Heat Rocks

Hosted by Oliver Wang and Morgan Rhodes, every episode of Heat Rocks invites a special guest to talk about a heat rock - a hot album, a scorching record. These are in-depth conversations about the albums that shape our lives.

Our guests include musicians, writers, and scholars and though we don't exclusively focus on any one genre, expect to hear about albums from the worlds of soul, hip-hop, funk, jazz, Latin and more.

New episodes every Tuesday on Apple Podcasts or whatever you get your podcasts.

Subscribe to our website updates for exclusive bonus content (including extra interview segments, mini-episodes, etc.)

Meanwhile, you can also follow us at any of the following:

Bonus Beats for EP8: Ernest Hardy on Sade's "Love Deluxe"

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Our conversation with Ernest Hardy about Sade's "Love Deluxe" was fantastic but it did run just a bit long so we sliced off this bit, a tangent partially about Sade's popularity amongst house DJs/producers.

Listen here

Heat Rocks, EP 8: Ernest Hardy on Sade's "Love Deluxe" (1992)

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Show: 
Heat Rocks
Guests: 
Ernest Hardy

The album: Sade: Love Deluxe (Epic., 1992)

This week, we are joined by cultural critic Ernest Hardy. Oliver first got to know Ernest through his remarkable writing in the LA Weekly and other outlets, some of which has been compiled into his Blood Beats Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 collections. For this episode, he chose Sade's Love Deluxe, which came out 25 years ago this fall. Ernest's deep love and appreciation for Sade was readily apparent to both Morgan and Oliver and it produced what we think is one of the most insightful episodes we've taped thus yet. We really loved this episode, we hope you do too.

More on Sade and Love Deluxe:

More on Ernest Hardy:

Show Tracklisting:

  • Sade: No Ordinary Love
  • Massive Attack: Blue Lines
  • Smith and Mighty: Too Late
  • Sade: King of Sorrow
  • Sade: Pearls
  • Funk Brothers: Since I Lost You (Instrumental)
  • Sade: Cherish the Day
  • Sade: Feel No Pain
  • Sade: When Am I Going to Make a Living
  • Sade: Clean Heart
  • Sade: Pearls (Live, Hollywood Bowl)
    Sade: Bulletproof Soul
  • Sade: Somewhere In My Sadness
  • Sade: Kiss of Life

(Also, this episode was edited by co-host Oliver Wang!)
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Heat Rocks, EP 7: Anil Dash on Prince's "1999" (1982)

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Show: 
Heat Rocks
Guests: 
Anil Dash

The album: Prince: 1999 (Warner Bros., 1982)

This week, we are joined by Anil Dash, the tech entrepreneur and activist whose love for The Purple One is legendary. He takes us into the Heat Rocks deep dive for Prince's 1999, the album that marked his new wave turn. All three of us share tales of our older family members being scandalized by the sexy-sexiness on the album. Mmmmmm...spicy. 

More on Prince and 1999:

More on Anil Dash:

Show Tracklisting:

  • Prince: 1999 "1999"
  • Prince: 1999 "Delirious"
  • Prince: 1999 "D.M.S.R."
  • Michael Jackson Thriller "Thriller"
  • Prince: 1999 "Little Red Corvette"
  • Prince: 1999 "Lady Cab Driver"
  • Prince: 1999 "Something in the Water"
  • Prince: 1999 "Free"
  • Prince: 1999 "All The Critics Love U in New York"

If you're not already subscribed to Heat Rocks in Apple Podcasts, do it here!

Heat Rocks, EP 6: Ill Camille on Common's "Like Water For Chocolate" (2000)

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Show: 
Heat Rocks
Guests: 
Ill Camille

The album: Common: Like Water For Chocolate (MCA, 2000)

This week, we are joined by Los Angeles rapper, Ill Camille. She picked Common's Like Water For Chocolate from 2000, a moment that marked the Chicago's turn towards becoming a hip-hop elder statesman, backed by the production might of the Soulquarians crew. Camille's love for the album runs deep and during the course of our taping, she'd bust out Common's rhymes, line for line.

