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Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Shamir & Pete Rock

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Pete Rock
Guests: 
Shamir

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Shamir: Adding Light to Darkness With His Music

Shamir is a musician who is really hard to pin down…literally. His countertenor voice adds a distinctive flair to his infectious, sometimes poignant dance music but it’s a quality that’s also led to confrontations with classmates who were unaware of his Taekwondo training.

With his debut LP, Ratchet, Shamir draws inspiration from his life in Las Vegas, a Vegas that has nothing to do with The Strip. Instead, it’s a different Vegas that includes tumbleweeds and the distinctive odor of a hog farm. It’s a life that touches on the passion of youth, but also explores the pain of age and loss.

As Shamir describes it, “I kind of decided to make my music more danceable and lighthearted to take away from the heaviness of the lyrics. Because why not, why does your music also have to be heavy if your lyrics are?”

Shamir joins us this week to share: how he has constructed a creative identity in a city known for producing more entertainers than artists; how his love for country music inspired him; and how his mother’s proclivity for earth magic isn't quite his thing.

Shamir's newest album is called Ratchet. He's embarking on a U.S. tour this fall. You can find more on his website.

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Photo: Larry Busacca/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

Hip Hop Producer Pete Rock on Finding & Shaping the Perfect Sample

The revolutionary hip hop producer Pete Rock grew up in a house full of records, mentally cataloging the songs that excited him. His parents listened to all kinds of music, from jazz to classical to funk. Years later, he would reach back into his brain and record collection to select and transform the perfect sample.

He started out as half of the hip-hop duo Pete Rock and CL Smooth, later going solo and collaborating with and producing for many of the biggest names in rap, from Nas to Kanye West.

Pete Rock joins us to talk about his earliest music memories, meeting James Brown as an elementary-schooler, and how he took a sample from an album called "The Honeysuckle Breeze" and used it to create a classic hip hop track.

Pete Rock's new album of instrumentals is Petestrumentals 2.

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The Outshot: Summertime Jams

Jesse counts down his top five Summertime jams.

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Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: RuPaul and Terry Crews

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
RuPaul
Guests: 
Terry Crews
Guests: 
My Brother, My Brother and Me
Guests: 
Carolyn Kellogg

New to Bullseye? Subscribe to our podcast in iTunes or with your favorite podcatcher to make sure you automatically get the newest episode every week.

And if you're looking for a particular segment to listen to or share, check us out on Soundcloud.


Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

RuPaul on the Many Shades of Drag

Before he was the world's most famous drag queen, RuPaul was just a kid growing up in San Diego, California. But he knew something was different about him. He noticed things that other people didn't. He found joy in the irreverence of characters like Bugs Bunny, and TV shows like Monty Python's Flying Circus. When he was still in his teens, he packed his bags and followed his sister to Atlanta. He attended performing arts high school, and a brief stint as a car salesman, he started performing with a couple of underground bands. They were searching for a way to be subversive, and decided to perform in drag. RuPaul found that something clicked -- both for himself, and for the audience.

He spent years performing and appearing on public access TV, but he became an international star with his 1992 hit single, "Supermodel".

One of his most recent projects is RuPaul's Drag Race, a reality competition series, featuring RuPaul as host and mentor to the contestants as they participate challenges in search for America's next drag superstar. Drag Race is now in its sixth season on LOGO TV.

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Carolyn Kellogg Recommends New Books: Cryonics and Gangsters

We're joined by Carolyn Kellogg, book critic for the Los Angeles Times, to talk about two new books that recently hit the shelves.

Her first recommendation is a memoir about a TV repairman's obsession with immortality that leads to his professional pursuit of cryonics -- the art of freezing people. It's called Freezing People Is (Not) Easy: My Adventures in Cryonics by Bob Nelson, Kenneth Bly and Sally Magana.

Her second recommendation is a twining novel about the legendary gangster Meyer Lansky and a murder investigation in Israel, called Jacket Copy.

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My Brother My Brother and Me Solve Your Cultural Quandaries

The hosts of the podcast My Brother, My Brother and Me won't hesitate to give their advice, though they don't always suggest you follow it.

Justin McElroy, Travis McElroy and Griffin McElroy stop by Bullseye to answer some of our listeners' cultural quandaries. Here are their takes on dealing with your parents' (terrible) TV recommendations, what it means to hog a game at a barcade, and how comedians should respond to hecklers in the crowd.

If you’ve still got questions that need answers, the McElroy brothers host a weekly advice show for the modern era called My Brother, My Brother, and Me. You can subscribe wherever you download podcasts, and send your queries to mbmbam@maximumfun.org.

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Brooklyn Nine-Nine's Terry Crews on Art, Athletics, and Comedy

Terry Crews has taken a pretty unconventional path. He played football in college, but he didn't go on scholarship, and joined the team as a walk on. He played in the NFL for years as a linebacker with the Rams and the Chargers, but when he was done, he didn't become a sports commentator.

Instead, Crews went back to one of his first loves -- the arts. And while he continues his devotion to his workout regimen, he now uses his physicality in his work as an actor. He's worked steadily in a string of movies like The Longest Yard and The Expendables, and adds a tough-but-caring element to his characters in TV shows like Everybody Hates Chris and Brooklyn Nine-Nine.

You can see him now as an essential part of Brooklyn Nine-Nine's ensemble as the police detective and family man, Sergeant Terry Jeffords. The show's finale airs tonight, Tuesday March 25th on FOX.

Crews is also the author of a new memoir out in May, called Manhood: How to Be a Better Man - or Just Live with One.

This week, Crews tells us about growing up in Flint, Michigan, discovering his love of both art and physical fitness, the difficulty of ending an NFL career, and the joys of working on Brooklyn Nine-Nine.

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The Outshot: Nas' Illmatic

Jesse shares the greatest hip-hop album ever recorded, Nas' Illmatic. A bold claim? Yes. A true claim? Also yes.

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