Morgan Rhodes

EP95: David Ma on GZA's "Liquid Swords" (1995)

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Show: 
Heat Rocks
Guests: 
David Ma

The Album: GZA Liquid Swords (1995)

Music journalist David Ma has been in the game for a long time, writing for The Guardian, Pitchfork, Rolling Stone, The Source, and many, many others. He's also the host of Dad Bod Rap Pod, a hip-hop roundtable discussion show from the Bay area. When he told us he wanted to talk about GZA's debut solo effort, Liquid Swords, we knew we were in for a good conversation.
We talk about GZA's new jack swing beginnings, his role within the Wu-Tang Clan, and his seemingly endless vocabulary. Even within the Wu's solo efforts, Liquid Swords stands out, with its gritty production, complex lyricism, and hard-hitting flow. It stood the test of time and still bounces, Shogun Assassin samples included.

More on David Ma

More on Liquid Swords

Show Tracklisting (all songs from Liquid Swords unless indicated otherwise):

  • I Gotcha Back
  • Liquid Swords
  • Wu-Tang Clan: 7th Chamber - Part II - Conclusion
  • GZA: Come Do Me
  • Swordsman
  • Gold
  • Raekwon: Ice Cream
  • Method Man: I'll Be There For You/You're All I Need
  • Notorious BIG: The What
  • Shadowboxin'
  • Dr. Dre: Stranded on Death Row
  • Liquid Swords
  • Willie Mitchell: Groovin'
  • Liquid Swords
  • Cannonball Adderly: Aries
  • Gold
  • Ann Peebles: Trouble, Heartaches, & Sadness
  • Shadowboxin'
  • Gold
  • 4th Chamber
  • Labels
  • B.I.B.L.E. (Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth)
  • The Genius: Feel the Pain
  • Wu-Tang Clan: Clan In Da Front

Here is the Spotify playlist of as many songs as we can find there
If you're not already subscribed to Heat Rocks in Apple Podcasts, do it here!

EP94: Gavin Turek on Carole King's "Tapestry" (1971)

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Show: 
Heat Rocks
Guests: 
Gavin Turek

The Album: Carole King Tapestry (1971)

LA singer songwriter Gavin Turek's relationship with Carole King's Tapestry album began in her childhood, listening to her father play virtually every song featured on the piano. He taught her the notes, the chords, the vocals until the earth moved under her feet and made her a die hard fan.

She joined Heat Rocks to discuss what made this album fire, the west coast leanings of Tapestry, Carole's lyrical approach to the realness of relationships and why having a cat featured on your cover art is lit and progressive.

There are so many heaters on this album, she had four favorites. Listen in and you'll understand why.

More on Gavin Turek

More on Tapestry

Show Tracklisting (all songs from Tapestry unless indicated otherwise):

  • Way Over Yonder
  • Gavin Turek: Frontline (TOKiMONSTA Remix)
  • I Feel the Earth Move
  • (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman
  • Aretha Franklin: (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman
  • So Far Away
  • Smackwater Jack
  • Tapestry
  • It's Too Late
  • Carole King: Locomotion
  • Will You Love Me Tomorrow
  • The Shirelles: Will You Love Me Tomorrow
  • Donny Hathaway: You've Got A Friend
  • Aretha Franklin: Medley: Precious Lord, Take My Hand/ You've Got A Friend
  • So Far Away
  • Gary Portnoy: Cheers Theme
  • Where You Lead
  • Where You Lead (Gilmore Girls version)
  • Joni Mitchell: California
  • Tracy Chapman: Fast Cars

Here is the Spotify playlist of as many songs as we can find there
If you're not already subscribed to Heat Rocks in Apple Podcasts, do it here!

EP92: Kier Lehman on Steely Dan's Aja (1977)

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Show: 
Heat Rocks
Guests: 
Kier Lehman

The Album: Steely Dan Aja (1977)

If you love the music on Insecure, you'll love the fact that Heat Rocks had an opportunity to sit down with the brainchild behind in. Kier Lehman, well known for his work on Insecure, Spiderman Spiderverse, Being Mary Jane, Entourage, Love Is, sat down with us to talk about the seminal 1977 album that is a tastemakers dream and beloved across generations.

Walter Becker and Donald Fagen and 36 of the best and brightest musicians and vocalists in the business assembled on the west coast to produce seven tracks which dripped with jazz, rock, punk, soul and fire!

