Heat Rocks

EP29: Nite Jewel on Kraftwerk's "Computer World" (1981)

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Show: 
Heat Rocks
Guests: 
Nite Jewel

The album: Kraftwerk: Computer World (1981)

When we invited L.A.'s own Nite Jewel to join us, it probably shouldn't have been a surprise that she picked Kraftwerk's Computer World; after all, she's toured the world performing the albumIn sitting down with us, NJ (aka Ramona Gonzalez) broke down how she first became obsessed with the album, walking the streets of Berkeley, thinking about German philosophy (no, really!) and why the LP is such a masterpiece of fusing a variety of musical elements all colliding in the early 1980s.

More on Computer World

More on Nite Jewel

Show Tracklisting (all songs from Computer World unless indicated otherwise):

  • ”Computer Love”
  • Nite Jewel: Real High “2 Good 2 Be True”
  • Roger Troutman: The New Zapp IV U “Computer Love”
  • ”The Dance”
  • Derrick May: “The Dance”
  • Moodyman: Forevernevermore “(logo)”
  • The Egyptian Lover: Electro Pharaoh “Electro Pharaoh“
  • 20 Fingers: 20 Fingers “Short Dick Man”
  • Afro-Rican: “Give It All You Got”
  • ”It’s More Fun To Compute”
  • ”Numbers”
  • ”Artificial Intelligence”
  • ”Home Computer”
  • ”Pocket Calculator”

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EP28: Brother Ali on Stevie Wonder's "Songs in the Key of Life"

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Show: 
Heat Rocks
Guests: 
Brother Ali

The album: Stevie Wonder: Songs in the Key of Life (1976)

As part of the two week MaxFun Drive, we wanted to save two of our best shows to share with you. This first week, it's rapper Brother Ali, a long time MaxFun favorite, and he picked one of the greatest albums of all time: Stevie Wonder's majestic Songs in the Key of Life, recorded when the artist was still in his 20s(!).
Brother Ali, of course, has his own string of modern classics, including Shadows on the Sun (2003), The Undisputed Truth (2007) and most recently, last year's All the Beauty In This Whole Life. In choosing Stevie's masterpiece, Brother Ali took us back to his childhood, growing up with listening to Stevie in the house, and then later, as a teenager, buying Stevie albums to bring home and study. During our conversation with him, we got into the musical, social and cultural threads that Songs In the Key of Life  has helped unwind over the years.
More on Songs In the Key of Life

More on Brother Ali

Show Tracklist (all songs fromSongs in the Key of Life unless indicated otherwise):

  • ”Isn’t She Lovely”
  • Brother Ali: All The Beauty In This Whole Life “Own Light (What Hearts are For)”
  • ”Summer Soft”
  • ”I Wish”
  • ”Black Man”
  • ”Pastime Paradise”
  • ”Village Ghettholand”
  • ”Love Is In Need of Love Today”
  • ”Sir Duke”
  • ”Knocks Me Off My Feet”
  • ”Saturn”
  • ”Another Star”
  • ”As”
  • George Michael:  Ladies & Gentlemen: The Best of George Michael “As Feat Mary J. Blidge”
  • Coolio: Gangsta’s Paradise “Dangerous Minds”
  • Jay-Z: 4:44 “Smile”
  • ”Isn’t She Lovely”

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

EP27: P.J. Morton on Brandy's "Full Moon"

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Show: 
Heat Rocks
Guests: 
P.J. Morton

The album: Brandy's Full Moon (2002)

Grammy winning singer/songwriter and producer PJ Morton knows production. A keyboardist and vocalist for Maroon 5, PJ Morton also knows lyrics. And vocals. PJ Morton joined us to share what he knows about Brandy's 2002 Full Moon and why it is for him, a certifiable heat rock.

We talked about the brilliance of producer Rodney Jerkins and what he created on this project, Brandy's prodigious talent as a child actress and singer, the evolution of her voice over time and the respect she rightfully deserves and has earned as a premiere vocalist.
PJ Morton, knows a good album when he hears one.  Check out this week's episode to find out more and also check out Gumbo Unplugged, his latest album.

