Who else used to be hip hop canon but isn't anymore because modern memory is stupid?
This is a good question. Obviously the canon is a completely abstract construct and I’m sure some of this shit could quickly be negated by a “but he’s huge in Germany!” or a “but they were trending on Twitter when the Unsung documentary aired!” but I don’t really care to split those hairs. So here are a bunch of once revered rap artists who seem like they don’t get nearly as much or enough love anymore:
Schoolly D - The guy invented gangster rap but now is mostly known for his contributions to a cartoon about a talking meatball, if at all. His first few records were absolutely otherworldly - reverb drenched unapologetic street shit that I think might appeal to people who dig those shitty Chief Keef records I just posted about. And then slowly over time he grew into making really thoughtful street shit which is precisely how it’s supposed to go down. Plus his artwork destroys all of the other artwork and he gives an awesome interview. Where to start: “PSK;” Schoolly DLP.
“Hodgman may be one of the funniest people alive right now, certainly he is the funniest writer. But what makes this podcast work so well is not his humor but his humanity. Like Dan Savage, he hides a great heart behind a somewhat eccentric exterior, and I always get a warm feeling when he listens to a sometimes silly dispute between lovers or parents and their children and mines what’s really going on — usually, it’s people trying, and maybe failing, to be good to each other. And then he helps them along.”—Peter Sagal on Judge John Hodgman. And he’s absolutely right.
Every once in a while, something ends up on the cutting room floor, but we can’t bear to leave it there. Here’s some bonus audio from our interview with legendary salsa bandleader Willie Colon. He’s talking about working with the “Queen of Salsa”, the Cuban singer and performer Celia Cruz.
Want to hear more? For more interviews about the best in pop culture, comedy, and recommendations every week, subscribe to our podcast in iTunes, with our RSS feed or search for “Bullseye with Jesse Thorn” in your favorite podcast app.
“Flight of the raptor,
With talons they grasp,
Or coiled and waiting,
The sting of the asp.”—I wrote this poem for jordanmorris and jessethorn. They host a great podcast called Jordan, Jesse, GO! (via yycjaron)
Advertising isn’t just the disruption of aesthetics, the insults to your intelligence and the interruption of your train of thought. At every company that sells ads, a significant portion of their engineering team spends their day tuning data mining, writing better code to collect all your personal data, upgrading the servers that hold all the data and making sure it’s all being logged and collated and sliced and packaged and shipped out… And at the end of the day the result of it all is a slightly different advertising banner in your browser or on your mobile screen.
Remember, when advertising is involved you the user are the product.
No matter how hard I try to have an upbeat attitude and enjoy life to it’s fullest, I can’t seem to make that feeling last for more than a few days. Maybe it’s just me being young and not understanding life yet. Any advice?
— Party Hard
Dear Party Hard,
It has nothing to do with you being young. No one really understands life. And often, the older someone gets, the less they understand and more they realize how little anyone understands.
We’re all basically awash in a sea of confusion, grasping at beliefs, concepts, and grids of meaning, hoping something will “once and for all” put an end to the confusion of being alive and give us an endless upbeat feeling. But the best we can hope to do is understand that we don’t understand and that we don’t need to feel “good” all the time.
In that way, you’re right on track! In addition, having brief moments of revelation and extreme inspiration are wonderful, but explosions are designed to be brief. You can’t really have a prolonged explosion—it’s meant to be a dramatic burst of energy. It’s part of the process of blowing your mind—you have a mental or spiritual explosion, and then it dies down so you can study it, appreciate it, and absorb it into your soul.
If you always felt on top of the world, then you would lose appreciation for the climb. Once it feels like we’re at the top, we realize there are a whole bunch more tops to get to. At first, it can be discouraging and even exhausting, but try and appreciate the moments of revelation and the moments of contemplation. Look forward to the next break through and just keep on going.
Life is full of contrast, and those dynamics make it more thrilling. Appreciate all the moments as much as you appreciate the upbeat ones, and realize they’re all part of your individual path. Besides, what’s a great life—or a great movie—without some ups and downs, challenges and victories, friends and foes? We don’t want an easy life, we want an incredible life, one worth living and re-living, watching and re-watching.
“Lincecum believes he will have a lot more success in 2014 if he keeps his mistake pitches down.”—SF Chronicle. And in related news: the Giants expect great success in games in which they score more runs than their opponents.
Our friends at Maximum Fun are running a Kickstarter campaign for a cool conference this fall in Los Angeles. Make Your Thing is a conference for independent creative people of every stripe. Learn something from the speakers, sell your wares at the bazaar, and party down with other folks on their creative grind.