Music writers and critics across publication and decades all agree that Aja is a masterpiece and belongs in the canon of great albums.

What happens when two music supes sit down to unpack it? Tune in to find out.

More on Kier Lehman

More on Aja

Show Tracklisting (all songs from Aja unless indicated otherwise):

  • I Got The News
  • Aja
  • Peg
  • Home At Last
  • Black Cow
  • Deacon Blues
  • Aja
  • Josie
  • Wiz Khalifa: Old Chanel
  • Peg
  • De La Soul: Eye Know
  • Lord Tariq and Peter Gunz: Uptown Baby
  • Black Cow
  • MF DOOM: Gas Drawls
  • Steely Dan: Kid Charlamagne
  • Kanye West: Champion
  • Aja
  • Home at Last
  • I Got The News
  • Peg

Here is the Spotify playlist of as many songs as we can find there
If you're not already subscribed to Heat Rocks in Apple Podcasts, do it here!

EP91: Comeback Albums and Mailbag Special

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Heat Rocks

We here at Heat Rocks took a break from recording episodes in order to recharge our batteries. We thought we'd celebrate our return with an episode partly dedicated to our favorite comeback albums.
In the second half, we rummage through the Heat Rocks mailbag and answer listener questions about great debut albums, summer jams, the weirdest record sleeve finds, and more!

Show Tracklisting:

  • Mariah Carey: Butterfly
  • Dr. Buzzards Original Savannah Band: Cherchez la Femme/ Se Si Bon
  • Mariah Carey: Breakdown
  • LL Cool J: Mama Said Knock You Out
  • LL Cool J: Milky Cereal
  • Jay-Z: December 4th
  • Jay-Z: Dirt Off Your Shoulders
  • A Tribe Called Quest: Black Spasmodic
  • A Tribe Called Quest: We The People...
  • A Tribe Called Quest: Solid Wall of Sound
  • D'Angelo: Send It On
  • D'Angelo: Devil's Pie
  • Brandy: Brokenhearted
  • Joe Budden: Pump It Up
  • Young Gunz: Friday Night
  • Jay-Z: Show Me What You Got
  • The Rebirth: This Journey In
  • The Internet: Wanna Be
  • Missy Elliott: Sock It 2 Me
  • Digable Planets: Rebirth of Slick (Cool Like Dat)
  • Digable Planets: Black Ego
  • Prince: Diamond and Pearls
  • Cissy Houston: Warning - Danger
  • Floyd Anckle: Hey Pocky A-Way
  • Johnny Nash: Cupid
  • Chaka Khan: Caught in the Act
  • Skye: Aint No Need

Here is the Spotify playlist of as many songs as we can find there
If you're not already subscribed to Heat Rocks in Apple Podcasts, do it here!

EP86: DJ Rashida on OutKast's Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik (1994)

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Show: 
Heat Rocks
Guests: 
DJ Rashida

The Album: OutKast Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik (1994)

Antwan (Big Boi) Patton and Andre (Dre) Benjamin began collaborating in 1992 and paired their genuis presenting it for the world to see on their debut project SouthernPlayalisticadillacmuzik which released on LaFace records in the spring of 1994.

LA’s own DJ Rashida sat with us to talk southern charm, the musicality of this album, black consciousness through the lyrics, what made the interludes so compelling and why this album stands the real test of time.

More on DJ Rashida

More on Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik

Show Tracklisting (all songs from Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik unless indicated otherwise):

  • Hootie Hoo
  • Arrested Development: Tennessee
  • Call of da Wild
  • True Dat (Interlude)
  • Welcome to Atlanta (Interlude)
  • Ain't No Thang
  • Funky Ride
  • Ain't No Thang
  • Claimin' True
  • Crumblin' Erb
  • Myintrotoletuknow
  • Flim Flam
  • Git Up, Git Out
  • Player's Ball
  • Player's Ball (Reprise)
  • The Roots: Proceed
  • Society of Soul: E.M.B.R.A.C.E.

Here is the Spotify playlist of as many songs as we can find there.

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

EP85: Moby on Joy Division's "Closer" (1980)

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Show: 
Heat Rocks
Guests: 
Moby

The Album: Joy Division Closer (1980)

Moby has been in the game for over three decades, making punk, electronic, alt-rock, dance, and everything in between. When we heard he was coming on Heat Rocks, we had no idea what album he'd pick, but we knew it was going to be some absolute fire.

