School's Out, as covered by two-time TSOYA guests Les Savy Fav, on a rented boat.
That's called SUMMER FUN, people. Get with it.
Michael Rapaport, this week's Sound of Young America guest, and Peanut Butter Wolf, legendary record collector and founder of Stones Throw records, team up to hit the aisles at Amoeba Records in LA. PBW is music supervisor for Rapaport's Tribe Called Quest doc.
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.
The musician and parodist Weird Al was on The Sound of Young America earlier this year, but the details of his new album were still under wraps. It was so top-secret, he couldn't even allude to it. We agreed to do the interview if we could do a follow up when Alpocalypse was released.
The caveat from their side -- that we come over to Al's house to record! So this time, we're at Al's to talk about the timing of parodies, getting artists' permission (including Lady Gaga), and where he stores all those Hawaiian shirts.
JESSE THORN: It's The Sound of Young America, I'm Jesse Thorn. We booked Weird Al Yankovic to appear on our show six or nine months ago, and it was a great pleasure to get to book him on our show. At the time he had a new children's book out, and he was putting the finishing touches on his new album. We asked if we could hear the album, and they said, no, absolutely not. Everything that “Weird Al” does is kept under lock and key until he decides to release it. He will not even allude to the new album in the conversation.
So this was the compromise that we came up with: we do our interview with Weird Al Yankovic; we talk about the children's book and his career and all of the amazing stuff I've always wanted to talk about “Weird Al” with; but, we would then do a followup interview where we would talk about his new record that we could put out now, when his new record is just about to hit stores. Their caveat was that I would have to do it at Weird Al's house, which is hardly a caveat; I would basically do anything, I would become a furniture mover so that I could visit Weird Al's house.
So before we go to my conversation with Weird Al in the Casa de Al, let's hear a song from his new album Alpocalypse. This is called TMZ, it's a parody of the hit Taylor Swift song “You Belong With Me.”
WEIRD AL YANKOVIC: Welcome Jesse, thanks for coming.
Rob Delaney joins Jesse and Jordan to discuss the new inner sanctum of MaxFun World HQ, the sick appeal of the Gathering of the Juggalos and more.
We're joined by Keith Phipps, the AV Club's editor and Scott Tobias, the AV Club's film editor to discuss picks in music and movies for April 2011. They discuss the film Meek's Cutoff, which follows a group on the Oregon Trail, and Certified Copy, a drama starring Juliette Binoche, both currently in theaters. On Blu-Ray, we have Dario Argento's horror film Inferno. Finally, Keith talks a little about the musician Kurt Vile's release, Smoke Ring for My Halo.
JESSE THORN: It's The Sound of Young America, I'm Jesse Thorn. Once a month or so we check in with our friends at the AV Club to help us separate the wheat from the chaff of the world of popular culture. This month we're joined by Keith Phipps, the AV Club's editor, and Scott Tobias, the film editor of the AV Club. Gentlemen, welcome back to The Sound of Young America.
SCOTT TOBIAS: Well hello.
KEITH PHIPPS: Thanks for having us.
This might be my favorite Bill Withers tune of all time, and this is an awesome arrangement. Don't miss our interview with Mr. Withers from last year, and check out the awesome documentaries Soul Power and Still Bill, both of which are stream-able on Netflix.
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.
Weird Al Yankovic is the undisputed king of parody music and the all-time bestselling accordionist. His new children's book is When I Grow Up. His new album is due this summer.
JESSE THORN: I’m tempted to say that my next guest needs no introduction, except that it occurs to me now that this is the radio and you can’t see him. He’s Weird Al Yankovic; probably the best song parodist of all time. He’s sold more than 12 million records, and now he has a brand new book for kids called When I Grow Up that was a New York Times best seller. His new record comes out in the summer, and it’s such an honor to have him on The Sound of Young America. Weird Al, welcome to the show.
WEIRD AL YANKOVIC: I appreciate that, thank you.
Our good friend Mr. Tom Scharpling, from Show Business, has created this delightful video for a little band from Canada you may have heard of. It features numerous Show Business personalities, including past Sound guests like Ted Leo, Julie Klausner, Wyatt Cenac and Todd Barry.
Enjoy it, America.