More on Full Moon

More on P.J. Morton

Show Tracklist (all songs from Full Moon unless indicated otherwise):

  • “Full Moon”
  • PJ Morton: Emotions “How We Were (Remix)”
  • PJ Morton: Gumbo “Religion”
  • Ashanti: Ashanti “Foolish”
  • Truth Hurts: Truthfully Speaking “Addictive”
  • Usher: 8701 “U Don’t Have To Call”
  • Glenn Lewis: World Outside My Window “Don’t You Forget It”
  • Amerie: All I Have “Why Don’t We Fall In Love”
  • Kim Burrell: Everlasting Life “I’ll Keep Holding On”
  • Brandy: Brandy “Brokenhearted”
  • Brandy: Never Say Never “Top of the World Feat. Mase”
  • “It’s Not Worth It”
  • “What About Us”
  • Aaliyah: One In A Million “One In A Million”
  • “He Is”
  • “When You Touch Me”
  • “What About Us”
  • “Die Without You Feat. Ray-J”
  • PM Dawn: Boomerang “Die Without You”
  • “It’s Not Worth It”
  • “Full Moon”
  • “Like This”
  • SWV: It’s About Time “It’s About Time”

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

EP26: Jack Davey on Digable Planets' "Reachin'"

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Show: 
Heat Rocks
Guests: 
Jack Davey

The album: Digable Planets: Reachin' (1993)

Miss Jack Davey's contribution to LA's alternative soul scene began over a decade ago with her work as one half of the group J*Davey. Their debut project, "The Beauty In Distortion" a mix of punk, funk, synth and soul, was a must have for tastemakers and made a splash both in Los Angeles and around the world. When she's not writing songs and producing, she can be found at a myriad of cool spots around the city, spreading the good news of good music as a DJ and selector.
Davey wanted to get into Digable Planets' debut album, now celebrating its 25th anniversaryReachin' (a new refutation of time and space). Coming out at the height of hip-hop's love affair with jazz, Reachin' has been lauded as "an album about freedom—from convention, from oppression, from the limits imposed by the space-time continuum."
We had a chance to talk with Davey about Digable Planets' "Rebirth of Slick" and its cool factor, Brooklyn and its relationship to the album, Ladybug Mecca's butter voice, and what's it's like to be cool and not know it.

More on Reachin'

More on Jack Davey and J*Davey

Show Tracklisting (all songs from Reachin' unless indicated otherwise):

  • “Rebirth of Slick”
  • Georgia Anne Muldrow: Olesi: Fragments of an Earth “Wrong Way”
  • Sy Smith: The Syberspace Social “Aquarius Rising”
  • Sa-Ra: The Hollywood Recordings “Glorious”
  • Flying Lotus: Los Angeles “Roberta Flack (Feat Dolly)”
  • Dam-Funk: Toeachizown “Searching 4 Funk’s Future”
  • J*Davey: The Beauty in Distortion / The Land of the Lost “No More”
  • “La Femme Fetal”
  • Guru: Jazzmatazz “Loungin’”
  • Young Deciples: Road To Freedom “As We Come (To Be)”
  • “Jimmi Diggin Cats”
  • Digable Planets: Blowout Comb “Graffiti”
  • “Where I’m From”
  • Fugees: The Score “Fu-Gee-La”
  • UTD: Manifest Destiny “Manifest Destiny”
  • “What Cool Breezes Do”
  • “Last of the Spiddyocks”
  • “Swoon Units”
  • “Escapism (Getting Free)”
  • “Nickel Bags”
  • E-40: My Ghetto Report Card “Yay Area”
If you're not already subscribed to Heat Rocks in Apple Podcasts, do it here!

EP24: Brian "B+" Cross on Freestyle Fellowship's "To Whom It May Concern" (1991)

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Show: 
Heat Rocks
Guests: 
Brian Cross

The album: Freestyle Fellowship: To Whom It May Concern (1991)

Brian Cross, better known to most as B+, is one of the most important photographers of the hip-hop generation to ever emerge out of the West Coast. A transplant from Ireland to California, Cross began documenting the L.A. rap community throughout the late '80s and early '90s, producing one of the great books about the region's hip-hop scene, It's Not About a Salary. He's also a founding partner of the music/events organization Mochilla. Just this year, Cross finally published his first book reflecting on his career in photography, Ghost Notes: Music of the Unplayed. For his episode with Heat Rocks, Cross took us back to 1991 and the release of To Whom It May Concern, one of the greatest West Coast hip-hop albums of all time...and one that most people never got to hear back in the day because of its limited distribution at the time. Better late than never; don't keep sleeping.

More on Freestyle Fellowship and To Whom It May Concern

More on Brian "B+" Cross

Show Tracklisting (all songs from To Whom It May Concern unless indicated otherwise):

  • ”Here I Am”
  • Cypress Hill: Cypress Hill “How I could Just Kill A Man”
  • AMG: Bitch Betta Have My Money “Bitch Betta Have My Money”
  • ”Good Life”
  • ”7th Seal”
  • ”120 Seconds”
  • ”Jupiter’s Journey”
  • ”For No Reason”
  • ”We Are The Freestyle Fellowship”
  • ”Sunshine Men”
  • ”Dedications”
  • Ornette Coleman: This Is Our Music “Humpty Dumpty”
  • ”5 o’Clock Follies”
  • Gang Starr: No More Mr. Nice Guy ”Manifest”
  • Jon Hendricks: Freddie Freeloader “Freddie Freeloader”
  • ”Convolutions”
  • ”7th Seal”
  • ”Legal Alien”
  • ”We Will Not Tolerate”

