hip hop

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Antibalas, Beauty is Embarrassing, and Brent Weinbach

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Martin Perna
Guests: 
Jordan McLean
Guests: 
Wayne White
Guests: 
Neil Berkeley
Guests: 
Alex Zalben
Guests: 
Brian Heater


A panel from Gabrielle Bell's The Voyeurs

Comics with Alex Zalben and Brian Heater

Brian Heater and Alex Zalben return with more of their favorite comics. Brian recommends Gabrielle Bell’s collected diary comics in The Voyeurs. Alex Zalben suggests you check out The Manhattan Projects: Volume 1, which begs the question -- what if the creation of the atomic bomb was a cover for even more sinister and weird activities?

Brian Heater is the founder of indie comics site The Daily Cross Hatch and the new comics contributor at BoingBoing. Alex Zalben writes about comics for MTV Geek and hosts NYC’s Comic Book Club Live. He’s also currently Kickstarting a new mystery comic called Detective Honeybear.

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The Afrobeat Stylings of Antibalas with Martín Perna and Jordan McLean

The Nigerian band leader Fela Kuti had a vision for a new kind of music that would synthesise traditional African rhythms, highlife and pop music and American jazz and funk. He decided to sing in pidgin English, so the music could be understood and enjoyed throughout Africa. The music became known as afrobeat, and Fela is widely celebrated as a pioneer of the form.

Martín Perna and Jordan McLean continue in Fela’s tradition with their NYC-based afrobeat orchestra Antibalas. Perna founded the band in 1998 and was joined by lead trumpeter McLean and a host of other musicians to create a sound reminiscent of both Fela’s Africa 70 and Eddie Palmieri's salsa-fusion group Harlem River Drive.

Their new album is the self-titled release Antibalas.

Perna and McLean discuss the virtues of the bari sax, a pan-American sound, and the Broadway production of Fela!.

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Comedian Brent Weinbach Relays Some Acting Tips

Brent Weinbach does stand up comedy, but his past records have included lots of tracks recorded without an audience -- alone, in a studio. His particular brand of weird, brooding and often dark comedy earned him an Andy Kaufman Award just a few years ago.

His new album, Mostly Live, was recorded at the Upright Citizens Brigade in Los Angeles and has more audience interaction. In fact, he gave one lucky audience member a short impromptu acting lesson.

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Punk Rock Puppets, Southern Roots and Pee-wee with Wayne White and Neil Berkeley

Wayne White's name may not ring a bell with you, but his artwork likely would. You may have been of the age to regularly watch Pee-wee’s Playhouse on Saturday mornings in the late 1980s and early 90s, when he designed sets and puppets for Pee-wee’s amazing and kitschy playhouse. Or maybe you’ve seen the visually striking music videos he worked on for The Smashing Pumpkins and Peter Gabriel. Eschewing the idea that people should “do one thing, and do it well,” White has experimented throughout his career with animation, puppetry, set design and fine art.

Neil Berkeley befriended White when they worked together in design and wanted to showcase White's cultural impact. He’s made his directorial debut with a documentary about White’s life and artwork called Beauty is Embarrassing.

White and Berkeley talk to us about deconstructing puppetry, White’s Southern roots, and the backstage world of Pee-wee’s Playhouse.

Beauty is Embarrassing is in select theaters nationwide and rolling out throughout the fall; you can find a theater near you on the film’s site.

BONUS AUDIO: Hear a longer cut of this interview, with more talk about White’s childhood influences and puppetry inspiration HERE!


The Outshot: LiveLoveA$AP

Self-released mixtapes often end up consisting of the dregs of an artist's work. If you’re looking for a mixtape that’s carefully crafted, Jesse suggests LiveLoveA$AP by A$AP Rocky.

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Is there a mixtape that’s stuck with you? Jump over to the MaxFun forum and suggest it as your own Outshot.

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Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Scott Aukerman, Mark Duplass, and David Rees

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Scott Aukerman
Guests: 
Mark Duplass
Guests: 
David Rees
Guests: 
Tasha Robinson
Guests: 
Keith Phipps

AV Club Culture Recommendations

This week's pop culture picks come to us from The AV Club's Keith Phipps and Tasha Robinson, who share a few of their all-time favorites. Tasha talks up Richard Adams' fantasy novel Watership Down -- a book which, if you weren't already forced to read it in high school, is well worth a look. Keith meanwhile shines a light on perhaps the least renowned of Sergio Leone's spaghetti westerns, Duck, You Sucker! (also known as A Fistful of Dynamite or Once Upon A Time... The Revolution!), in which the Italian master of the gunslinger casts his gaze on the tale of Zapata.

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Scott Aukerman, Host of Comedy Bang! Bang!

Scott Aukerman is a writer and the host of Comedy Bang! Bang!, formerly known as Comedy Death-Ray. The show began in 2002 as a comedy pub night in Los Angeles, and is now one of the landmark shows at L.A.'s UCB Theater. In 2009, Scott took many of the show's best regular characters and comics with him into a radio environment, launching Comedy Death-Ray Radio on Indie 103.1, and setting the template for what would become one of the internet's premiere comedy podcasts. Comedy Bang! Bang! is now the flagship show on Aukerman's Earwolf podcast network. This month the show made the leap into another medium entirely: as a darkly satirical late night television talk show.