Joy Division were pioneers, blending genres and helping create and popularize the sound that would become post-punk. Unfortunately, Closer would be Joy Division's final album. On May 18th 1980, just weeks before Joy Division's first tour in America, lead singer Ian Curtis took his own life. Factory Records released the album a few months later, and the remaining members would go on to form New Order.

We sat down with Moby to talk about post-punk, the wildly varied music scene on the East coast in the 80s, and the shift from Joy Division to New Order. We chat about Ian's deteriorating mental wellness and Moby's own experiences playing with New Order and covering Joy Division songs. Grab a chair, this conversation goes deep.

Moby's new book, "Then It Fell Apart" is out now. Cop it at your local bookstore.

More on Moby

More on Closer

Show Tracklisting (all songs from Closer unless indicated otherwise):

  • Twenty Four Hours
  • Moby: Natural Blues
  • Heart and Soul
  • Joy Division: Wilderness
  • Decades
  • Atrocity Exhibition
  • Nolan Porter: Keep On Keepin' On
  • Joy Division: Interzone
  • The Eternal
  • Moby: New Dawn Fades
  • Atrocity Exhibition
  • Twenty Four Hours
  • Isolation
  • Atrocity Exhibition
  • The Nonce: Mix Tapes
  • Elliott Smith: No Name No. 5

Here is the Spotify playlist of as many songs as we can find on there.

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

EP83: Karen Tongson on The Carpenters' "A Song For You" (1972)

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Show: 
Heat Rocks
Guests: 
Karen Tongson

The Album: The Carpenters' A Song For You (1972)

dulcet (adjective) used to describe a sound that is soothing and soft, like the dulcet harmonies in a 70s pop song or the dulcet tones of a harp.

It seems like Karen Carpenter invented dulcet tones. Her velvet buttery vocals floated and soared on songs like "We've Only Just Begun", "Top Of The World", "Close To You". Alongside her brother Richard, she created a signature sound built around layered arrangements and harmonies.

Our guest, Pop Rocket's own Karen Tongson, sat with us on Heat Rocks to deep dive into the Carpenters seminal, Close To You, their second studio album released on August 19th, 1970. We talked about what made Karen Carpenter's voice inimitable and extraordinary, how the Carpenters invented the power ballad, Karen's enunciation and lower register, and listened to acapellas that made us all swoon.

Karen's book "Why Karen Carpenter" makes its debut on June 1st and will cover all the ground we didn't in this episode, sans music, but Heat Rocks recommends that you listen to music of The Carpenters in prep!

More on Karen Tongson

More on A Song For You

Show Tracklisting (all songs from A Song For You unless indicated otherwise):

  • Hurting Each Other
  • Goodbye to Love
  • The Carpenters: We've Only Just Begun
  • Donny Hathaway: A Song For You
  • A Song For You
  • Piano Picker
  • Crystal Lullaby
  • I Won't Last A Day Without You
  • Diana Ross: I Won't Last A Day Without You
  • I Won't Last A Day Without You
  • Intermission
  • The Carpenters: Rainy Days and Mondays (isolated vocals)
  • Goodbye to Love
  • Road Ode
  • I Won't Last A Day Without You
  • Top of the World

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

EP82: Sy Smith on Meshell Ndgeocello's Plantation Lullabies (1993)

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Guests: 
Sy Smith

The Album: Meshell Ndgeocello Plantation Lullabies (1993)

When Plantation Lullabies first hit the scene back in 1993, there wasn't anything really like it. Meshell Ndgeocello was a bald, badass, and bold woman with bars talking about sexuality, racism, and gender relations while paving the way for neo-soul music and artists.
Plantation Lullabies gave us many, many things, and Sy Smith (who has played alongside Meshell for years) came by the studio to talk to us about it. We discuss the impact it had on neo-soul, the shades of funk and go-go throughout the record, and the freedom it offered to black America.
Settle in, because this episode and this album are essential to any Heat Rocker.

