000's hip-hop, Greg spent some time on the West Coast, which at that time was experiencing an underground hip-hop renaissance led up by the likes of DJ Shadow, Lyrics Born and Jurassic 5. Greg especially loves L.A.'s Jurassic 5, as it was the antithesis to the better-known, yet simplistic, gangster rap coming out of the city. Throughout the group's four album run, its four MCs and one DJ (sometimes two) exercised a consistently complex musicality and often employed narrative lyrics that were at their most effective on a track like, "Thin Line." This thoughtful song about the pitfalls of a man-woman friendship turning into something more comes off the group's third album, Power in Numbers, and is Greg's Desert Island Jukebox pick of the week.

Go to episode 469

Greg

“Unsung”Helmet

Greg celebrates the 20th anniversary of Meantime by Helmet during his turn at the Desert Island Jukebox. It's an album many people don‘t consider much anymore, but it’s one of his favorites from that era. While we often think about grunge and punk coming from the West Coast in the 1990's, Helmet reflects a sharper, harder-edged East Coast sound. And like many '80s and '90s acts, they too were swept away by big labels. But, with their major debut Meantime, they didn't compromise one iota. So Happy Anniversary Helmet fans! We offer you "Unsung."

Go to episode 326
news

Music News

The biopic film Straight Outta Compton debuted this past weekend to a monster box office earning over $56 million. The movie tells the story of the group N.W.A. and how they created the blue print for west coastand gangster rap in the '80s and early '90s. Jim recently saw the film and thought more about the biopic genre in general. He thought that this was a VH1-type film that largely glossed over many of the important truths of the band's history, including Dr. Dre's misogyny in both his lyrics and his actions. Greg agrees that the story of Dee Barnes, a female journalist covering N.W.A who was physically assaulted by Dre, was excluded from the film. Jim ultimately thinks the biopic doesn't work as journalism or biography, but instead acts as a missed opportunity to tell the whole truth of the story.

Two celebrated '70s producers passed away this week: Bob Johnston, longtime Bob Dylan producer, and Billy Sherrill, creator of the countrypolitan genre and producer of George Jones and Tammy Wynette. As an in-house producer for Columbia Records, Johnston produced some of Dylan's most notable albums, including Blonde on Blonde and Nashville Skyline. Johnston also served as the producer for Johnny Cash's At Folsom Prison, which only came about after Johnston's persistent efforts. With a similar determination, Sherrill ignited the careers of country artists like Jones and Wynette with hit songs "He Stopped Loving Her Today" and "Stand By Your Man." However, Greg chooses to honor Sherrill by playing The Staple Singers' "Why Am I Treated So Bad," a track that he produced before entering the country music scene. Sherrill produced songs for early R&B artists when no other producer would, earning him tremendous respect.

Go to episode 508

Music News

Former Death Row Records mogul Suge Knight is facing life in prison. He was arrested for murder and other charges in connection with a hit-and-run incident that left a man dead and another in critical condition. It's a Phil Spector-like fall from grace from someone who practically defined West Coast hip-hop in his heyday.

There were quite a few developments this week in the world of digital streaming. SoundExchange reported that it paid out $773 million in royalties in 2014 for digital performances. This suggests that streaming services and satellite radio may be closing in on old-fashioned terrestrial radio. Even Jay Z wants in on the action: he's reportedly bidding on the Swedish streaming company Aspiro. Meanwhile, Spotify has put the brakes on its planned expansion into Russia as the ruble tumbles and rumors spread that President Vladimir Putin is clamping down on media and social networking sites.

Go to episode 480

Music News

PFSloan P.F. Sloan, singer and songwriter responsible for the classic 1960s protest anthem "Eve of Destruction," died November 15th at his home in Los Angeles. He was 70 years old. Sloan grew up in New York and moved to Hollywood as a teen. At 13, he sold his first song and soon became one of the many prominent West Coast writers of the 1960s. Sloan wrote for such musical giants as The Turtles, Herman's Hermits, Fifth Dimension, The Searchers, and Johnny Rivers, whose hit, "Secret Agent Man," was penned by Sloan.

The world of music lost another figure as former Motörhead drummer Phil“Philthy Animal”Taylor died November 11th at age 61. Taylor was known for executing double-bass drum tracks with“superhuman speed,”and in so doing he helped set the template for the thrash metal sound. Taylor joined Motörhead shortly after it was formed in 1975, replacing the original drummer. He played with the band from 1975 to 1984, then again for five years beginning in 1987. He drummed on such hits as "Overkill" and "Ace of Spades."

Go to episode 521