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This week's recommendations come from BoingBoing founder and Gweek host Mark Frauenfelder. His first suggestion is Bunk, a game for iOS that makes good use of your vocabulary, your friends, and your ability to convincingly make stuff up. Looking for something to read? He also suggests Marijuanamerica, a new book about a man who tours the US to understand America's love/hate relationship with pot.
The rapper and producer Big Boi has sold over 50 million records as a solo artist and as half of the platinum-selling hip hop duo OutKast. The innovative Atlanta-based group broke out in the mid-1990s with "Rosa Parks" and "Elevators", then followed up with crossover pop hits like "The Way You Move" and "Bombs Over Baghdad".
OutKast found huge commercial success with an experimental brand of hip hop, eschewing old-school samples in favor of new sounds. Big Boi has been the more musically prolific member of the group. He's gone on to produce several solo albums and collaborate with artists across the music spectrum, from fellow ATL-based rapper Ludacris to funk-master George Clinton to the indie rock band Wavves. He's headed out on the nearly 50-city "Shoes for Running" tour to support his newest release, Vicious Lies & Dangerous Rumors.
Big Boi joins us to talk about the early days recording in an clay-walled basement, coming to terms with fame, and where to go musically when you've hit monumental commercial success.
MaximumFun's own McElroy Brothers provide advice to wayward individuals – some more wayward than others – on their weekly podcast, My Brother, My Brother and Me. This week, they're helping out Bullseye listeners with their pop-culture quandaries. For instance: are you allowed to like dubstep and be from the suburbs?
Catherine O'Hara's work embodies a particularly special brand of comic absurdity. She helped launch SCTV alongside other burgeoning comedy greats like John Candy and Eugene Levy, quit the show, but still moved on to star in blockbuster comedies. She became spiritually possessed in Beetlejuice, played a memorable, anxiety-ridden mother to Macaulay Culkin in Home Alone, and became a critical part of Christopher Guest's ensemble mockumentaries, like Waiting for Guffman and Best in Show.
More recently, she's been in HBO's critically-acclaimed biopic Temple Grandin and Tim Burton's Frankenweenie, and she'll star in a Fox comedy pilot later this year.
O'Hara talks to us about the difficulties of being a woman in the SCTV writers' room, creating memorable characters with her longtime friend and collaborator Eugene Levy, and her own secret comedic formula.
Oh, and in this outtake, hear about the best boyfriend ever: Dan Akroyd.
At first, Errol Morris's documentary Fast, Cheap & Out of Control looks like it's about four men and their professional occupations: a lion tamer, a topiarist, a roboticist, a scientist who studies naked mole rats. But the movie is about much more than just weird jobs.
Special thanks this week to FreeSound.org user juskiddink for the sound effects used during our BoatParty.biz promo.
Blogger Andrew Noz from Cocaine Blunts kicks off this week's show by recommending some recent favorites from the world of rap -- Kendrick Lamar's 'Cartoon & Cereal' featuring Gun Play, and 'Big Beast' by Killer Mike, featuring T.I. & Bun B. For more from Noz, check out CocaineBlunts.com, or read his cover story on Kendrick Lamar for The Fader.
Robert Glasper is a jazz pianist and the band leader of the Robert Glasper Experiment. Glasper's life in music began early, as his mother, a jazz and blues vocalist, would often bring her young son along to clubs with her, where he would watch from backstage. His music today blends classic jazz influences with soul music and modern hip-hop, forging something fresh and new out of a genre he says is in dire need of a shake-up. His new album, Black Radio, includes collaborations with hip-hop artists like Lupe Fiasco, Mos Def, as well as old friend and frequent collaborator Bilal.
Glasper sits down with us to reveal some of his more embarrassing musical influences, reflect on working alongside the late J. Dilla, and dish on what he feels is wrong with today's jazz culture.
Davy Rothbart is the editor of Found Magazine, an annual publication collecting lost letters, tests, essays and notes, all found and submitted by readers. Found put out its first issue nearly ten years ago, and Davy has been a regular guest on The Sound of Young America ever since. In his first appearance on Bullseye, Rothbart recounts the cryptic tales found within the pages of some of his favorite lost treasures, brought to him by readers on Found's national tours.
If you've found something special you'd like to send in, either digitally or by mail, visit www.FoundMagazine.com/submit.