Maybe you were raised on public radio or maybe you found it later in life. For me, growing up in a house with one small TV that got turned off right after Mr. Rogers but a radio in every room, public radio was as regular a part of life as breakfast or time-out. But whether you were indoctrinated as an infant or found NPR commuting to work, you’re on a public radio Tumblr, so you probably love it as much as I do. You might not look like the stereotypical public radio listener, and you may not even own an actual radio, but if you are reading this, I suspect that for you, like me, public radio is the most consistent source of information and entertainment in your life. I can’t imagine my life without it, especially now that I work in public radio, a literal dream come true (and I mean “literal” literally. Sometimes my dreams are narrated by Zoe Chace.). But I didn’t always work in a place where I get to talk about public radio all day, and before I started this job, I spent a lot of time annoying coworkers and friends with my constant chatter about the latest from public media—apparently not everyone wants to stand around the water cooler with someone who begins every conversation with, “Sooo did you hear this thing on NPR…?” But rather than catching up on The Bachelor instead of changing the conversation to Radiolab, I decided to change the people around me instead. I started a list of the shows that I think are most likely to make converts out of non-listeners, and that’s what this Tumblr is.
For the list below, we turned to the people behind the headphones—some of whom you’ve probably heard of—and what follows are the stories public radio reporters, hosts, and producers think are so good, so compelling, so likely to make you laugh or cry or both at once, that even your uncle who would rather hear an hour of static than a three-minute news update won’t be able to stop listening. Send this link to the non-listeners in your life, and when they start asking if you caught All Things Considered yesterday, don’t say “I told you so,” just nod and smile and be glad for great radio.
Radiolab: Lucy "A feat of production, storytelling, and wonder. Just thinking about the final turn is so affecting. As I type this, it’s making my chest hurt." —Ben Calhoun, Producer, This American Life
All Things Considered: Why Chaucer Said ‘Ax’ Instead Of ‘Ask,’ And Why Some Still Do “I get a huge kick out of Shereen Marisol Meraji’s work. It’s smart, it’s playful, it’s funny. In the piece, Shereen delves into a common stereotype of black vernacular: pronouncing the work ‘ask’ as ‘ax.’ She waded into sticky territory to dig into the history of this word and found that even Chaucer used ‘ax’ as ‘ask.’ But maybe the best part of the story is when Shereen gets Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele to riff off-the-cuff.” —Kat Chow, Digital Journalist, NPR’s Code Switch
This American Life: Book of Job “This is my favorite radio piece of all time (in fact, I just listened to it again last night as I was drifting off to sleep). It was the piece that made me want to do radio. Scott Carrier is pretty much the master, in my mind.” —Sean Cole, Independent Producer
Gwen Mascai: Ode to Marriage “I love this piece because it is simple. Direct writing, one piece of music, and one brilliant sound effect. Gwen seamlessly pulls off humor without sounding like she’s trying too hard.” —Hillary Frank, Host/Founder, The Longest Shortest Time
Fresh Air: Fresh Air Remembers Maurice Sendak “I used to do the web stuff at Fresh Air. I got to hear Terry interview Maurice live, which means before it was cut, and then my coworker Sam Briger made it into a magical piece of radio. I sat at my desk with my head down on my keyboard and cried. It makes you think about life and death and living—and dying—in a magnificent way.” —Melody Kramer, Digital Strategist, NPR
Kelly McEvers: Diary of a Bad Year “This piece by Kelly McEvers provides a deeper insight into the psychology of war reporting than I have ever heard before. It is thrilling, heart breaking and beautiful. Recommended listening for anyone who appreciates great radio, and required listening for any person who is planning to report in a conflict zone.” —Sarah Kramer, Producer, Radio Diaries
This American Life: Mapping “I love how simple this piece is. In simply drawing our attention to all the white noise—refrigerator hum, the computer drone, the faint buzz of lights—that invade our spaces, and pointing out that the tones or chords these appliances make might literally score our existence (either toward the minor, major, frightening), we get a changed world.” —Lulu Miller, Reporter/Producer, NPR Science Desk
David Isay: Ghetto Life 101 “This is old school public radio but the kind of public radio that revolutionized what we do. David Isay is the genius behind Ghetto Life 101. He handed microphones to two boys in Chicago’s roughest housing projects and asked them to record their lives and thoughts. The result is a masterpiece radio art. It will move you to change the way you think about the world and it is a template for so much of the best radio you hear day in day out.” —Guy Raz, Host, TED Radio Hour
Memory Palace: Dig Set Spike "The Memory Palace is something that could only exist in audio, and could only have come from public radio. It’s stories from history told in such a captivating manner that I can’t even describe it here, you just have to listen. This episode is about some Nazis in an American prison camp, and their perplexing plans to build themselves a volleyball court." —Jesse Thorn, Host, Bullseye
All Things Considered: Aid Begins To Work Its Way Into Haiti "Jason Beaubien’s reporting from anywhere is always awesome, but the time reporting on the earthquake in Haiti made him cry on air is legendary. What was supposed to be a big picture update for people back in the States became a much more intimate look at one child’s suffering—but it still conveyed so much. I also personally witnessed Jason bring his wife a pastry the other day, so I know his humanity is not an act." —Rachel Ward, Producer, Morning Edition
Many thanks to everyone who helped make this happen. Check back next Wednesday for the second installment of Listen Here: A Public Radio Playlist.