More on Common and Like Water For Chocolate:

More on Ill Camille:

Show Tracklisting:

  • Common: Like Water For Chocolate "6th Sense (Feat. Bilal)"
  • Ill Camille Heirloom "Black Gold"
  • Common: Like Water For Chocolate "Nag Champa (Afrodisiac for the World)"
  • Common: Like Water For Chocolate "Geto Heaven"
  • Common: Like Water For Chocolate "A Song For Assata (Feat. Cee-Lo Green)"
  • Common: Like Water For Chocolate "Funky For You (Feat. Bilal & Jill Scott)"
  • Common: Like Water For Chocolate "The Light"
  • Common: Like Water For Chocolate "Thelonius (Feat. Slum Village)"
  • Georgia Ann Muldrow: "Untitled/Fantastic Remix"
  • Common: Like Water For Chocolate "Dooinit"
  • Common: Like Water For Chocolate "Time Travelin (A Tribute to Fela)"

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Heat Rocks Live Taping with B.Slade, 11/11/17 in downtown L.A.

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Date: 
11/11/2017 - 16:00 - 18:00
Show: 
City: 
Los Angeles
Venue Name: 
Resident DTLA (428 S. Hewitt St., Arts District, Los Angeles)

Heat Rocks Live Show/Launch Party with B.Slade, talking about Janet Jackson's Rhythm Nation 1814

We wanted to wait a month or so before throwing our launch party and we're teaming up with the good folks at Voyager Institute for the occasion. We will taping, live, an episode of the show, featuring local Los Angeles singer/songwriter B.Slade and for his heat rock choice, he wanted us to get into Janet Jackson's hit 1989 album, Rhythm Nation 1814. 

Voyager Institute's full slate begins at 4pm with our live show starting around 5pm on Saturday, November 11th.

The venue is: Resident DTLA located in the Arts District. The event is free (but 21-and-over) and RSVPs are encouraged!

For those who can't make the taping, fear not: it will be aired at a later date.

Heat Rocks, EP 5: Dam-Funk on Change's "Miracles" (1982)

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Show: 
Heat Rocks
Guests: 
Dam-Funk

The album: Change: Miracles (Atlantic, 1981)

This week, we are joined by Dam-Funk, Stones Throw recording artist, resident DJ for the legendary Funkmosphere parties and all-around apostle of the boogie. He was one of the very first artists we invited to tape Heat Rocks, back in its pilot stage, and we're very pleased to finally shared the episode in which he took us on a deep trip into Change's Miracles.

Along the way, we talked about the post-disco, Chic-era of funk and R&B, how Italian and New York musical communities collided on this album, and how a young kid, growing up in Pasadena, would drive up to Mt. Wilson, bumping this on cassette.

More on Change and Miracles:

More on Dam-Funk:

Show Tracklisting:

  • Change: Miracles "Paradise"
  • Dam-Funk: Invite The Lights "Just Ease Your Mind From All Negativity (Feat. Snoop Dogg and Joi Gilliam)"
  • Parliament: Funkentelechy Vs. the Placebo Syndrome "Flash Light"
  • The Bar-Kays: Money Talks "Holy Ghost"
  • Mtune: Juicy Fruit "Juicy Fruit"
  • Chic: Risqué "Good Times"
  • Change: Miracles "Heaven In My Life"
  • Nite Funk: Nite-Funk "Let Me Be ME"
  • Change: Miracles "Miracles"
  • Change: Miracles "Hold Tight"
  • Dam-Funk: A Beautiful Day "A Beautiful Day"
  • Dam-Funk: Adolescent Funk "When I'm With You I Think Of Her"
  • Change: Miracles "On Top"

If you're not already subscribed to Heat Rocks in Apple Podcasts, do it here!

Bonus Beats from the Shea Serrano/DMX Episode (#4)

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Towards the end of our taping with Shea for episode #4, he turned the tables on us and asked Morgan and I a question about our favorite rappers. It didn't quite fit into the show as a whole but it was a cool exchange so we saved it for you all as a bonus beats segment.

Heat Rocks, EP4: Shea Serrano on DMX's "It's Dark and Hell Is Hot" (1998)

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Show: 
Heat Rocks
Guests: 
Shea Serrano

The album: DMX: It's Dark and Hell Is Hot (Def Jam, 1998)

This week, we are joined by Shea Serrano, contributor at TheRinger.com, author of both The Rap Yearbook and the brand new Basketball (And Other Things). For his heat rock, he choose DMX's smash debut LP, It's Dark and Hell Is Hot. *woof*

During our conversation, we learned how it was Shea's grandmother, of all people, who introduced him to DMX and how that album became the formative soundtrack for him as a teenager. Shea drops wisdom nuggets on the nature of pain in DMX's persona and how this album marked a repudiation of the direction hip-hop was headed in during the jiggy era.