More on Sy Smith

More on Plantation Lullabies

Show Tracklisting (all songs from Plantation Lullabies unless indicated otherwise):

  • Soul On Ice
  • Sy Smith: Sometimes A Rose Will Grow In Concrete
  • Dred Loc
  • If That's Your Boyfriend (He Wasn't Last Night)
  • Picture Show
  • Shoot'n Up and Gett'n High
  • If That's Your Boyfriend (He Wasn't Last Night)
  • Plantation Lullabies
  • I'm Diggin' You - Like An Old Soul Record
  • Dred Loc
  • Call Me
  • Untitled
  • Meshell Ndegeocello: Nocturnal Sunshine
  • Meshell Ndegeocello: Rush Over
  • If That's Your Boyfriend (He Wasn't Last Night)
  • Soul On Ice

Here is the Spotify playlist of as many songs as we can find on there

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

Heat Rocks EP80: The Art of Sampling #1, James Brown's "In the Jungle Groove" (1984)

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Heat Rocks

The Album: James Brown: In the Jungle Groove (1986)
This is the first of what will eventually be four episodes, released quarterly, that focus on the art of sampling. As Morgan explains in this episode, sampling isn't simply a key aesthetic within pop music styles, especially hip-hop, it's also an important way through which the past becomes present, allowing us to rediscover artists of yore. No artist in the 1980s benefitted more from this than James Brown.
By the end of the decade, Brown's long funk discography had seemingly been mined thousands of ways over but if you had to trace things back to a ground zero, you'd find In the Jungle Groove, the 1986 compilation from Polydor that practically felt designed for sampling, especially by highlighting some of Brown's fiercest and funkiest tracks, complete with new edits and remixes, none more far-reaching than "Funky Drummer," a former 45-only jam that the comp not only released in its full form but also took Clyde Stubblefield's iconic breakbeat and looped it into its own standalone track. 
For our inaugural Art of Sampling episode, we revisit In the Jungle Groove and talk about both our favorite songs off the comp as well as our favorite uses of those various tracks. Listen to how we give it up and turn it loose.  
More on In the Jungle Groove

Show Tracklisting (all songs from In the Jungle Groove unless indicated otherwise):

  • Funky Drummer
  • Digable Planets: Where I'm From
  • N.W.A.: Fuck Tha Police
  • Public Enemy: Fight the Power
  • Funky Drummer
  • Nas: Get Down
  • The Incredible Bongo Band: Apache
  • Nas: Made You Look
  • Masta Ace Incorporated: Boom Bashin'
  • George Michael: Waiting For That Day
  • Skull Snaps: It's A New Day
  • The Winstons: Amen Brother
  • Public Enemy: Bring the Noise
  • Funky Drummer
  • Give It Up Or Turnit A Loose
  • Talkin' Loud And Sayin' Nothing
  • Keek and Qagee: Don't Say It, Sing It
  • Give It Up Or Turnit A Loose
  • Get Up, Get Into It, Get Involved
  • Gang Starr: Gotch U
  • CeCe Peniston: Finally (Remix)
  • Full Force: Ain't My Type of Hype
  • Get Up, Get Into It, Get Involved
  • Hot Pants
  • I Got To Move
  • Showbiz and AG: Diggin' In The Crates
  • Cypress Hill: How I Can Just Kill A Man (Blunted Remix)
  • Funky Drummer

Here is the Spotify playlist of as many songs as we can find on there.
If you're not already subscribed to Heat Rocks in Apple Podcasts, do it here!

Heat Rocks EP77: Illa J on Prince's "Dirty Mind" (1980)

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Show: 
Heat Rocks
Guests: 
Illa J

The Album: Prince Dirty Mind (1980)

Dirty Mind, Prince's third album, arrived on the scene in the late fall of 1980, and brought with it a salaciousness we hadn't known heretofore. The album, a mix of punk, funk and disco allowed Prince to play with gender and genre as well as sexual innuendo and double entendre.

Beatmaker and producer Illa J sat down with us to talk about why Dirty Mind for him is an all time heatrock, what makes the album impossible to stop bumping and how Prince was on time and ahead of his time all at the same time.

This episode was short and sweet - just like Dirty Mind. Check it.

More on Illa J

More on Dirty Mind

Show Tracklisting (all songs from Dirty Mind unless indicated otherwise):

  • Uptown
  • Illa J: Enjoy the Ride
  • Partyup
  • Dirty Mind
  • Prince: Controversy
  • Dirty Mind
  • When You Were Mine
  • The Bangles" Manic Monday
  • Sister
  • Partyup
  • When You Were Mine
  • Head
  • Gotta Broken Heart Again
  • Vanity 6: Nasty Girl
  • Britney Spears: I'm A Slave 4 U
  • Uptown

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

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