Scott sat down with us to discuss the move to TV, his early years in Hollywood as a sketch writer on HBO's Mr. Show with Bob & David, and the strange business of getting paid to do work that's never produced. Comedy Bang! Bang! airs Friday nights at 10PM on IFC.

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Artisanal Pencil Sharpening, with David Rees

Pencil sharpener David Rees was long trapped in an awful job as a satirical cartoonist until he just couldn't take it anymore. In 2010, Rees decided to get back in touch with on old-school writing instrument and took up artisanal pencil sharpening as a profession. His new book, How To Sharpen Pencils, was released earlier this year, and he's now demonstrated his old-fashioned technique in bookstores across the country. David joins us this week to discuss the lost art of pencil sharpening, and treats us to a chapter reading from his book.

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Actor & Filmmaker Mark Duplass

Mark Duplass is an actor, writer, director, musician, and a man who can be described as having many irons in the fire. He's the star of two films currently in theaters, Your Sister's Sister and Safety Not Guaranteed, with a third film, The Do-Deca-Pentathlon, that he wrote and directed alongside his creative partner (and brother) Jay, due later this summer. The Do-Deca-Pentathlon will be the second Duplass Brothers film to hit screens this year, following the brothers' biggest film to date: Jeff, Who Lives At Home, with Jason Segel and Ed Helms. And as if all that weren't enough, you might know Mark best from his starring role as Pete on the FX comedy series The League, which will be back for a fourth season in the fall.

Mark joins us to discuss the way his musical past has influenced his tendencies as a filmmaker, and why he's not worried about taking his projects to total perfection.
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The Outshot: Digable Planets’ Blowout Comb

For The Outshot this week, Jesse highlights the relaxed, harmonious hip hop sound of Digable Planets' revolutionary but commercially disastrous 1994 record Blowout Comb.

Got a cultural gem of your own? Set the record straight by picking your own Outshot on the MaxFun Forum.

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Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Kurt Braunohler, Walter Mosley, and Kasper Hauser

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Kurt Braunohler
Guests: 
Walter Mosley
Guests: 
Scott Tobias
Guests: 
Nathan Rabin
Guests: 
Kasper Hauser


AV Club Culture Recommendations

This week’s culture critics are Nathan Rabin and Scott Tobias of The AV Club, here to offer up a pair of humor-fueled recommendations. Nathan suggests checking out comedian Hannibal Buress’s debut one-hour special, Animal Furnace, noting a marked evolution in Hannibal’s stand-up style. Meanwhile Scott is enamored with Wes Anderson’s latest, Moonrise Kingdom, hailing it as the filmmaker’s best work.

Moonrise Kingdom is currently in limited release, opening nationwide on June 15th, while Hannibal Buress’s Animal Furnace is now available on both CD and DVD.

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Comedian Kurt Braunohler

Kurt Braunohler is a stand-up comedian and improviser, as well as one half of the sketch duo Kurt & Kristen, performing alongside writing partner Kristen Schaal. While stand-up consumes much of his time these days, he may soon be best known for IFC's Bunk, putting his disarming charms to work as host of an improv game show where comedians compete in insane challenges on behalf of less than charitable causes.

Kurt sits down with us to discuss the myriad ways in which the conventions of the game show format are begging to be satirized, the serendipitous origin of Kurt & Kristen, and how they took one of our all-time favorite sketches, "Kristen Schaal is a Horse", to Australia's biggest stage. Bunk premieres Friday, June 8th at 10:30 PM on IFC.

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Kasper Hauser News Update

Thought you could escape the world of news within the hour of our pop culture program? Think again! Getting you caught up on all the latest stories that may or may not have happened, here's an update from the minds of our fake news team: the San Francisco-based sketch comedy group Kasper Hauser.

For more Kasper Hauser, check out The Kasper Hauser Podcast right here on MaximumFun.org.

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Crime Novelist Walter Mosley

Walter Mosley is an author of nearly forty books, but perhaps he's best known for his work in detective fiction. His Easy Rawlins detective series began with 1989's Devil in a Blue Dress. Lately Mosley's penning the stories of a new detective: Leonid McGill. His latest serial novel is All I Did Was Shoot My Man, the most recent entry in the McGill series, and it's loaded with the kind of snappy, hard-boiled noir writing Mosley is famous for.

Walter joined us back in 2010 to talk about the existential crises at the heart of the detective genre, and how he made the move from computer programming to detective fiction so many years ago.

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The Outshot: Jay-Z’s Flow

For The Outshot this week, Jesse makes the case for Jay-Z as hip hop's greatest of all time -- if only for the effortlessly perfect rhythm of his lyrical flow, best represented on the track "Hovi Baby".

Got your own pick for rap's best flow? Stake your claim on the MaxFun Forum by picking your own Outshot.