More on DMX and It's Dark and Hell Is Hot:

More on Shea Serrano:

Show Tracklisting:

  • DMX: "Get At Me Dog" It's Dark and Hell Is Hot
  • Mase: "Feel So Good" Money Talks
  • DMX: "Fucking With My Dogs" It's Dark and Hell Is Hot
  • DMX: "Catching The Same Hell"
  • DMX: "Look Thru My Eyes" It's Dark and Hell Is Hot
  • DMX: "Ruff Ryders Anthem" It's Dark and Hell Is Hot
  • DMX: "Prayer" It's Dark and Hell Is Hot
  • DMX Feat. Eve "Dog Match" Let There Be Eve...Ruff Ryders First Lady
  • DMX "Crime Story" It's Dark and Hell Is Hot
  • DMX "For My Dogs" It's Dark and Hell Is Hot
  • 50 Cent "Wanksta"
  • Mase "24 Hours To Live" Harlem World
  • DMX "How's It Goin Down" It's Dark and Hell Is Hot

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11-2-17 Update!

In our episode, I (Oliver) credited the album for helping introduce Swizz Beats to the wider world. That's true insofar as "The Ruff Ryders Anthem" was one of Swizz's first big hits. However, it's the only song on the entire album that Swizz worked on. Most of the album was produced by Dame Grease and P.K. and in my haste, I didn't do my proper discographic research to give credit where it was properly due.

Heat Rocks, EP3: Ann Powers on Madonna's "Like a Prayer" (1989)

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Show: 
Heat Rocks
Guests: 
Ann Powers

The album: Madonna: Like a Prayer (Sire, 1989)

This week, Morgan and Oliver are joined by Ann Powers of NPR Music and author of the new book, Good Booty: Love and Sex, Black and White, Body and Soul in American Music. Together, the three dug into Like a Prayer, Madonna's critical breakout album form 1989. As Ann lays out, Madonna had already established herself as an MTV-era mega-star with her previous albums but Like a Prayer, with its then-controversial sexual politics and surprising personal candor, marked a new level of artistic ambition.

More on Madonna and Like a Prayer

More on Ann Powers:

Tracklisting:

  • Madonna: "Like A Prayer" Like A Prayer
  • Madonna: "Like A Virgin" Like A Virgin
  • Madonna: "Till Death Do Us Part" Like A Prayer
  • Madonna: "Express Yourself" Like A Prayer
  • Madonna: "Act Of Contrition" Like A Prayer
  • Madonna: "Love Song" Like A Prayer
  • Prince: "Computer Blue" Purple Rain
  • Madonna: "Cherish" Like A Prayer
  • Madonna: "Dear Jessie" Like A Prayer
  • Madonna: "Promise To Try" Like A Prayer
  • Madonna: "Keep It Together" Like A Prayer

If you're not already subscribed to Heat Rocks in Apple Podcasts, do it here!

Heat Rocks, EP 2: Phonte on Intro's "Intro" (1993)

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Show: 
Heat Rocks
Guests: 
Phonte

The album: Intro: Intro (Atlantic, 1993)

This week rapper, producer, and songwriter Phonte (Foreign Exchange, Little Brother) joins Oliver and Morgan to talk about R&B group Intro's 1993 self-titled debut album. The release was part of the changing tide of R&B music, when slow jams were giving way to more uptempo hits and singers were exchanging suits for Timbs and jeans.

Phonte shares about what Intro's brand of new jack swing meant to him as a teenager learning about life in Greensboro, North Carolina. Don't get him wrong: he was a hardcore hip-hop head, but he grew up both in an R&B household and in the church where singing was a big part of his musical formation. Phonte breaks down the group's influence on his understanding of songwriting, lyrics, and the balance between uptempo and down-tempo songs. He also discusses the album's mature themes, crediting them for helping a young brother's macking game.

More on Intro

More on Phonte:

Tracklisting:

  • Intro: Love Thang
  • Intro: Let Me Be The One
  • Jodeci: Forever My Lady
  • Brick: Dazz (1976)
  • Heavy D & The Boyz: Mr. Big Stuff
  • Jade: Don't Walk Away (1992)
  • A Tribe Called Quest: Award Tour
  • Mary J. Blige - You Don't Have To Worry
  • Intro: Come Inside
  • Intro: Why Don't You Love Me?
  • Intro: Ribbon in the Sky
  • Intro: One of a Kind Love
  • Faith Evans: Reasons
  • Intro: Ecstasy of Love
  • Intro: So Many Reasons
  • Intro: Don't Leave Me
  • Intro: It's All About You
  • Foreign Exchange: If She Breaks Your Heart (feat. Yahzarah)

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