Pendleton Ward is a writer and animator, and the creator of the Cartoon Network series Adventure Time. The show follows the adventures of Finn the boy and Jake the shape-shifting dog, through a magical post-apocalyptic Earth. It's very witty and full of humor, and is one of those rare programs that works just as well for kids as it does for adults. Pen is a born artist, who even during this interview can't help but capture his host on paper. He joins Jesse to discuss drawing as a comedic outlet, the delicate art of writing a quality fart joke, and the influence of Dungeons & Dragons on the fantastical quests of Adventure Time. The show just began its fourth season; you can catch new episodes Monday nights on Cartoon Network.
For this week's Outshot, Jesse delves into the often contrived world of quirky viral videos and finds something genuinely hilarious: the web series BESTIE x BESTIE, starring Jenny Slate and Gabe Liedman. You might know Slate as a former featured player on SNL or as the writer and voice of another internet smash, Marcel The Shell With Shoes On. In BESTIE x BESTIE she and best friend Liedman take turns trying desperately to remain serious while the other does their best to make them crack. The results are often as funny as anything on the internet.
Is there a web series that tickles your funny-bone like none other? Help it go viral by sharing it on the MaxFun Forum and picking your own Outshot.
Blogger Andrew Noz from Cocaine Blunts kicks off this week's show by recommending some recent favorites from the world of rap -- Stupid H** from Nicki Minaj, and Walking Lick by Gucci Mane & Waka Flocka Flame.
Jeffrey Tambor began his screen-acting career at the age of 35, though he'd been acting onstage since he was eight years old. A native of San Francisco, he started in television in the 1970s, and his career has followed a simple track since: he plays important authority figures (doctors, lawyers, judges) and self-important pseudo-authority figures; those have included the beloved characters Hank Kingsley on The Larry Sanders Show, and George Bluth, Sr. on Arrested Development.
Jeffrey sat down with Jesse back in 2009 to talk about how he got involved with both Arrested Development and Larry Sanders (or as his mother called it, The Hank Kingsley Show), the art of finding the serious side to comedic characters, and his teaching career. He brings his acting workshop to South by Southwest later this month. His new sitcom Bent premieres March 21st on NBC.
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What really went down when God asked Noah to build the ark? Emmy award-winning comedy writer David Javerbaum (formerly the Executive Producer of The Daily Show) is the unlikely co-writer of The Last Testament: A Memoir by God. Comedian Seth Morris acts as God’s loudspeaker to bring us this excerpt.
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Doug Jones is a film actor who got his first dramatic training as a mime. He's since gone on to star in a number of blockbuster films over the years, though you may not recognize his face. He is the man underneath the make-up in many of Guillermo Del Toro's films, playing numerous characters in the Hellboy series, and the title character in Pan's Labyrinth (as well as the horrific Pale Man). He's often recognized for his unique physique, including long spindly fingers. You might also know him as the Silver Surfer in the second Fantastic Four film.
Doug talks his unlikely career as a monster movie star, his dedication to the physicality of a role, as well as his new book that hearkens back to his original performances days as a mime, called Mime Very Own Book.
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For this week's Outshot, Jesse recommends the simplistic soul sound of Sam Cooke's "You Send Me," from the R&B singer's self-titled 1957 album.
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Andrew Noz of the hip hop blog Cocaine Blunts offers his some of his favorite rap tracks right now, Gas Station from SL Jones and Kissin Pink from A$AP Rocky.
Michael Rapaport (above right, with Q-Tip) has an extensive list of acting credits, from Woody Allen films to roles on Boston Public, Friends, and Prison Break. For his newest project, he began with a vision to profile his favorite hip-hop group, A Tribe Called Quest, and ended up documenting their deep-rooted friendships and conflicts along with the musical history of the group.
The movie is called Beats, Rhymes and Life, and features interviews with members Q-Tip, Phife Dawg, Ali Shaheed Mohammed and Jarobi White. Animated sequences of Tribe songs are interspersed with remarks from hip-hop producers, radio personalities and rappers, and give a portrait of the time as well as of the group itself. The film opens in NYC and LA on July 8th.
JESSE THORN: It's The Sound of Young America, I'm Jesse Thorn. My guest is Michael Rapaport. He is, of course, best known as an actor, having worked for some 20 odd years with legendary directors like Woody Allen and Spike Lee, and on numerous television programs, innumerable films, in audio, all over everywhere.
He's here today, though, for his directorial debut; a documentary called Beats, Rhymes, and Life: The Travels of A Tribe Called Quest. It's the story of one of hip hops most significant and storied groups, and I know one of the most significant to Rapaport specifically. It opens July 8th in New York and Los Angeles.
Michael, I want to ask you personally what A Tribe Called Quest meant to you in 1989, 90, when they came out and you were a very young man; you were at an impressionable age.