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

Heat Rocks, EP 14: Bosco on Erykah Badu's "Mama's Gun"

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Show: 
Heat Rocks
Guests: 
Bosco

The album: Erykah Badu: Mama's Gun (Motown, 2000)

Bosco was an artist that Morgan knew, from jump, she wanted to get on the show. A Savannah native who's now an L.A. transplant (by way of Atlanta), Bosco's been steady climbing the ranks in the music game and has had a breakout year in 2017, especially wiht the release of her full-length, b.

For her pick, Bosco wanted to revisit one of the formative albums that shaped her imagination as a kid: Erykah Badu's sophomore album: Mama's Gun. If Baduizm helped put Badu on the map, Mama's Gun - which was produced by the same Soulquarian team also working on D'Angelo's Voodoo and Common's Like Water For Chocolate - firmly established her as the preeminent queen of what was then called neo-soul and these days seems better described as future soul. Our conversation touched on many aspects of how Badu and her sound landed on people's ears back at the turn of the century and how it continues to reverberate today.

More on Erykah Badu's Mama's Gun

More on Bosco

Show Tracklisting (all songs from Mama's Gun unless indicated otherwise):

  • ”Bag Lady”
  • Bosco: b. “Castles”
  • Erykah Badu: Baduizm “Apple Tree”
  • ”Other Side Of The Game”
  • The Roots: Things Fall Apart “You’ve Got Me ft. Erykah Badu and Jill Scott Live”
  • Res: How I Do “How I Do”
  • ”Cleva”
  • SZA: Ctrl “Normal Girl”
  • ”Time’s A Wastin”
  • ”…&On”
  • ”Didn’t Cha Know”
  • Bosco: b. “Free”
  • ”Penitentiary Philosophy”
  • ”A.D. 2000”
  • ”Orange Tree”
  • …&On
  • ”Kiss Me ON My Neck”
  • ”Booty”
  • ”Green Eyes”
  • ”In Love With You Ft. Stephen Marley”
  • Erykah Badu: “I’ve Been Going Through it All”
  • ”Orange Tree”
  • …&On
  • ”Kiss Me ON My Neck”
  • ”Booty”
  • ”Green Eyes”
  • ”In Love With You Ft. Stephen Marley”
  • Erykah Badu: Erykah Badu “Amerykahn Promise”

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

EP12: "The Prequel Episode" feat. Loren Kajikawa on Dr. Dre's "The Chronic"

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Show: 
Heat Rocks
Guests: 
Loren Kajikawa

The album: Dr. Dre: The Chronic (Interscope, 1992)

This is a special "prequel" episode, originally taped in December of 2016. Back then, Heat Rocks was just a mere glint in the eye Morgan and Oliver. All we had was a basic concept: how about a podcast devoted to doing deep dives into an album? We invited Univ. of Oregon musicologist Loren Kajikawa, author of Sounding Race In Rap Songsto help us tackle one of the most important albums of the last 25 years: Dr. Dre's The Chronic, which just so happens to celebrate its 25th release anniversary today (hence why we timed to put it out now).

For our listeners, you'll notice that while this episode shares some familiar aspects with our regular Heat Rocks shows, there are some differences. For one, we hadn't come up with our format yet, especially in having our guests pick a hot track, sleeper jam, etc. We had also toyed with a little "Context" section - complete with its own jingle! - that we eventually abandoned because it was superfluous (Oliver did have fun making the jingle though). But overall, we think you can easily see the seed of Heat Rocks even in this very early attempt. Hope you all enjoy it and we're so happy to finally share this, one year later.

More on Dr. Dre's The Chronic:

More on Loren Kajikawa

Show Tracklisting (all songs from The Chronic unless indicated otherwise):

  • Fuck Wit Dre Day
  • Nuthin' But a G Thang
  • Leon Haywood: I Want To Do Something Freaky To You
  • Public Enemy: Bring Da Noise
  • Above the Law: Livin' Like Hustlers
  • Let Me Ride
  • The Roach
  • NWA: Niggaz 4 Life (From Efil4zaggin)
  • Lyrical Gangbang (feat. Lady of Rage and Kurupt)
  • Stranded On Death Row (feat. Kurupt and Snoop Dogg)
  • Rat-A-Tat-Tat
  • Dr. Dre: Deep Cover (feat. Snoop Dogg, from Deep Cover OST)
  • Tupac and Snoop Dogg: Amerikaz Most Wanted
  • The Day the Niggaz Took Over
  • Bitches Ain't Shit

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

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, 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

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


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

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