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Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Robert Glasper, Pendleton Ward, Andrew Noz and Davy Rothbart

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Robert Glasper
Guests: 
Pendleton Ward
Guests: 
Andrew Noz
Guests: 
Davy Rothbart


Andrew Noz on Rap

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.

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Jazz Pianist Robert Glasper

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.

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Found Things, with Davy Rothbart

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.

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Animator Pendleton Ward, creator of Adventure Time

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.

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The Outshot: BESTIE x BESTIE

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.

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Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Moshe Kasher, Sports Doc Undefeated, The AV Club and Lateef the Truthspeaker

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Moshe Kasher
Guests: 
Daniel Lindsay
Guests: 
T.J. Martin
Guests: 
Lateef The Truthspeaker
Guests: 
Genevieve Koski
Guests: 
Josh Modell

Hi gang, it's our annual MAX FUN DRIVE, happening now. If you love this show, please take a moment to support it. There's a level of support for everyone, and it makes this show possible. Thank you.


The AV Club

Genevieve Koski and Josh Modell of The AV Club weigh in with their pop culture picks this week. Josh thinks you should check out John C. Reilly's very funny [adult swim] series Check It Out! with Dr. Steve Brule, which just began its second season. The show airs Sundays at 12:30am. Genevieve recommends the documentary Being Elmo: A Puppeteer's Journey, the story of Kevin Clash following his dream to work with Jim Henson, and how he gave voice to one of the Henson Company's most iconic characters.

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Comedian Moshe Kasher

Moshe Kasher is a comedian based in Los Angeles. He's performed at Aspen Rooftop Comedy Festival, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon and Chelsea Lately, and was named "Best New Comic" by iTunes for his debut comedy album. His new book is a memoir, but it's not what you might expect from a comedian memoir. Moshe's story is far from typical. It's called Kasher in the Rye: The True Tale of a White Boy from Oakland Who Became a Drug Addict, Criminal, Mental Patient, and Then Turned 16 and that title should give a good idea of the wild stories it contains.

At the start, it's a story of growing up the child of two divorced deaf parents, split between living with his Hasidic father in New York, and his hippie mother in Oakland. Moshe joins Jesse to share stories from his upbringing, and shed some light on how he eventually got right and saved himself from addiction, anger, and violence.
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Lateef the Truthspeaker on "The Song That Changed My Life"

Lateef the Truthspeaker is an Oakland MC and one of the founding members of the hip-hop collective / record label Quannum Projects, whose members include DJ Shadow, Lyrics Born and Blackalicious. He talks to us about the song that changed his life -- Cloudburst by the jazz group Lambert, Hendricks, & Ross.
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Directors of the Academy-Award Winning Documentary Undefeated

Dan Lindsay and T.J. Martin are the Oscar-winning directors behind the emotionally-charged sports documentary Undefeated. The film follows a challenging season for the Manassas Tigers, an underdog football team in North Memphis, Tennessee. The Tigers had traditionally been a team with troubles both on and off the field. Its fortunes changed under volunteer coach Bill Courtney, dedicated not only to excellence on the field, but in fostering resilient players off of it. As Coach Courtney says, "There's a story under every helmet," and Undefeated tells a few of them.

Daniel and T.J. sit down with Jesse to talk about developing the story of the film, the challenges of shaping a narrative when the events unfolding are out of your control, and the experience of following a handful of teens throughout their senior year of high school. Undefeated continues to open theatrically in more and more cities across the country. Find out when it's coming to your city by visiting UndefeatedMovie.com.
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The Outshot: Witchdoctor's "A S.W.A.T. Healin' Ritual"

For The Outshot this week, Jesse shines a light on one of the lesser-known members of Atlanta's Dungeon Family hip-hop collective. Witchdoctor (born Erin Johnson) might not be as famous as Family members OutKast, Cee-Lo Green or Goodie Mob, but his 1998 album A S.W.A.T. Healin' Ritual just might be the best record of its time and place.

Is there an unsung record you think is worthy of recognition? Let us know by heading over to the MaxFun forum and naming your own Outshot.
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Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Doug Jones, Jeffrey Tambor, Andrew Noz and God on Noah

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Doug Jones
Guests: 
Jeffrey Tambor
Guests: 
Andrew Noz
Guests: 
Seth Morris
Guests: 
David Javerbaum


Noz on Rap

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.

For more from Noz, check out CocaineBlunts.com or his cover story in this month's issue of The Fader.
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Character Actor Jeffrey Tambor

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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From A Memoir By God: God Speaks about Noah

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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Photo credit Albert L. Ortega
The Man Behind the Mask: Actor and Mime Doug Jones

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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The Outshot: “You Send Me” by Sam Cooke

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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Bullseye: Rap Picks with Andrew Noz, week of January 10th

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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.

Click here for the rest of this episode!

Michael Rapaport, Actor and Director: Interview on The Sound of Young America

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Bullseye
Guests: 
Michael Rapaport

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.

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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.

Prodigy, Rapper and Member of Mobb Deep: Interview on The Sound of Young America

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Prodigy

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.

Click here for a transcript or
Click here to stream or download the interview.

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.

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