Cocaine Blunts blogger Noz is back to bring us some of his favorite tracks right now:
And two more that were cut for broadcast:
Prodigy (aka Albert Johnson) is a Grammy Award-winning rapper. He and his collaborator Havoc founded the seminal hip hop duo Mobb Deep. His new autobiography is My Infamous Life: The Autobiography of Mobb Deep's Prodigy.
JESSE THORN: It's The Sound of Young America, I'm Jesse Thorn. My guest, Prodigy, is one of the fathers of hardcore hip hop. As a teenager in the early 1990s, he and his partner Havoc, found an East Coast answer to the emerging West Coast gangster sound. As Mobb Deep, their tone was dark, eerie, and minimal; and their lyrics cold and brutal. Let's take a listen to Prodigy's opening verse from Shook Ones Part II, the apical single from the apical record, The Infamous.
Prodigy was recently released from three years in prison on gun charges, and he's just put out an autobiography called My Infamous Life and a new free digital record called The Ellsworth Bumpy Johnson EP.
Prodigy, welcome to The Sound of Young America, how are you?
PRODIGY: How you doing, man? Thank you, I'm doing good, I'm doing really good.
Das Racist is a Brooklyn-based hip hop trio known for tracks like "Combination Pizza Hut and Taco Bell" and "hahahaha jk?" They've referred to their particular approach to hip hop as "deconstructualist," combining humor, nonsequiturs, and culture theory. Their newest album, Relax, is due later this year. Victor Vazquez (aka Kool A.D.) and hype man Ashok Kondabolu (aka Dap) joined us in the studio.
JESSE THORN: It's The Sound of Young America, I'm Jesse Thorn. My guests, members of the hip hop group Das Racist, are a lot of different things. Heems, Kool AD and Dap are, in part, the heir to the playful smart identity politics of “Daisy Age”-era De La Soul. They're the men behind one of the most successful hip hop novelty records of the last couple of years, “Combination Pizza Hut and Taco Bell.” They were the only rappers in last year's Sundance Film Festival, at least that I'm aware of. They're MCs who drop social theorists' names casually into their lyrics, like no one in hip hop since Diggable Planets' second album, Blowout Comb. They're also three guys from Williamsburg, who apparently like to drink and smoke weed. Let's hear a little bit of “hahahaha jk?” from their most recent mix tape, Sit Down, Man.
Two of the three members of Das Racist, Kool AD and Dap join me on the show. Welcome, guys.
VICTOR VAZQUEZ AKA "KOOL A.D.": Hello.
ASHOK KONDABOLU AKA “DAP”: Hi.
Dan Charnas is a veteran of the hip hop business and one of a few early writers of hip hop journalism. His newest book is The Big Payback: The History of the Business of Hip Hop.
JESSE THORN: It’s The Sound of Young America, I’m Jesse Thorn. My guest on the program is Dan Charnas. He’s held basically every position there is to hold, outside of artist, in the world of hip hop; and has made the transition from a record company guy to writer. His new gargantuan book is, I think, one of the better books about hip hop I’ve ever read. It’s called the Big Payback: The History of the Business of Hip Hop. Dan Charnas, thanks for being on The Sound of Young America.
DAN CHARNAS: Thanks for having me.
JESSE THORN: The obvious question is: there are all these books of hip hop history, such as Jeff Chang’s Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop and Brian Coleman’s Check the Technique and a million others; why did you think it was important to write a book that was specifically about the business side of hip hop?
DAN CHARNAS: That’s a really good question. I want to note that Jeff Chang’s book Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop was really one of the big inspirations for writing this book, because what Jeff did was - - he really wrote the first linear history of the culture and more specifically of the generation. None of the great books of hip hop really talked about how the records were made; not in terms of how they were made in the studio, but how the artists got signed, how they got developed, how they got pushed out into the world. But then the larger question of how did this obscure street culture that nobody knew about from the streets of New York become, within 30 years, the world’s predominant pop culture and a multi-billion dollar business. You can’t tell that story, which is a great American story, without talking about the business people.
We continue our journey into The Sound of Young America's vast audio archive with this program from The Sound of Young America Classics.
Grammy-winning rapper Killer Mike is a native of Adamsville, Georgia, outside of Atlanta. Since debuting on the Outkast single "The Whole World" in 2001, he has emerged from the shadow of his legendary mentors, combining a ferocious delivery with lyrical density in a manner reminiscent of Ice Cube in his hey-day. He recently released "I Pledge Allegiance To The Grind," a two-CD "street album" with his crew, Grind Time Rap Gang.
Please note: we had a little phone trouble 2/3 of the way through and Mike had to go on speakerphone, apologies for any audio quality issues.
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